Beyond bullet points: Fun ways to summarise course content

Spice up your summary

Are you summarising at the end of your course only? Do you provide your learners with a list with bullet points? Then you might have lost the attention of your learners along the way and their opportunity to learn. It’s time to spice up your summary and get your learners engaged!

Why you need to summarise

A summary of course content will help you to keep the learners’ attention and re-inforce the learning. Don’t leave your summary to the end, but summarise the content after each topic or major point. Repetition and visualisation, as part of a summary, will also help your learners to move knowledge from the short-term memory to the long-term memory.

The question is how you can make summarising more interesting and memorable than a few bullet points on a flip chart or PowerPoint slide. Let’s have a look at a few ways to engage learners in summarising content.

1. Mind Map

Write the main topics on flip charts and hang them on the wall. Ask your learners to walk around and add at least one word to each paper to turn it into a summary. Providing the learners with colour pens work best as they can draw lines and make connections, but you can choose for sticky notes too. Then ask a few learners to present a flip chart to the group.

2. Card Activity

Prepare this activity by writing cards with course topics, jargon, process steps etc. Ask your learners to work in small groups and let them put the cards in a logical order. Give each group individual feedback. This activity works really well to summarise process steps or anything else that has a certain order or structure.

3. Q&A

Ask every learner to write down 1 or 2 questions about the content you just covered. It can be a question they want to have clarified or something they know. You can give them separate topics if you want to. Then let them ask their question to someone else in the group who needs to answer it. You can ask additional questions or give extra explanation if required to cover the main points of the content.
If you want to energise the group at the same time: let them write their questions on a separate piece of paper and crumple the paper into a ball or make a paper plane and throw it to the other learner who needs to answer the question.

4. Group Drawing

 Visuals are a great method to memorise, so a group drawing can be a fun exercise to summarise content. Give each small group a topic and provide the learners with colour pens, glue and coloured paper to make their own summary of that topic. Put them all next to each other on a wall and discuss the artwork. Don’t forget to send the learners a picture of all artworks afterwards.

5. Quiz

This summary requires more preparation time, but making a quiz covering the content can be a fun way to summarise. Encourage a bit of competition by splitting your group into teams and let them play against each other. You can also choose to make an online quiz with (for example) Kahoot when all your learners have a laptop (or mobile phone with the app).

Inspired?

I hope you get some inspiration out of these summary examples. Don’t dismiss these methods too quickly, thinking that they are not suitable for your adult learners. I have used alll of these techniques in legal training and they’re great to spice up your course and get learners engaged. Well, if only you’ve started thinking of avoiding he standard summary I have reached my goal!

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