Activities for online learning circles

I saw a few neat games and activities that can be used as introductions, check-ins and ice breakers online from Virtual Meeting Check-Ins & Icebreakers During A Pandemic, initially featured on Online Meeting Resources Toolkit for Facilitators.

Do you have any activities of your own that you like to do during online meetings? Things that break the mold of the traditional passive webinar? Add them below!

COVID-19 related check-in questions:

  • What desk stretch am I doing today? (You can also ask the person to demonstrate it)
  • What is the most humorous COVID meme you saw in the last week that made you laugh? (You can also have people share their desktop on zoom or pop the link in the chat)
  • What is the one thing you are secretly pleased that you don’t have to do now that you are social distancing?

Online activities:

  • You can set up a series of fun emoji for people to cut and paste into the chat or google document to express how they are feeling.
  • Another one is to have folks share something that is meaningful or fun on their desk. Or the last photo in their phone.
  • Spectramgram : You may be familiar with this icebreaker where you ask people to line according to a scale or answer to a question, typically something that teases people’s views out on a topic. Then you interview people on different sides of the scale. This is an adaptation on Zoom asking people to raise fingers from 1-5 about how they feel about a particular topic (pandemic or not). Here’s a write of this technique.
  • You can use the online whiteboard platform Mural for the drawing tools or ask everyone to use paper and pen and hold it up to the camera. Each person shares their drawing and you guess who it is. There is always lots of laughing! (Also found this
  • Team Tour: Each person has 1 minute to give a tour of the place where they’re currently located using their webcam. Describe where you are (coworking space, office, home, outdoors), who else is there and what it’s like to work there. Let other participants ask you questions. (From Mural)

Adapting in-person activities online.

  • @svigneau used the “beach ball strategy” method for directing the conversation. For example, when someone answers a question, they would ask someone else in the group for their answer or input (like throwing a beach ball to them encouraging them to respond.

I found a great resource below which includes a chapter on online session activities and links to more. While not specific to learning circles, it has a lot of useful info and insights for facilitation.

Scroll down the page for a downloadable copy in many formats including PDF and Word.

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