Energizer Training Activity – What Do I Wear?

Energizer Training Activity – What Do I Wear?

Making learning fun while accomplishing your stated learning objectives is a good way to stimulate learning and tie into brain-based learning research on how participants learn best.

Energizer Training Activity - What Do I Wear?

By actively engaging your adult learners, you are tapping into basic tenets of adult learning (andragogy) and encouraging learners to become active participants in the information exchange process.

This activity is an easy way to encourage learner participation providing a forum for future information exchange.

Energizer Training Activity – What Do I Wear? by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Brain-Based Adult Training Author

Time:  30-45 Minutes (depending on group size)

Group Size:    24-30

Purpose:  To provide an opportunity for learners who work in the same organization to get to know one another a bit better. This activity also allows them to have a bit of fun while doing getting to know one another in sessions dealing with diversity, non-communication, team building, customer service, or other topics where relationships and understanding others is an important desired outcome.

Objectives:     Through the use of this activity, learners will be able to:

  • Get to know one another better on a more personal level.
  • Recognize that predispositions about others may create challenges in relationships.


  • At the beginning of a session, have participants form small, equal-sized groups (5-8 people) at round tables.
  • Explain that participants have been invited to a costume party.
  • They have two minutes to decide what costume they would wear.
  • Have everyone write their costume choice and nothing else on a strip of paper that you provide.
  • After everyone has written their answer, they should fold it and put it in the center of their table.
  • Instruct all participants to retrieve one strip of paper from the center of the table and one by one open it.
  • After all, participants have opened their paper and read what is written, have them introduce themselves one-by-one (e.g. who they are, where they are from, where they work, why they are attending the session, or whatever you prefer to have them disclose).
  • Following the introductions, have each person turn their paper over and write down the name of the person that they believe wrote the costume name on the other side.
  • Once everyone has done this, have them one at a timeshare who they believe the owner to be and why. 


  • Ask for a show of hands of how many people guessed correctly.
  • Ask those who guessed incorrectly, why they believe they might have done so.
  • Ask those who were correct what led them to believe the person they chose wrote their paper.
  • Hold a general discussion related to how we sometimes make assumptions about others and that can create challenges in relationships.

Materials Needed: Three-inch strips of paper.

For more ideas on engaging learners see Lucas, Robert W., Creative Learning: Activities and Games That REALLY Engage People, Jossey Bass/Pfeiffer, San Francisco, CA.

Creatively Selecting Small Group Leaders in Training

Creatively Selecting Small Group Leaders in Training

Learner engagement is a basic tenet of adult learning that is supported by brain-based learning research. By encouraging participant involvement in a training or educational setting, you increase the potential that learning will occur and that they might actually use what they experience later.

Creatively Selecting Small Group Leaders in Training

You can encourage maximum involvement of your training participants or learners by creatively grouping them and then asking for volunteers to take on the roles of scribes (note-takers) and group or team leaders during small group training activities or discussions. This strategy also provides an opportunity to recognize their initiative and reward volunteers with small incentive prizes (e.g. candy, toys, or other objects related to the program topic of the theme).

By providing extrinsic rewards and supporting positive behavior you can potentially encourage involvement by other learners in future group activities. However, like anything else, there is a potential downside in asking for volunteers. That is some people volunteer more than others because they are more extroverted or in order to receive prizes. The key is to integrate rewards appropriately and not make it into a competition to see who can get the most.

Creatively Selecting Small Group Leaders in Training by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Adult Learning & Training Author

To avoid a small number of participants from dominating and volunteering continuously, consider a fun, random system for selection. Just be conscious of the method you use for volunteer selection. Avoid using physical characteristics like body size, gender, hair or eye color, or other such factors since these could be perceived as discrimination or at least omission or favoritism by some participants as criteria for selection.

One goal of selecting volunteers is to engage as many different learners as possible. This helps everyone take ownership of the session content and disseminates rewards over a larger portion of the participant population.

Creatively Selecting Small Group Leaders in Training

Think creatively and use a variety of techniques for selecting your volunteers rather than sticking with old standby formats like “count off from 1-5” or similar boring strategies. Some potential techniques for random designation are to assign participants based on the following. Be prepared to use several techniques in the event of ties.

  • Person whose birthday is closest to but not past the date of the session being held.
  • Person with the most (whatever) (e.g. color blue, jewelry, metal) on their body.
  • Person whose has been with their organization the longest/shortest period of time.
  • Person who has most/least siblings.
  • Person who traveled farthest/least distance to get to the session.
  • Person with the most/fewest number of pets.
  • Person with decorative metal on their shoes.
  • Person who arrived home earliest on their last day at work.
  • Person who participated in an athletic event over the past weekend.
  • Person with the most/least change in their pocket or purse.
  • Person who has had the most cups of coffee or tea, sodas, or glasses of juice/water since arriving at the session.
  • Person with the most/least letters in their first/last name.
  • Person born in the city/state/country in which the session is being conducted.
  • Person who has attended another professional development event (e.g. presentation, workshop, webinar, college class, or podcast) on-site or online within the past six weeks.
  • Placing props randomly at some participant locations prior to the start of the program (e.g. toy police officers badge, gavel, or another symbol of authority.
  • Placing a special colored item related to the program topic, that is different from those of other participants (e.g. themed shape eraser; small animal or cartoon character).
  • Placing colored dots or special stickers (e.g. colored smiley face stickers) randomly on nametags or name tents prior to a session start.
  • Rolling a foam die or color cube at each table.

Creatively Selecting Small Group Leaders in Training

No matter what approach you take to getting people involved in the learning process, the key is to make it quick, fun, and related to your program topic. Engage your learners mentally and physically throughout your sessions and you will potentially be rewarded with higher levels of attention, learning, and satisfaction.

For additional creative ideas and brain-based learning strategies, get a copy of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning, Creative Learning: Activities and Games That Really Engage Learners, Training Workshop Essentials: Designing, Developing and Delivering Learning Events That Get Results, and Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques to Engage Learners.