3 ways to instantly re-engage bored online learners

It’s a scary facial expression.

The one that says… “How much longer will this training last?” Or… “When’s our next break?” Or… “Did I go to Wendy’s twice yesterday?”

And as online trainers, we’ve all seen it on our learners’ faces. (If their webcams are even turned on, that is.)

Put simply, our learners are zoning out. But why?

They need something called an “energizer”!

It’s a simple activity to help physically and/or mentally re-engage your learners. It’s the boost of energy they need to stay dialed in for your next portion of content.

If you regularly incorporate energizers into your online trainings, that scary facial expression will become a thing of the past.

So here are three energizers that’ll be game changers for you and your participants….

1. Would You Rather?

Create a series of slides with one question on each slide. Each question presents two choices, and learners need to stamp on the side of the screen that corresponds with their choice. You can also ask learners to stand up and sit down every time they stamp.

Example questions might be, would you rather…

  • Be able to see 10 minutes into the future or 150 years into the future?
  • Be forced to sing along or dance along to every single song you hear?
  • Be chronically under-dressed or over-dressed?
  • Permanently lose your sight or your memories?
  • Always have B.O. and not know it or always smell B.O. on everyone else?
  • Watch nothing but Hallmark Christmas movies or nothing but horror movies?
  • Be able to take back anything you say or hear any conversation that is about you?
  • Have a photographic memory or an IQ of 200?
  • Have all your texts & photos leak publicly or never use a cell phone again?
  • Be the funniest person in a room or the smartest person in a room?

Here is an article lots of Would You Rather questions you can use to make your slides.

2. Word Puzzles

At Puzzlemaker.com, create a word puzzle using words that relate to your training content. Display it on a slide and include a word bank, like the one below.


Have learners use their draw tool to highlight words as they find them. They can work together as a group, and it's OK if they draw on top of each other. Have them cross out green words as they find them, and stand and sit each time they do.

3. Fill in the Blanks

Create a fill-in-the-blank puzzle using your content, similar to the example below. Put that puzzle and a word bank in the handout that learners receive.

Send learners to breakout rooms where they’ll work together to complete the fill-in-the-blank puzzle in their handout. They’ll have three minutes to complete the puzzle. Every time they fill in one of the blanks, their whole breakout group has to stand and sit. Their team leader can be the person who got up the earliest that day.

After the breakout rooms, debrief the answers on a series of slides.

  1. Stand ___________________
  2. Give a ___________________
  3. Use a brain ___________________
  4. ___________________ in the blanks
  5. Play ___________________
  6. ___________________ second “chat” discussions
  7. Plant ___________________
  8. ___________________ a poll, and then show the poll
  9. Ask for a ___________________
  10. Complete an ___________________
  11. Put people in ___________________
  12. Use ___________________
  13. Stand and ___________________
  14. ___________________ outside and report back
  15. Incorporate ___________________ throughout your design

Word Bank:

  • questions
  • volunteer
  • 30
  • music
  • humor
  • assessment
  • teaser
  • up
  • look
  • CORE
  • create
  • challenge
  • fill
  • stretch
  • pairs

Be sure to keep an eye out for future blogs in this series that’ll give you 5 MORE VIRTUAL ENERGIZERS to help you keep your learners engaged!

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