Using Toys and Music in Training Sessions

As a trainer it is vital for you to be able to identify which areas of the course will be dry and tedious for the group, so that you can find a creative way to present the information, which will then lead to enhanced learning.

Try creating some fun and laughter. Some trainers dismiss games and activities as time wasters or childish. Yet this is the best way to deliver complex information: far better than having delegates fall asleep through boredom or, worse still, reduced to tears because they feel so overwhelmed by the complexity!

The average adult passive attention span is about 20 minutes. Taking a break every half hour would be disruptive. Instead, use a quick Brainteaser or Energiser, a short trivia quiz, or a course related puzzle.

The time before lunch can be a seriously low energy time for delegates. Avoid videos here as this encourages the delegates to snooze, particularly if the lights are lowered. Keep the energy moving with a very active group exercise after the mid-morning break – skill practice would be good here; put sweets and treats out on tables, plus small 'toys' for them to play with eg Lego pieces, koosh balls, puzzles, tactile children's toys.

Put more toys out for the afternoon break. Try yo-yos and Frisbee. Most people can't resist having a go, remembering what it felt like as a child – which helps to utilize right-brain learning during the session.

Use the toys to assist the actual content delivery. A fun quiz can be made more enjoyable by asking learners to use some of the larger toys as part of the quiz.


I'm often asked about the role of music in the training environment. Does it help, is it just gimmick, is one type of music better than another? There has been a lot of research carried out into the effectiveness of music in learning – I do believe music has a role in the training room. It can be used for:

o Prior to Start – makes the training room more inviting for learners to enter, helping break down barriers and fears, as well as setting the tone for the workshop

o Break time – makes the training room 'friendlier' for those learners that stay in the room during that time

o Socialization – bringing learners together

o State changer – helps manage learner states as specific music can improve precise states for learning

o Priming – to prepare the learner for the next learning experience

o Movement – to get learners up and moving

o Emotions – to aid bringing emotions into learning

o Calming – to slow and calm the mind and body down

Beware the use of music when learners are trying to concentrate – it can interfere / compete with the attentional system

Also beware of using music for more than 10-15 minutes at any one time – learners will become habitualized to it and it will loose its impact.

Source by Paul Archer

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