Top Tips for Interactive Training by Peta Jones

Interactive training can range from the asking participants to share something verbally with a partner or with the group, to completing a practical exercise, or reflecting on a piece of paper what has been learned.  Since attending an excellent course run by Deborah Dalley about making training more interactive, I have incorporated the principles of active learning and ideas for interactive training into all of the training I give.  Interactive training ensures I don’t rely on participants only learning aurally or orally because people learn in different ways.  I have found it also helps consolidate a participant’s understanding and has provided me with more tools to review the effectiveness of my training.

Some of the ideas I have introduced since the training were suggested on the course I took. Others have come from other Health Librarians in the North West.


Icebreaker Exercise

I hang pieces of paper headed with names of different library resources around the room.  Participants are given Post-it notes as they enter the room and are asked to put a note on the resources they have used previously.  This helps me find out what they already know and allows me to only demonstrate the resources they haven’t used before.  It also focuses participant’s attention and makes them more comfortable about joining in with the rest of the session.  This is a really useful exercise when I only have a short amount of time with a group.


Interactive Presentation

I add bookmarks and hyperlinks to my presentation so the session doesn’t have to follow a linear progression but can be focussed on the information the participants most want or need to know.  This is a very simple way to introduce a group to a number of resources when I am unaware before the training which they have used beforehand and which they will find most useful.



I have introduced a multiple choice quiz at the end of a very short session where any formal assessment takes up too much time.  Each answer is colour-coded and participants are given coloured cards and asked to hold up the card which corresponds to the correct answer.  This is received well and helps me assess whether information I have given in the session had been understood (and allows time for a quick re-cap unlike if the assessment is a survey completed once the training has finished).


I have also used an online blockbusters quiz developed by another clinical librarian during a literature searching training session using this free quiz website


Other Interactive Exercises

  • Asking trainees to complete a PICO search including identifying all alternative search terms verbally and as a group while I write the results on a flip chart.
  • Comparison of a Google search with a NICE Evidence Search, either individually or in pairs as a practical exercise.  Participants complete their own reflection grid to record their findings.
  • Matching research designs to their correct definition, using cards.
  • Arranging the research designs in order of weight putting the research design with the greatest weight (evidence) at the top using cards
  • Using cards match different types of bias against the stages of an RCT.

Peta Jones
Outreach Librarian
Knowledge and Library Services
Werneth House Education and Training Centre Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Fountain Street Ashton-under-Lyne
Telephone   0161 922 4209

This entry was posted in Top Tips and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s