Transfer of learning from class to reality is one of the biggest challenges faced by trainers and teachers, AND those that participate in training sessions. Perhaps one of the best ways to foster application of learning on the job is to have attendees create an action plan before they leave.
This exercise is one way of doing that.
Individual work and optional sharing with group.
Ideal Group Size
Any size, since it's done individually.
Time For Exercise
5 or 10 minutes
Detailed Instructions If Needed
The following instructions are from Compendium of Icebreakers: Beginnings and Endings (Volume 3)
1. Ask each participant to reflect on what they have gained from the course and what they are going to do as a result of it by dividing a sheet of paper into three columns labeled Six Months, Three Months, and Tomorrow! and completing the columns.
2. Allow about 15 minutes (Ed.,I'd suggest less than that) minutes for this and then reform the whole group and ask each participant to read one significant item from each column.
Here's a nice way of explaining the exercise, from the same source.
“To make sure that you don’t forget the content you learned in this course, I’d like you to think about what you have gained and what you are going to do to benefit more as a result of the course, or what changes you might like to make following what you’ve learned here.
“Take a sheet of paper and divide it into three columns: one labeled Six Months, one labeled Three Months, and one labeled Tomorrow! [or Monday Morning if that is more appropriate].
“It’s not always possible to make instant changes and, in fact, it’s often easier to think in the long term about what you want to see happen. You might like to begin with what you want to achieve in six months and then work back until you come to a list of what you are going to do tomorrow."
“You’ll have about 15 minutes to do this on your own and then I’ll ask you to share with the group one significant item from each of your columns.”
Additional Information if Available
There are lots of ways to modify this essential activity to fit your time available, by changing how and what people share. You can pair people up to share with each other, or get rid of the sharing component.
If you have the luxury of having a follow-up opportunity, that makes the exercise even more powerful, since you can revisit what each person committed to do.