The Walkabout: A Cool Way to Take A Summer Training Break

You’ve got a long summer of class instruction ahead of you. You know how difficult it is for your learners (and for you!) to stay indoors while sunshine, blue sky, and fresh air beckon just a window or door away. So why not insert a “Walkabout” into your content-delivery?

What Is a Walkabout?

Based loosely on the idea of an ancient aboriginal “walkabout” in the Australian desert, a Walkabout is simply a way to include a bit of exercise during a class or training without taking an “official” break.

The idea for this activity originated with a training colleague and friend of mine, Diane Cheatwood, a former instructor and Faculty Development Director for Aurora Community College in Denver, Colorado. The Walkabout activity (along with detailed instructions and variations) was Diane’s contribution to my book The Ten-Minute Trainer: 150 Ways To Teach It Quick And Make It Stick.

Basically, a Walkabout is a way to actively review content you’ve just lectured about while giving learners a little exercise, sunshine, and fresh air. It can also be used as a closing (C4-Conclusions) strategy at the end of a class or training.

What Does a Walkabout Do?

By participating in a Walkabout, learners will:

*  Take a topic-related break that includes exercise plus a review of content covered during the class or training.

*  Get some sunshine, fresh air, and exercise while reviewing class content.

*  Ask topic-related questions of each other as they walk.

*  Stay interested, motivated and awake during long training sessions.

*  Make action plans (how they plan to use the content learned) and share their action plans with each other, if the Walkabout is used as a closing activity.

Room Set-Up and Materials Needed:

If done outside, there needs to be space and a place to walk (parking lots will do as will lawns, sidewalks, or any open area). If done inside, there needs to be enough space for the group to walk around the furniture, the perimeter of the room, or into a hallway and back. Otherwise, no special set-up or materials are necessary.

Walkabout Instructions:

1. Direct learners to form standing pairs (triads are okay too – remind them to make sure no one is left out).

2. Explain that they are going to do a Walkabout where they walk with their “Walkabout Buddies” outside (or around the room). They will make a full circle around an outside area (or around the perimeter of the room) until they arrive back at their starting place.

3.  While walking, they are to discuss one or more of the following: the most important information they’ve learned so far, any questions about the content just covered, how they plan to use what they’ve learned, and anything else topic-related that you want them to discuss.

4. Let them know the length of time they have to do the Walkabout – from 3-5 minutes is usually enough time for the activity.

5. As they do the Walkabout, you can walk and observe, or you can join in and listen to a few of the walking discussions. Be sure to get some fresh air yourself!

6. Debrief the activity when done by asking the whole group: “What was the most valuable “take-away” from the Walkabout?” Accept all responses.

7. For Walkabout variations, click HERE to download the complete article about this activity.

Bonus Ideas:

For webinars or any computer-based training, you can direct participants to take a one-minute break and walk around their office, down the hall, or outside and back, while thinking about what they’ve learned so far. Remind them to stretch and to take a few deep breaths while walking to increase alertness.

You can also insert brief Walkabout instructions into a self-study/asynchronous training by reminding learners (via a “Walkabout Box” inserted into the text) to stop reading and to take a short walking/stretching break.

Final Thoughts:

Standing, moving, walking, talking, sunshine, fresh air, blue sky – all these can be part of a learning experience. You don’t have to sacrifice content to include walking, talking, and fresh air! The Walkabout is one way to bring the summer into your training – and to keep yourself and your learners awake, alert, and happy all the while.

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For more great teaching/training strategies like the Walkabout, be sure to click on this website’s Articles page, the Micro-Courses page, as well as the blog post Topic-Related Body Breaks.

If you’re interested in attending the globally-popular, 2-day “Training from the BACK of the Room” professional development class, see the calendar list on the What’s New? or Training Events pages for updated dates and locations.

 

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