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The Trainer's Handbook by Karen Lawson

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Chapter 11Using Creativity

Creativity with Small Groups

The use of small groups is a very effective learning technique and the cornerstone of cooperative learning. Sometimes, however, when you announce that you are going to break into subgroups, you might hear, “Oh, no! Not again!” To maintain a high level of interest and enthusiasm throughout the session, draw on your creative muse even when dealing with small groups.

Grouping Techniques

Many learning activities require you to break a large group into subgroups. The most frequently used method of creating subgroups is to ask participants to count off by however many groups you want to create. However, this method is boring and people often forget their numbers or where they are supposed to relocate. Instead of the old “ho-hum” approach, let's look at some other more creative ways to create small groups.

  • Puzzles. Make or buy six-piece jigsaw puzzles and give each person a puzzle piece. To form subgroups, the participants have to find those who have pieces to the same puzzle.
  • Candy. Different flavors of wrapped candy can be distributed to participants just before breaking into groups. (Be sure to ...

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