Of course, we all know that games are predominantly about enjoyment, but they can also be multi-layered, challenging and inspire “ah ha” moments for players. We have all been learning through play since infancy: this stuff works!
If you are feeling uncomfortable at this point about putting forward games as a learning tool at your next L&D team meeting, terms like ‘activities’ or ‘experiential learning’ can be interchanged here. You should know though, that the word “game” can help your people to feel more at ease as they will have clearer expectations of what will be taking place (few things bring more anxiety to team members than turning up to a training day with ZERO clue what to expect). Building games into the programme for your people ensures that they understand that there will be rules, objectives and a degree of fun.
Games allow people from different ages and backgrounds to come together under a common purpose – playing (or trying to win) the game. They can be incredibly effective in developing school teams; if you throw adults and children together to talk about something it could be awkward and slow starting, but having a purposeful activity to do together acts as a conversation starter.
1. Dragon’s Den
If your people have been learning public speaking skills, persuasion techniques and a bit of team work; an effective way to compound their learning is to shift to a ‘Dragons Den’ style game.
How this works: have players create a short speech for an imaginary product and then pitch it to the selected “Dragons” for points.
This helps them to consolidate and practice the skills they have been learning in a fun way.
2. The Electric Fence
Keen for your people to think about how they work under pressure and make improvements? This game will shed some light on the areas that need bolstering under pressure in a non judgemental way.
How this works: players have to transport everyone in the team from one side of the fence to the other, by passing them through the holes in the fence. Each escape hole can only be used once, and teams are in a race against each other.
Facilitating a post game discussion about the types of strategy they adopted, what their role in the team was and how players communicated with each other can help your people to make powerful self-assessments.
3. Perspective shift
Want your team to be more sensitive to issues of inclusion? This game can help your people to see what being excluded in some way can feel like, which develops more understanding than just telling them about the issue. No long term negative effects are experienced but the point still stands after the game has long ended.
How this works: part way through their task players become unexpectedly blindfolded or unable to play.
The most powerful part of this game is the post game discussion. Questions such as:
Can be incredibly insightful. Similarly, games played with unbalanced or loaded dice can be used to talk about privilege and influence in a way that is accessible to different age groups.
Using a game to draw out skills and then having a reflective discussion about what happened gives everyone a much clearer picture of their behaviours, skills and attitudes. There is more scope, with games, for inspiring non-judgemental self-reflection on natural behavioural tendencies. Making time to play games, especially during learning, is vital in bringing groups together, giving players a real experience of the skills, themes, and issues that they have been learning about. Plus, when people have fun they remember more, bond quicker and generally have a better experience.
Ready to discover the joy of developing people? That’s what The Self Leadership Initiative is in the “business” of doing; through bespoke workshops and training your team could realise innovative ways of achieving your organisation’s’ mission. Get in touch today to discuss your needs.