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[SEL Tools] 3 Customizable Group-Based Games for Adult Learners

[SEL Tools] 3 Customizable Group-Based Games for Adult Learners

Learning games are not just for the K–12 classroom; they’re also perfect for engaging adult learners and bringing out that competitive edge that occasionally surfaces in all of us! By turning your subject matter into a fun game that learners can play in groups, you’ll encourage relationship-building skills, social awareness, and quick decision-making—all skills that fall under the social and emotional learning (SEL) umbrella.

Why are SEL skills like relationship-building, social awareness, and decision-making important in the classroom? Because these skills are transferable from the classroom to the workforce, and they positively impact student academic success. Did you know students participating in SEL programs performed 13 percentile points higher than their non-SEL peers when it comes to academics? If you can encourage learners to be academically successful and also provide them with social development opportunities, you’re setting them up to enter the workforce with both hard and soft skills in their toolbelts.

For educators, learning games do more than help learners learn in a fun way. They also offer helpful ways to assess whether lessons are making sense to your class and to tweak your approach accordingly. And, of course, you’re reminding your adult learners that it’s all right to have a bit a fun in the classroom!

To get you started on fun, customizable learning games, here are three group-based game ideas (with quick instructional videos on how to play them) that can easily be applied to a multitude of subjects in your higher ed classroom.

Trivia Game: Kahoot!

Use trivia-building sites like Kahoot! to create your trivia game in minutes. You can display your trivia questions on a projector screen and split learners into teams. The teams must work together (quickly—speed gives you points!) to agree on an answer choice, and the chosen team captain must use his or her device (desktop or mobile) to submit the team’s final vote before the timer runs out. The faster a correct answer is submitted, the more points the team receives.

Jeopardy Game: JeopardyLabs

Maybe you’ve done a Google search of “how to create a Jeopardy!© game” and came up with search results on using PowerPoint as your game builder. A faster way to create a Jeopardy!-style game is by using a website like JeopardyLabs. With this site, you can either use preexisting  Jeopardy!-style games or create your own game to tailor the subject categories and answer choices to your own niche subject matter. To make it more difficult, let the class know that if teams don’t provide their answers in question format (like in the real television show), then their answers won’t count. You can select which team gets to answer first each round by having students raise their hands (quiet option) or by bringing buzzers or bells for them to ring (loud option). 

Terminology Quiz Game: Quizlet Live

With Quizlet, you can create Quizlet Live collaborative classroom sessions to practice important terminology critical to a course. The game groups learners into teams, and each person uses his or her own device. Each team member is prompted with the same question but different possible answers. Only one person per team will have the correct answer displayed on his or her device, so teams will need to communicate effectively to determine which answer is correct. On your projected teacher display, teams will be able to see an interactive leaderboard, raising the competitive stakes. Keep in mind that wrong answers take teams back to the start on the leaderboard, so they won’t want to make hasty decisions if they want to win. 

Use these fun learning games as icebreakers at the beginning of class, lesson recaps at the end of class, or fun educational breaks somewhere in the middle. Speaking of fun in learning—take your professional development on the go with these 6 Podcasts All Adult and Higher Ed Teachers Should Add to Their List.

fabiola.garcia's picture
Fabiola Garcia

Fabiola Garcia happily joined the Edmentum team in 2014 and worked several years in the support and sales teams before serving as a Marketing Specialist. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Sociology with a Social Science Research Methods certificate from Texas Woman's University. Fabiola is passionate about education and strives to empower educators with relevant resources so that they can continue transforming their classrooms one student at a time.