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Training Ice breakers: Using The Icebreaker The World's Easiest Quiz Correctly

Updated on February 4, 2013

All too often training is delivered badly because activities are copied over and over and suffer from the corporate equivalent of Chinese whispers.  As well as this a bad trainer won't link the activity to a specific learning point, making the exercise useless.  Some might argue that the point of the exercise was a simple energizer or something fun to break up the day but a true professional will use every opportunity to re-enforce the lessons learned and provide their delegates with an opportunity to add to their learning experience.

If you are going to spend even ten minutes on an activity then remember that someone paid for that training course.  Whether it was the company that you worked for or the delegates participating on a private course.  If you waste that time then you may as well have stood at the front of the room in silence for ten minutes and let people chat.

The world's easiest quiz is a perfect example of learning gone wrong.  I have seen it used many times and used it myself.  I would put the challenge out there that if someone has gone through this activity with you then they probably wasted your time.

Using the Quiz Effectively

HAVE A LEARNING POINT!: This is almost always forgotten! At the end of the quiz you should be linking this to some aspect of learning. Can't think of one? How about:

“Although the answers seem simple it takes a real expert to give you the solution. When giving information to customers you can't guess you have to have the knowledge to get a 10/10 rating”

Groups or individuals?: This quiz provides an opportunity to bond people who have never worked together before. If this is the start of a long course or the delegates are new to the company then get them to work in small groups. Competition will help you as a trainer establish some of the group dynamics, who are the leaders of the groups, who wants to win, who sat quietly in the background? All of these personality traits can be useful in making later activities work at an optimum level.

High Scores: So many trainers award a single point for answers and have rigid inflexible scoring systems. If you want to work at the top of your game then you really need to be comfortable with being flexible. This quiz is designed for people to get it wrong because the answer is NOT in the question. Be ready to award points for the best cheat or most creative answer.

Answer in different Ways: Get teams to make up buzzer noises and watch some structured mayhem ensue. Because people will get the answers wrong a buzz-in style method of answering can give the teams the opportunity to try a few times and maybe get some right... in the end. Have teams draw their answers on flipchart paper using pictionary style graphics.

Use the Right Questions: there are a few different versions of this quiz and a lot of them contain a question that spoils the learning point and that question and answer are:

Q) How long did the Thirty Years War last?
A) Thirty years, of course. From 1618 to 1648.

This is the wrong question for the learning point I gave as the answer is in the question!

The Questions

  1. How long did the Hundred Years War last?
  2. Which country makes Panama hats?
  3. From which animal do we get catgut?
  4. In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
  5. What is a camel's hair brush made of?
  6. The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
  7. What was King George VI's first name?
  8. What colour is a purple finch?
  9. Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
  10. What colour is the black box in an aeroplane
  11. Louis the XVIII was the last one but how many French Kings were named Louis?
  12. What material are moleskin trousers made with?

The Answers

  1. 116 years, from 1337 to 1453.
  2. Ecuador.
  3. From sheep and horses.
  4. November. The Russian calendar was 13 days behind ours.
  5. Squirrel fir.
  6. The Latin name was Insularia Canaria - Island of the Dogs.
  7. Albert. When he came to the throne in 1936 he respected the wish of Queen Victoria that no future king should ever be called Albert.
  8. Distinctively crimson.
  9. New Zealand.
  10. Black
  11. Sixteen, Louis the XVIII died in prison and was never crowned as King
  12. Brushed heavy cotton

Do You Have Any More Questions?

I would like to see a larger bank of questions developed for this activity.  If you have a question that fits in with the theme then please take the time to post it in the comments section at the bottom so that others can benefit.


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      anon 5 years ago

      Which country has a the most Spanish speaker?