Facilitation Quick Tips: Comic Power!

Facilitation Quick Tips: Comic Power!

By Kathy Plomer, MPH | March 19, 2015
DASH Professional Learning Collaborative, ETR

This is a great activity to kick off a session. It gets people talking, laughing and sharing experiences related to the training topic. It’s fast and fun.

Title: Comic Power!

Setting: Appropriate for In-Person Trainings and Adaptable for Virtual Trainings.


  • Utilize visuals to motivate learners to describe experiences related to their learning.
  • Allow learners to hear, compare and contrast the experience of others in the group.
  • Provide insights about learners for the facilitator.

Best Used:

  • At the beginning of a training, to get discussion jump-started.
  • At the end of an activity or training event to solicit feedback on the learning.


  • Cut-outs of printed “comic” words or pictures from magazines, websites, brochures, newspapers, etc.
  • Envelopes (or containers) to hold the cut-outs.


  1. Create cut-outs by gathering a variety of comic words and/or images that will help participants sum up their experiences. Look for lively words, action images and anything with impact.

    Note: If you’re looking for sources for graphics and images, check out this previous blog post by Tracy Wright.

  2. Place several cut-outs in the envelopes and place one envelope at each participant table (or have one envelope for each group of 4–6 participants).

  3. Ask each participant to follow these steps:

a.   Think about…(insert something related to your learning session).


  •  “…an experience you had resisting peer pressure to engage in an unhealthy behavior when you were a teen.”
  •  “… an experience you had teaching adult learners about a controversial topic.”
  •  “…your experience with this activity (or as a result of this training).”
  1. Look at all the words and images in your group’s envelope of cut-outs.
  2. Choose one word or image that best describes how you felt about that experience. Hold on to that cut-out.
  3. Take one minute and, individually, think about how that experience was similar to the word/image you chose.
  1. With their table group, ask participants to show the image/word they chose and describe how it is similar to their experience.
  2. After the small groups have completed their discussions, bring the large group back together. Invite participants to share insights or ask questions related to what they experienced during the activity.

Adaptation: Take It Virtual

For a virtual training, you can adapt the activity as follows:

  1. Create a slide that includes a collection of comic words and/or images. Include at least ten distinct words and/or images.
  2. Ask participants to think about their experience and then select one word or image that best describes how they felt about that experience.
  3. If you are able to break participants into small workgroups, do so. Have them share within their small group the word or image they chose and explain how it describes their experience. If you cannot easily form small workgroups, ask for volunteers in the larger group to discuss the word or image they chose.
  4. Process with the large group, drawing on themes that reinforce the content or learning objectives of the training or activity.

Kathy Plomer, MPH, is a consultant for ETR and works on the Professional Learning CollaborativeShe can be reached at kathy.plomer@etr.org.




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