FAQ Glossary

Used at the beginning of a group session to "warm up" people, get them in a more participative mood, help them focus on the session, and often to help people get to know each other. Best is the icebreaker has a tie-in to the purpose of the meeting/session.
Very short activity done during meetings or training sessions to function as a break, and to help people "wake up" by having them do something different for a few minutes. Movement based energizers or brain teasers are common. Energizers are best used when they have a tie-in to the course theme.
Closure refers to the sense that an event has concluded -- i.e. that people have a sense of wrapping up. In training this often involves some sort of action planning on a person to person level, and a summary of the key points for the session.
Small Group Exercise
Exercise usually involving breaking up the whole group into smaller groups to improve interaction, and get attendees more involved. Generally small groups are about 4-10 people each. More than that loses the advantage. Sometimes called a Breakout group.
Breakout Groups
When you "break out" or break down the entire group into smaller subsections. Often used along with providing separate work spaces / rooms for each group to keep them separate. Similar to small groups where small group exercises occur.
Debrief (noun) or debriefing is the process of making sense of a particular experience or exercise. It is usually as or more important than the actual exercise. The debrief involves participants discussing the experience, but also guided by the facilitator to the "learning points" of the exercise -- i.e., the purpose.
Action Planning
Refers to a process, used at the end of a training session, where the group, or each of its members identifies activities they will pursue to continue to reach for the goals of the session once back at work.
Dialogue Analysis
Technique used instead of role playing that allows participants to practice soft skills without exposing them to the dreaded role play. It's based on research that suggests that direct practice and role playing are often inferior for learning, and that observation and mental practice can be more effective.