5 Show-And-Tell Adult Learning Activities To Incorporate In Online Training Courses

5 Show-And-Tell Adult Learning Activities To Incorporate In Online Training Courses
Summary: For kids, show-and-tell is a way to express their passions and treasured possessions. Can this be applied to adult learning in a virtual setup? In this article, I share 5 ways to break the ice, boost employee engagement, and improve retention with show-and-tell activities.

Adult Learning Activities: 5 Suggestions For Interactive Online Training Courses

Which adult learning activities impart real world experience and mistake-driven learning? Show-and-tell may seem a lot like ‘video’ classes – a shortcut when the teacher isn’t really in the mood. But just like class presentations or book reports for older kids, it’s an effective teaching tool. Book reports train enunciation, critical thinking, and public speaking. Show-and-tell helps little ones express themselves in ways they may not yet understand. They use their whole being to share feelings and thoughts they may not yet have words for. They bring out their personalities before the world teaches them to conform, and that’s a beautiful gift.

In the case of adult learners, this approach can help spark discussion, improve knowledge retention, and facilitate meaning. It allows employees to add their own personal touch to the online training experience in the form of hobbies and interests. While also enabling them to better understand work-related processes, tasks, and products through visual aids. Here are 5 top show-and-tell adult learning activities to incorporate into your online training course.

Engage And Inspire Adult Learners With These L&D Activities

1. Social Media Stories

There’s a theory that Facebook is for relatives and long-lost school friends, while Twitter is for networking. That’s not strictly true, but your Facebook feed is more likely to have baby pictures while Twitter has industry links. In this context, your online training setup is more likely to follow relevant conversation than personal information. A lot of us prefer to keep our home and work lives separate, but it’s still important to make human connections.

Encourage employees to share their stories on social media so that they can connect with peers and explore other perspectives. They can even post pics of work-related challenges, such as a screenshot of an error screen to get peer-based input. Or images of the newest product line, followed by tips on how to showcase it to consumers. It’s all framed by brief stories that humanize the online training experience. Instead of merely giving them pointers, these adult learning activities offer personal anecdotes to foster emotional connectivity.

2. Hobbies

Each assignment should be done individually, then presented to the class. They should be live, interactive sessions, via video conferences or web chat. Corporate learners can ask questions and assign grades anonymously, though the online instructor has the final say. Similarly, employees can do course-related presentations on their chosen hobby. Online instructors can issue pre-set tasks, but they don’t have to.

Corporate learners can be invited to make the link for themselves, stating their case and explaining why their selection is relevant. This teaches them to make unexpected connections, an important career skill. It trains synergy, networking, and branched assessment. As an example, somebody in a jogging/cycling club could talk about the benefits of incidental (offline) social networking through sport. A home chef could discuss the benefits of timing, or the importance of image and visual presentation (plating).

3. YouTube Videos

Presentations should also be included in your adult learning activities. They don’t have to be done in real-time. These days, it’s pretty easy to record a video or audio clip. You could use a dash cam or smartphone. Create a class YouTube channel and assign corporate learners to take time making their own videos. You can give them general guidelines or let them ‘go nuts’. These videos should be uploaded and reviewed by classmates. Restrict the channel to corporate learners and moderate the comments.

Another option is for employees to pick a book, quote, or article to share in class. Think of it as the modern adult book report. The online training content can be shared in advance to prompt an online discussion after the initial presentation. Think of it as a virtual book club, but with a broader scope. It could even be a hypothetical case study. The idea is to get corporate learners talking to each other and teach them creative self-expression. It’ll help them open up at work too.

4. Employee Hosted Product Demos

Let employees choose one product or service that your company offers. Then invite them to demo the item, explore its benefits, and share sales pointers. For this adult learning activity, they have to show co-workers how the product works and highlight other applications that may be overlooked. This allows them to not only exchange information and personal insights but improve their understanding of the product itself.

By teaching others, employees reinforce knowledge and possibly even uncover new features or benefits they haven’t noticed before. They’re also able to add their own personal flair. For example, incorporating their hobby into the presentation or images they’ve taken from the workplace.

5. Mistake-Driven Learning Moments

We all learn from our mistakes. Every error gives us the opportunity to grow and broaden our knowledge. A great way to incorporate show-and-tell adult learning activities into your online training course is to give employees the power to explore their mistakes. They get to choose a moment from their past that they regret. The caveat is that it must relate to work, even if it’s a personal event that taught them a professional lesson. Nothing too TMI though. They can create a video reenacting the moment, a slideshow, or host a live event to share personal anecdotes.


It’s not just kids who benefit from show-and-tell. In online training, it can help corporate learners get over stage fright and build their confidence. With time and practice, they’ll soon be speaking up in meetings and taking up leadership opportunities. The trick is to use a soft approach. Assign low-pressure topics that are dear to their hearts. Examples include hobbies, favorite books, quotes, or even memes. Remember, this is educational, so incorporate analytical thinking with one rule: presentations have to tie into online training course material.

Do you know what your adult learners need to achieve their goals and tackle everyday challenges, keeping them engaged during your eLearning course? Download our free eBook Designing eLearning Courses For Adult Learners: The Complete Guide to discover the most appropriate Instructional Design theories you can use for adult learning courses, as well as the key elements every eLearning course targeting adult learners should have.