Session Elements

By Ashraf Al Shafaki

When designing a workshop or a training course, elements are the building blocks by which you construct such a workshop or training program. Use a combination of the following elements as building blocks for your workshop or training course.


An anecdote is a description of a person experience you have went through yourself. You narrate this experience in story form.

This methods communicates the message deeply and helps build a bond between the trainer and the trainees at the same time.

Pair Work

Participants are paired in groups of two. Each pair of participants work on some activity together. The think and listen technique is considered to be a type of pair work.

This method vitalizes participants making the training more interactive. It also opens up communication channels between participants and helps build trainee-trainee bonds.

Group Work

Group work are activities done by participants while they are grouped into team. Teams usually produce some artifact after they complete their group activity and/or present the outcome of their work to the rest of the teams.

Group work helps energize participants and create high levels of engagement and motivation among them. It also provides satisfaction to participants and elevates their team spirit.


A story is just like an anecdote except that it is not a personal experience of yours but rather an experience of someone else you know or have read about.

Stories are powerful tools to communicate a message and engage participants. The human mind is designed to retain stories well and is highly interested in following up with them.


Quotations can be taken from books, from famous people or just from people you have known in your life.

Quotations can help give weight to the concepts you are presenting and help in convincing participants with the validity of such concepts.


Games are powerful learning tools not just for children but for adults as well.

Games create an energize and fun atmosphere where great learning can take place.


We are usually fully engaged whenever we watch a video. Videos are great tools to get the full attention of participants. They can be interesting and engaging. They are also usually memorable and can drive a point to trainees quickly and effectively while being interesting all at the same time.


PowerPoint presentations are often used during presentations as a visual aid for participants to be able to easily follow up on what the trainer or speaker is saying. A slide can include a photo, a diagram or just clear text to get the attention of participants and make concepts memorable particularly to those participants who have a visual memory.


Photos are powerful visual aids that can best be used inside a PowerPoint presentation to make a point clear, memorable or just fun.


A diagram can be used to simplify and explain a complex concept and make it easily understandable and digestible by the mind. Diagrams are often used as part of PowerPoint presentations. Diagrams can also be drawn on flip charts or whiteboards.


Drawing on the whiteboard or flip chart can help students understand complex concepts. Having students use drawing themselves in their group activities or on the whiteboard or flip chart can also be a good way to make your session more interactive and fun.

Role Play

One ore more students assume roles of other people and start acting as if they were those people and behaving in a way similar to how such people would behave in situations specified by the trainer.

Besides being a fun and engaging activity, role play is a powerful learning tool as it make concepts sink in by using full interaction and engaging the emotions. Role play is employed extensively by children and can be as equally useful for training adults.


Having participants produce something as a result of group work, pair work or an assignment or project is a powerful tool to make them fully engaged and provides satisfaction for them too even after the session or workshop is over.

Artifacts can be something tangible such as an origami artifact or an intangible artifact such as a photo, a video or written text.


Assignments are activities that are done by participants outside the time of the training session. This allows them to take their time and use the resources they need to carry out the assignment while freeing up time during the training session for other activities. Assignments also keep trainees engaged during the time between the sessions.


Projects help trainees become motivated an engaged along a training course. In case of team projects they also provide further exercise on team building and communication among team members. Projects usually produce artifacts upon their completion.