Do you ever have participants who resist interactive activities?

It’s not uncommon for participants to indicate that they’re uncomfortable with role-plays or that they’re too shy to participate. In these cases, you might wonder if it’s possible to simply demonstrate specific activities with one or two participants rather than involving your entire group.

The answer depends on the activity being facilitated or the skill area being taught.

We feel quite strongly about our Demonstrate—Participate—Explain model, which we recommend for teaching skills. Similarly, we feel just as strongly about our Term—Definition —Example model, which we recommend for defining terms and explaining concepts. Short lectures are often related to a preceding activity that involves the skills and concepts identified and defined in lectures. These are the best methods for adult learners to learn and retain concepts and skills. This methodology offers the highest likelihood that participants will use the concepts and skills in their daily work.

Most of the activities in all Prepare Training® courses require active participant involvement in order to meet CPI standards. A few activities (such as the Paraverbal Communication activity in the Foundation Course) offer the option of conducting the activities with one primary participant. However, even this activity involves all participants in discovering vital communication concepts.

One of the most common concerns voiced involves either the Proxemics (personal space) or Kinesics (body language) exercises during the Foundation Course. These activities provide powerful lessons that would be quite difficult (if not impossible) for individual participants to internalize simply by observing the activity.

Some courses wouldn't work at all without active participant involvement in activities or scenarios. The Situational Applications Topic Module is just one example. In addition to concept review, the major purpose of this Topic Module is for participants to be involved in realistic application of the concepts and skills taught in the Foundation Course and other Topic Modules.  Especially with this Topic Module, it simply wouldn't work if participants didn't actively participate.

The vast majority of activities, exercises, scenarios, role-plays, and discussions involved in Prepare Training® courses call for active participant involvement. While you can't force participant involvement, you can positively model and enthusiastically encourage active participation in the activity areas highlighted in your Teaching Notes.

In addition to reviewing the Teaching Notes for the Foundation Course and any Topic Module you teach, we always encourage you to also review the Facilitation Dynamics section of your Instructor Portfolio before you teach any segment of the program.

We especially encourage review of the sections on instructing adult learners, facilitating exercises and activities, and addressing challenging participant behavior. And of course always keep in mind that there’s an Integrated Experience between you and your participants!