Learning tools from Down Under

An Australian consultant has designed useful collection of energizers, anecdotes, and training tales to liven up your classroom presentations. Kevin Eikenberry offers a quick look at a helpful, free resource.

Trainers are always looking for new tools, such as an exercise to reinforce a workshop concept or a new approach to a class module. Trainers need tools!

This week’s review is of a site maintained by Australian consultant John Sleigh , and let’s just say this visually simple site doesn’t skimp on the tools. If you spend time in front of a class, you’ll find something here you can use.

Right from the home page
While this site is designed to support John’s livelihood as a trainer and consultant, it provides real value to visitors. This is immediately clear on the home page. Of the nine featured links at the top of the page, four offer free help in these categories:
  • Resources
  • Energizers
  • Tricks Trainers Trade
  • Tales Trainers Tell

The home page also outlines the focus areas of John’s business. Clicking some of these links gives you a description of his services, as you would expect. However, others links point to resources that are of particular interest to trainers or students of that topic.

The Resources section offers a list of internal links, but the real value points are articles written by Sleigh and checklists he’s produced of those articles’ main points. Both are good areas to investigate. There’s also a list of his favorite e-mail newsletters and fun Web sites.

Here you will find 11 of what John calls “energizers” for use in training, speeches or presentations. John describes these energizers as “short activities, ideal for defeating after-lunch lethargy or a seamless transition between subjects.” Some of these tactics may seem a little unconventional—John suggests a session of comparing human traits to those of animals, complete with hand puppets. Each energizer has a brief teaser that links to a complete description of the exercise.

Tricks and tales
The Tricks Trainers Trade section is another gold mine, much like the Energizers section but with longer topical exercises. The section offers anecdotes and stories that illustrate specific learning points. Many of the stories are fun and light, and may be helpful in your classroom. However, I would like this section to be arranged a little more clearly, making it easier to find a specific anecdote.

Final impressions
This is not the most professional site in terms of look and feel. Stylistically, its components don’t all match up, and the site could use some improvement in these areas. But when you get past first impressions to the quantity and quality of useful content the site provides, the only real area for improvement is providing more of the same. To get a new idea for your next workshop, try looking Down Under.

Kevin Eikenberry is President of the Discian Group, a learning consulting company in Indianapolis, IN.

If you would like to comment on this article or have any questions or suggestions of other Web sites to review, please write to Kevin.

Here is Kevin’s review of John Sleigh’s training tips site.

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