Monthly Archives: January 2011

4MAT Train the Trainer: Games and Simulations

The 4MAT model focuses on leading all learning styles through a complete learning experience. We know that each learning style may prefer to linger in one of the four parts of the 4MAT learning cycle. The Type One learning style particularly enjoys dialogue and reflection. We focus on this in the first part  few examples of Engage strategies that are effective in generating dialogue.

Below you will find a few examples of training activities that work in Engage.  The last one, “Simulations”, is often missed as powerful tool for creating shared experience. If you are thinking about incorporating games and simulations into your training more frequently, you’ll enjoy the TED video below.


Quotes are powerful because they express an idea or concept from a personal point of view. Encouraging learners to reflect on a well-chosen quote invites deep thinking around the concepts being shared.


Share 4-5 quotes related to your course content from different authors. Invite learners to reflect on their own experience around the course content and to choose a quote that best aligns with their experience. Ask learners to share their experience and chosen quote with a partner.

Intriguing Statement

Open with a compelling statement that grabs the attention of the learner. Invite them to reflect on the statement and their reaction to the statement. Invite learners to share in small groups.


You might share a surprising statistic such as “Despite potentially fatal consequences, 7 out of 10 heart attack survivors do not maintain their commitment to lifestyle changes.”  Connect the statistic to the content and invite learners to reflect. “Change can be difficult, even when the stakes are high. Reflect on a change you have struggled to make. What factors make change difficult?”

Individual Reflection

Inviting learners to reflect on a personal experience that relates to the content being shared allows the learner an opportunity to explore what they already know about the content.


Invite learners to reflect on a recent experience related to the content. In a conflict resolution workshop, you might share something like, “Reflect on a high point in your career when you were particularly engaged in the work you were creating. What was present that contributed to this state of engagement?”

Personal Storytelling

Sharing personal stories related to the content is an excellent way to explore the knowledge the learner brings to the learning experience. Invite learners to reflect on a previous experience, related to the content.


Reflect on an experience you had on “above and beyond” customer service. Share your story with a partner.  What commonalities do you notice in your experiences?

Provocative Questions

Learning begins by seeking the answer to a question. A well-chosen question can invite reflection and draw out learner perceptions and previous experiences. Begin the session by posing a question or series of questions.


In a first-time manager workshop, you might begin with a question such as, “What inspired you to want to become a leader in our organization? What do you most hope to contribute? How has your experiences working with different types of leaders influenced your answers?”


Games or simulated experiences are a powerful way to create a shared experience amongst learners. When you begin with a simulation, you create a point of reference for the remainder of the course content delivery.


In a workshop on accountability, a game or simulation that involves groups of 4-5 learners working to accomplish a task under challenging circumstances would illustrate the need for individual and team accountability. The remainder of the workshop could be focused on debriefing the simulation insights.

Check out the Tom Chatfield on the “7 Ways Games Reward the Brain” on TED.