Facilitation Quick Tips: Groupies

Facilitation Quick Tips: Groupies

By Debra Christopher, MSM | August 7, 2014

Breaking a full participant group into small groups to work collectively on a learning activity is a savvy (and brain-friendly) strategy for increasing participant learning. Here are some clever grouping ideas that can make your trainings and presentations more dynamic and engaging.


Break It Up!

Title: Groupies
Purpose: To promote interactivity, social learning, cognitive engagement and movement 
Best Used: When assigning small-group work 

  1. Participant Line-Ups

Ask participants to line up along a wall according to:
- birthday
- horoscope sign
- shoe size
- length of hair
- number of years in profession

Or use other fun ideas for characteristics that fall along a continuum.

Then count off by the number of people you need in the small groups—3, 4, 5, etc. As small groups form, ask them to find a spot at a table and make introductions, then wait for further instructions.

2.  Deck of Cards

Give each person a playing card. The facilitator can group participants by number, suit and/or color.

Be sure to prepare ahead of time so you have the correct number of cards for the number of participants, with the correct number of chosen characteristics (suit, color, number).

3.  Color Match

Use small items in different colors to break participants into groups. You can ask them to join others with the same color, or to join a given number of people with all different colors.

Items you can use include:
- Candy (M&Ms, Jolly Rancher)
- Colored paperclips
- Post-its or small squares of paper
- Highlighters

Your turn! What grouping ideas do you have?  Contact ETR and let us know.  With your permission, we will pass them along.

Debra Christopher, MSM, is Director of Professional and Organizational Development Services at ETR. Contact her at debra.christopher@etr.org.


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