Teaching ideas

Alternative delivery techniques + learner motivation hacks = check out these examples!

Show me cards

Show me cards are a fantastic resource, this is because they ensure inclusivity and enable you to instantly determine who within your group requires more support.

Show me cards are a tool that need to be used regularly to acquire the full benefit. Once the learners become familiar with their use, they will quickly realise there is nowhere to hide! and everyone will have to become fully engaged within each session.

There are several different types of cards however the rules of engagement remain the same. The whole class is asked a question. The cards are kept face down. Then all learners must reveal at the same time. This will ensure that both strengths and weaknesses in the individual learner responses can easily be identified.

I have regularly used the following 3 versions of show me cards:

1. Traffic light cards. This technique is incredibly effective. However, it does require careful management, care must be taken not to make the weaker candidates feel foolish. All learners will need a clear understanding of your requirements.

How to use:

You then observe the responses and decide whether to ask a green card holder to answer the question. Or encourage an amber or red card holder to answer by breaking down the question. Alternatively instruct all red card holders to discuss the possible answer with the green card holders then re-ask the question.

These cards are excellent at demonstrating distance travelled. (Use the same questions both at the start and end of the lesson. Hopefully the second reveal will be all green!)

2. Yes/No or True/False or ABCD cards. Fantastic for closed questions gaining instant response from the entire group. 

3. A4 Laminated cards (mini white boards) All the learners write a response or draw a picture on their card. 

How about the option for your learners’ responses to be anonymous? Plickers cards are giant QR codes which the learners hold up in reply to a question without their peers knowing how they have responded. To answer, learners will rotate their cards so that their answer choice (A, B, C, or D) is at the top.  The lecturer scans these cards to collect formative assessment data without the need for learner devices.

Advanced organiser

This technique quickly focuses learners and at the same time improves the retention of the topic.

Quite simply after covering the session "Aims and Objectives" outline the topics to be covered. In effect providing the learners with a road map of where they are going during the session.

Benefits include: -

The following advanced organiser demonstrates how the delivery of the topic Acts and Regulations can be structured with regular change of activity which helps motivation. Each bullet point is the topic to be covered, the information in brackets gives the learning activity.

Home groups / work groups / Carousel

A "home group" is where the learners choose where to sit.

A "work group" has been identified by you. This group may need to be rearranged several times before settling on the ideal for maximum output. Once your groups have been identified you can ask the learners to split into either home or work groups depending on the activity.


This is the practice of breaking the class into groups to undertake different activities. Each activity requires the learners to physically move from one location to another. The different locations can be as simple as a different group of tables in a classroom, or they could be different classrooms.

The advantage of moving learners to different locations is that there is a clear beginning and end to each activity and the act of physical movement acts to refresh learners.

Matching Exercises

In essence this is an activity that involves placing a word/phrase/sentence/picture etc in the correct space. This benefits both visual and kinaesthetic learners encourage movement from seats, allows for healthy competition and provides the opportunity for discrete differentiation.

Matching exercises can be carried out using a variety of different resources including: -

Here follows suggest ideas for use of matching exercises: -

Online Pathways

Would creating an activity with personalised pathways appeal? This is possible using either a ‘Google Form’ accessed within Google Drive or a Microsoft Form’ accessed within OneDrive. Pathways have as many usages as your imagination! How about?

Online forms provide the opportunity to create online surveys and quizzes. There is the option to insert pictures or videos, shuffle questions and limit responses, give learners instant or delayed feedback and a grade. Forms can be password protected. A custom message can be displayed when the form has been completed and or responses are no longer accepted. Email notification is an option which alerts you of any activity. Outcomes received from completed forms are recorded on a spread sheet attached to the form. Embed code and a URL are generated ensuring easy access for your learners.

Sequence Exercise 

Sequencing is putting words or images in an order of events. Example could be: -

Create a sequence exercise by placing each individual stage of the process onto a different card. Between 5 to 8 cards would be ideal. Then deliver using a technique which best suits your group: -

1. Place the cards on a table for the learners to move into a row.

2. Place cards around the room, also creating a treasure hunt. 

3. Give each learner one card only. The learners place themselves into the correct sequence.

N.B Putting one letter at the bottom of each card which spells out a particular word (only known to the tutor) when the cards are placed into the correct sequence helps correctness to be identified from a glance.

Differentiate by: -


Invite the class to debate a key topic and to arrive at a conclusion: -

Welcome views for and against and encourage tolerance and acceptance of different points of view. This helps learners to receive correction without upset and to reach deeper insight into a topic and to develop personal confidence.

Online discussion groups can also have many advantages when encouraging learners to debate including: -

The online debate can then be continued within the classroom while accessing previous comments from the IWB.

Odd one out

Giving learners a group of objects, words, pictures, numbers etc and asking them to identify the odd one out could not be simpler. Yet this is a very effective teaching technique. Usually more than one "odd one out" can be identified depending on the thought processes of the learner. In depth group discussion is usually generated, even or especially when the wrong answer is given as learners often insist on justifying their choice!

Setting up a Microsoft P.P to deliver a consistent flow of images keeps everyone engaged also the addition of a sound track can enhance motivation. 

'Spot the mistake' a similar activity: - Summarise a topic or process and insert one or two false facts or wrong steps. Invite learners to intervene when they spot the error.

Hot seat / expert panel

Either nominate an expert panel or individual learner to research a topic in advance of the next session. This / these learners then take the hot seat/s and answer questions from the rest of the class. The remaining class members also must research the topic however their goal is to identify both questions and answers. The tutor acts as the quiz master, directing learners to ask questions and if necessary, drawing out answers.

Appropriate preparation is needed for this to be successful. However, from my experience the learners will quickly become familiar with this technique, enjoy the activity and become very competitive! 

Peer Support

Ask each learner to write down (on a post-it note) one topic in which they have some uncertainty and place their name at the bottom. Stick these up around the room and invite everyone to select one question or problem they can answer. Circulate and pair up until all questions are answered.

Obviously repeated uncertainly will alert the lecturer to provide more input on that topic.

Role Play / Case Studies

Sometimes, the best way to prepare you learners for difficult or unusual situations within the workplace, is to set up a role play. A good understanding of your group dynamic is essential to ensure all feel at ease within the activity. Some learners may feel more comfortable working in pairs in a different room with a video camera for evaluation.

Following a script, place the learners in the role of a customer / client / worker / manager etc and invite to act out the scenario on the script with a little artistic licence. 

Those not taking part in the role play, can be the observers and are given the task of recording their observations to be feedback later. Mobile phones could be used to create recordings or pod casts.

Hold a group discussion to analyse both the role play and how it was acted out, the feedback given and maybe how the scenario could have been handled differently.

Case Studies

Find real life situations from relevant reports, newspapers, past experiences, or fictional creations. Seek opinions: -

Online discussion groups can play an excellent role here. As some learners are not always confident enough to contribute to class, allowing others to dominate! Placing the case study online and asking all to contribute before entering the class encourages a genuine opinion, uninfluenced by the tutor. Settings within "Moodle “ensure that learners cannot see other responses until they have contributed.

QR Codes a Multi Media Experience

Now that a QR code reader has become integrated within the camera of most smart phones it has become even easier to bring learning to life for all! Your learners will enjoy accessing content from their own phones or tablets.

QR codes are an amazing and brilliant tool. Turn a paper "work sheet" into a multimedia experience. 

Suggestions for use:

The list can go on and on. I have created 4 example QR Code activities for you to try below. Scan the codes and test your knowledge!

Auto Marked: 4 Different Streaking Effects (Balayage) : Videos

Auto Marked: Shampoo sequence exercise

Auto Marked: Styling Flashcards

Auto Marked: Cutting True or False questions

Forget traditional revision, fire up the fun! By designing games and adding a friendly dose of competition, we can boost motivation, solidify understanding, and build confidence in even the most reluctant learners. It's a win-win for engagement, comprehension, and self-belief.

Identify  key words!

(Prompt cards needed) 

There are two alternative ways to carry out this activity.

Split the class into teams. Place a learner in the hot seat and hold a prompt card up behind that learner ensuring all teams can see. The learner in the hot seat must guess what is on the cards from clues given i.e. "shouted out" by their own team members. When the correct response is given that learner leaves the hot seat as quickly as possible and is replaced by the next team member. Continue following this format until the timer runs out. (allow 2 or 3 minutes per team) N.B One team participates at a time while the other team spectates. (NB This game can over excite learners, is fast and furious and will generate quite a bit of noise. Be warmed!)

Split your group into two teams. Allocate a prompt card to each team. The opposing team can ask a predetermined number of questions before stating what they believe is on the card. Issue score according to how many questions were asked before the correct answer was given. Example 50 point if only one question was asked, 40 points for two questions, 30 for 3 questions, 20 points for 4 questions and 10 points after five questions.

Rolling Q&A

Place a question on one side of a card and an unrelated answer on the other side. For clarity, label each side either "question or answer".

The first learner reads out a question and whoever in the class has the matching answer shouts "match". If the answer is correct, that learner then reads out the question contained on the other side of their card, and it rolls forward to whoever has the matching answer etc.

Keep fast and furious or ask some learners to expand on answers.

I have found timing this exercise and then repeating it straight away, with the aim of improving on time, both motivates the learners and re-enforces answers.




Traditional party or board Games

Once you have created subject specific questions, these questions can then be used successfully in conjunction with a variety of well-known games. Simply follow the rules of the game with just a few modifications to enhance suitability. The learner must answer the question correctly before they can progress. These games can be created in Microsoft P.P and played on an IWB, here the Tutors is game master. Or as boards games on a desk.

Games which ideally lend themselves to this are:

Trivial Pursuits (create token cards for the learners to collect)

Who wants to be a millionaire?

Snakes and ladders 

Connect 4

Block busters (design your questions to allow for the concept of this game)