Friday 19 December 2014

Cereal Box Course Summary

When I return to work after attending a training course, my colleagues and my boss usually want to know how it went. The conversation might go something like:

Them: "How was your course?"
Me: "Good."
Them: "What did you learn?"
Me: "Oh, lots of stuff."
Them: "Okay. Cool."

Though this is slightly exaggerated example, I often find it difficult to remember and describe what I have learned. When I leave a course, my brain feels full of new ideas and enthusiasm. But, by the next morning, I have usually returned to thinking about other things.

As a trainer, I don't want my course attendees to return to work and have the conversation I've described above. Instead I want them to be articulate and passionate. One of the ways that I have attempted this is using a cereal box course summary.

This is not an original idea. I heard about it from my colleague Ceedee Doyle, who had heard it from someone else, unfortunately I don't know the source. However, here's how it works.

Ask participants to construct a cereal box for everything they've learned on the course. What they have to put on the box will follow the same conventions as for a real packet of cereal.

The front of the box should show the name of the course, pictures, and a slogan.

The side of the box should list the ingredients of the course.

The back of the box should have highlights, reviews and testimonials.

I have used this activity during the last hour of a two day training course. The participants had 30 minutes to make their cereal box, then we spent 30 minutes sharing their creations, reflections and feedback on the course as a whole.

I found the cereal box course summary a creative and fun activity to finish off a course. People are relaxed and talkative as they work. The cereal box captures a positive and high-level view of the course overall, which creates a favourable tone to end on.

I also like including an opportunity for reflection as part of the course itself. One of our students summarised the benefit of this in their testimonial, saying  "I especially liked the final summing up which made me realise how much I’d learned." [1]

Finally, this activity gives each participant something quirky and concrete to take back to work with them. The appearance of the cereal box on their desk may initiate conversations about the training they attended. The writing on the box should support the conversation. Their colleagues can see what they have learned, and the format in which the information is presented is reflective of the interactive and engaging training environment that we work hard to create.

1 comment:

  1. I have just added this to the end of my course. A new twist on the cereal box produce vision exercise. Great addition!