Have you played FOUR CORNERS?

One of the most flexible, adaptable and modifiable Frame Game/activity which I use extensively in my programs, is the popular game of Four Corners.

In one of the versions of the game, Four Corners in the room are identified. The music is played and players all move around the room. When the music stops, the players scamper to choose one of the corners of the room. The person conducting the game picks up one of the chits from the bowl kept in the corner table. All the players in that corner are out of the game. The game is continued till there is one winner left.

In the modified version, which we use in our training programs, we also identify the four-five corners in the room. Then as per the objectives of the session , the trainer takes in the elements of a certain session which need to be discussed with the participants. These could be the four most important qualities of a leader, the top four customer queries received at the call center during the holiday season, top five reasons for high attrition rate in the last training quarter, and so on. The corners are clearly labelled and marked distinctly then. E.g in the first case the four corners could be : Visionary, Go-getter, Team player, Executioner

The music starts and the participants move around the room.

On stopping of the music the participants are asked to choose a corner.

Once they choose a corner, one by one, they are asked to give the reasons why they have chosen to be in that corner. They could also be made to debate with each other about why the corner they have chosen is the best.

There are three things which happen in this game , which is an ideal warm up activity or a game:

  • People, who hesitate to open up, speak unhesitatingly.
  • The trainer also gets to understand the views of the participants without obviously and directly asking them.
  • There is movement in the room and the session becomes more interesting

A regular question answer session is enlivened and made more FUN through this frame activity!


Can you use childhood activities to augment your training session?


When one is designing games to meet the learning objectives of the session, one doesn’t always need to think: Complicated!

Simple childhood activities or games played at home or elsewhere can be creatively modified to create fun and enthusiasm in a training room in a very easy yet impactful way

Some childhood activities/games which I have used extensively in my training programs are mentioned here.

Do share games or activities which you think can be used in training programs


Who hasn’t answered MCQs, or the Multiple Choice Questions? Whether it was the ‘True or False’ in History lesson Class VII or ‘Choose among the following alternatives’ in the “Engineering/Management entrance exam”, we have all solved MCQs sometime in our life!

The same ubiquitous MCQs can be used either as questionnaires or more engagingly, as a group activity.

Find the odd man out :  A Powerpoint of MCQs

If MCQs are asked as a team activity, the class is divided into teams and the facilitator moderates the question-answer Quiz round. Questions can be asked openly or through a PowerPoint presentation. They can cover myriad topics, from the simple learnings to models discussed to clarifications on important topics learnt during the session

questionmarkThe key in this seemingly simple process is to prepare questions well in advance, so that the audience is sufficiently challenged and tested. The answers can be debated and re-emphasized for deeper clarity. Also unlike in childhood, the question can be chosen carefully keeping the learning objectives of the session, reinforcement strategy etc. in mind!

This cleverly veiled Quiz Show can hold the audience engaged without their even realizing it!

Arrange the following in a sequence/ Highest-lowest

Like MCQs, this activity can be very competitive and fun if time element is introduced viz :_worldstallestbuilding

  • Arrange the top 5 territories in the western region in terms of volumes sold in an ascending order within the next thirty seconds.
  • What are the four sequential steps to complete a coaching engagement?
  • What are the 7 important documents required for completion of Insurance process? Arrange them in order of priority…etc.

The advantage of rearranging data this way is that vital information which needs to be memorized by the participants will be learnt in a FUN way. The trainer gets better assessment of the understanding of his participants

For What is the highest/lowest category again some simple questions from the content of the workshop viz:

  • Which team sold the maximum number of refrigerators in the Central Zone of our company ? What were these?
  • Which customer service telecaller clocked in the lowest Turnaround Time?
  • Which is fastest growing category of internet users among the urban population?

Images can be creatively used to further enhance the learning and make the process more visually appealing!

Treasure Hunt

This popular game of hunting for clues can be modified in innumerable ways

  • This can be a wonderful icebreaker where the clues placed across the room introduce the session to the participants
  • The clues can be hidden across the room for added suspense.
  • Clues can be the important topics, clarifications, important features which need to be memorised
  • They can be in the form of questions or statements or words
  • The entire treasure hunt can be carried out alone , in pairs or as a team, indoors or outdoors.
  • Clues can be linked to each other to derive a bigger picture

The point I am trying to make is simple, use what is available easily….but make it FUN and engaging!

Participants will not even realise when and how learning has happened!

A to Z Game of review

abcdartThis simple game from childhood makes a very good game of review or a recap.

It can also be used as an assessment test of gauging how much have the participants learnt and understood from the session.

Time required for this activity is a minimum of ten to about thirty minutes.

Number of participants can vary from ten to hundred.

A to Z is played with paper and pen, preferably with some music played in the background.

Game instructions

The game can be played as a team game where the participants are divided into teams with equal members, or individually.

Instructions are simple! When the music starts , the participants need to write the letters of Alphabet from A to Z on paper.

Against each letter then, one writes in some concept which one has learnt in the training session. For e.g. In an introductory session of ID what someone could write would be:

A: Affective Domain, Activity Learning, Adult learning theory

B: Bloom’s taxonomy…..


K: Kirkpatrick’s Model,

L: Learning Domain…..etc

The list needs to be as exhaustive as possible with as many numbers against each letter.

Light music in the background can make the game lively.

When the music stops the participants stop writing and exchange papers. The one with the maximum number of words written, wins!

Debrief :

After the winner is declared, the trainer reviews all the words together with the class, writing them together on a flip-chart or the board, if required. Then the concepts which are not clear to some, are explained and reinforced again.

There could be discussion and elaboration of the same depending on the time available.

This simple game helps one remember and recollect all that has been learnt. It also gives an idea to the trainer how much has been learnt.

Collective knowledge received from the adults is used as a material for review and reinforcement!

So you want to do activity-based training?

Some years back, there was a Team motivation Training Workshop which I was a witness to!

The venue of the Workshop had been chosen with great care – verdant Goa in rains…

The training weekend was planned carefully: loads of group, pair and individual activities to keep the participants engaged, Sales Presentations (loaded with enough figures to give the team a reality check of the last quarter) and the mandatory evening-bonding-over-beer session!

The participants seemed to having a good time…

However it was clear that the sessions were merely activities masquerading as learning.

In an attempt to appease the audience and be ratedformula well by the group, the trainer had forgotten the second key element of the Magic Formula ( FUN* CONTENT =RESULT) of getting results in a training Workshop : to load the relevant content to the FUN activities!

SO what I saw was a whole host of competitions and activities which seemed to have been added for fun and enjoyment rather than make the audience reflect, learn and plan ahead for the future (which was the eventual objective of the Workshop).jungle_gym_01

Whilst I do not have anything  against such games/activities in isolation, according to me to get impactful results in training programs, it is critical to balance and interweave both relevant content and FUN, appropriately!

FUN is not some thing that ‘do’ different from the content. It is not something that you ‘do’over and above your training program. It is what you integrate and assimilate as  a part of the program…

So if you just have a long, data loaded, information-packed session where there is no activity, engagement or involvement of the participants or a free for all activity-saturated round where there is an absolute mayhem in the room and no message… either would fail !

In the Magic FORMULA for learning, absence or dearth of either of the above elements ( FUN or CONTENT) would dilute the impact of the session and make the end result in the given equation, zero!

In short, as Rosemary Clark, an education consultant says, “I am not suggesting that active learning is a bad thing. Quite the reverse! Active learning is essential for developing cognitive skills. I am suggesting that it is tempting to confuse physical activity with active learning. Unwarranted physical activity in class may be no more than a distracting displacement activity, giving the illusion of learning but failing to develop understanding.”

PowerPoint Frame Game ( PART 1)

A PowerPoint Presentation is that ubiquitous tool which is used and sometimes overused 🙂 by all.

In my later posts, I will share about different ways in which this powerful tool can be used creatively and with great impact, as a support to connect with the audience!

In this post and the next few ones I will focus on the use of PowerPoint to create FUN FRAME GAMES.

“Frames” as you would be aware, are those skeletal frame-works which can be fitted into any content/situation/activity for a greater impact.

FRAME GAMES can be adapted to any content and used creatively to meet the varied learning objectives.The games can be simple ice-breakers, detailed concept notes or just a quick recap energiser.

GAME One : What’s the Good Word?

This is the simple childhood games of twenty questions which you ask, to get the key answer.

The key in this game is to get the WORD by asking questions.

Every question which the participant asks brings him closer or takes him further away from the word.Without realising the participant lists out key features of the word, uses descriptors which can be used to assess his knowledge or deepen his learning.

The enclosed examples of WHAT’S THE GOOD WORD ( WTGW) have been taken from an Insurance training where the answer were “Claim” and “beneficiary“.

image002Rather than asking the question to the participants like : ‘ What is a claim ? Who is the beneficiary in a Life Insurance Policy?’, WTGW was played with the participants which helped them all review the key features of the claim one by one…

viz a) it is a service which measures efficiency of life insurance companies

b) this is provided at the time of death in Term and Whole life policies etc. and so on….

Similarly terminologies/words/descriptors can be adapted to any content…key features which need to be recalled, memorised, listed or just stated differently can be done so playfully, yet with great impact!

Done in a competitive format this can generate high energy and can get the audience involved.

I have done WTGW as an ice-breaker in a MODULE II where I wanted to assess whether the participants remembered what had  been taught in Module I, as a refresher. This has been effectively used in content heavy sessions for bankers where key elements of Banking ACT needed to be recalled, or in a pharmacy college where some 54 of key drugs in a particular DRUG ACT were to named.

The key point to remember here is that adaptability of and experimentation with the content will give you the best results.



SO, what is a Frame Game?

Frame Game Simply put A FRAME GAME is an instructional game very consciously created and designed to allow easy loading of the current content and replacing the same with the relevant subject matter.

Just as you can mount any picture in a frame, you can load any content in a frame game to suit the needs. So a BINGO can be a good review frame game for an advanced sales training session or an beginners course in ID or revising the algebraic formulae with Class Ten students.

Similarly there can be a frame activity which allows you to be flexible with the subject matter depending on the audience, the learning objective, time available for the activity and numerous other factors…

Frame games are dexterous tools in the trainer’s repertoire of activities and if judiciously used can multiply the learning multifold in a FUN and a non-obvious manner!

I have experimented with all kinds of frame games in my own workshops or in designing different kinds of sessions across varied industries and will be sharing the same in my blog posts in the coming months.

Broadly a  good frame game has all or most of the features mentioned below:

Adaptability and flexibility A good frame game adapts well to the instructional objectives, trainee characteristics, type of learning, and intended use. It allows for simple alterations and variations depending on the unique resources available with each trainer before each session.

Real world application: An appropriate frame game is not just an inane filler but has a real world relevance. It helps participants learn skills and concepts that are applicable to the workplace. The participant easily identifies herself in the examples shared, explained in the game.

Simple to understand : An effective frame game has simple rules and easy to follow instructions by participants which leave no room for doubt

Engaging An ideal Frame game is the one which involves ALL  participants in the training game at all times and challenges them to just the right extent. They are not too simple nor too difficult but appealing enough to the audience.

Trainer friendly: An impactful Frame game is the one which is simple enough for the trainer to understand and experiment with ! The idea is : Can a typical trainer use the game without having to spend too much time preparing the materials or learning the rules herself ?

Have you tried any Frame Games in your sessions?

How has your experience been ?

Experimenting : The biggest joy of learning!

Children are not afraid of experimenting and failing.

Perhaps  that’s why there is so much joy in learning amongst young children, who play and LEARN so effortlessly!

Watch this simple video which illustrates this beautifully…