Creative Learning: Activities and Games That REALLY Engage Learners by Robert W. Lucas

Written by master trainer Bob Lucas, this book provides a wealth of new activities and games that can be used by trainers, presenters and educators in virtually any type of indoor learning environment. Lucas presents the theory and concepts behind using games and activities and discusses the research that supports the case for focusing on brain-based (active) learning, and the benefits of adding fun and novelty to the learning environment in order to enhance transfer of learning from the classroom to the workplace. He also offers guidance on the possible scenarios when these brain-based games might be appropriate. The remainder of the book offers a creative collection of activities for use throughout any training event.

The book includes "getting started" activities to build and continue momentum and useful ways to create a bridge from learning to application.

  • Filled with icebreakers and introductions motivators, brainteaser and energizers transition and reinforcement activities, stories that teach and powerful session closers.
  • Written by a leader in creative training and a former chapter president of ASTD.
  • The brain-friendly approach taken in this book is guaranteed to elevate ordinary training to extraordinary levels

Bob Lucas. The name introduces itself. Whether it’s Bob’s 23 books, his Creative Presentation Resources materials, his many presentations at the ASTD International Conference and other like events, his earlier career work for AAA, his travels around the world, or even his stint as a Marine Corps drill instructor, Bob Lucas has been, and seems to be, everywhere. Even more importantly, Bob is right where he needs to be when it comes to the brain and learning. I discovered this when I first met Bob.

Actually, it took three attempts to meet Bob. The first attempt occurred when I was studying for my Masters at Webster University. The university had posted information indicating that Bob would be the instructor for one class. I eagerly signed up. But alas, no Bob. The schedule was an old one issued by mistake and the class had a different professor. The next time I almost met Bob was at one of his ASTD trainer conference presentations. Somehow, I misread the schedule and showed up for his session after it was over. Again, no Bob. The third time, finally and luckily, was the charm.

The main factor in the success of this introduction was that Bob sought me out. I was presenting my Show Biz Training presentation for an association in preparation for my own ASTD International Conference presentation. Bob was in the audience.

After the presentation, Bob approached me and struck up a conversation. For such a noted expert, this was a nice touch of humanity. As I talked to Bob, I discovered that he and I viewed the challenges of adult learning in like ways. Bob may have began his career as a Marine Corps drill instructor but when it comes to training, the one thing Bob does not act like is a drill instructor. He fully comprehends the need to reach trainees where they are, not to demand they go to you. Bob’s ideas are brain-based, not order-based and learner-focused, not instructor-centric.

I have since partnered several times with Bob. We presented together at two ASTD International Conferences. He has read and provided feedback on my works as I have on his. To this day, we continue to exchange ideas and tips. Through all this communication, I have discovered Bob to be clearly focused on the needs of the learner, and as the many books that he has written superbly demonstrate, clearly focused on your needs too.

As Bob indicates in Creative Learning: Games and Activities That REALLY Engage Learners, people, being impatient, need information now. They do not want to engage in mindless activities that have been shoe-horned into a training program because they fit the trainers need to conduct an activity at that place in the instruction. Those kind of activities are trainer-driven, not learner-needed. With the increased need to do more, spend less, train effectively and deliver stellar results, Creative Learning: Games and Activities That REALLY Engage Learners can help your learners teach themselves your material. Bob has created templates that will do the work for you. All you need to do is learn them, articulate them, stand aside and let the learning flow.

If you’re reading this forward, you have either purchased Creative Learning: Games and Activities That REALLY Engage Learners or are considering purchasing it. If you have not purchased it yet, do so… Now! You will then have the pleasure of knowing Bob. Better yet, your learners will have the benefit of his wisdom. Either way, you win.

Lenn Millbower, BM, MA, The Learnertainment® Trainer; author of Showbiz Training, Cartoons for Trainers, and Training With a Beat

How This Book Is Organized

This book is designed to be a quick reference guide that can provide easily understood and useable resources for trainers, educators, or any group leader. It is designed with the idea that someone might pick up the book looking for a specific type of activity rather than reading it cover to cover. This is why the same format is repeated from one activity to another.

The games and activities are easy to set up and facilitate and time lengths vary to suit different learning environment needs and instructor preferences. The Resources section at the end likewise provides many strategies, books, websites, and other resources that are useful in facilitating games and activities, as well as providing ideas for other learning environment adaptations.

Here’s what you will find in each section of this book

Use Matrix

Following the Table of Contents, you will find a handy matrix that lists all the activities and games found in the book and identifies the potential use for each game. Some will appear under multiple categories since they can be modified, adapted, or used at different times during various sessions to address various learning objectives.


This section sets the tone for using the book by providing the research behind the use of games and activities and how they tie to brain-based learning and research. It also provides detailed ways in which you can most benefit from the book’s content.

Section I – Getting Started
In this section, you will find a variety of games and activities designed to help you identify ways in which you might open your sessions and classes on a high note, get things moving related to program content, and have everyone introduce themselves in fun and interesting ways.

Section II – Re-Energizing the Brain
The content of this section is focused on raising and maintaining participant energy, motivation levels, and attentiveness related to learning and course content. From a learning standpoint, this is important because for the human brain to grasp and assimilate concepts into memory, people must first be focused on stimuli (e.g. information being presented, audio-visual aids, support materials, and other crucial components of the learning environment).

Section III – Interim Reviews
Interim reviews are fun and beneficial steps in the learning process. They provide quick ways to help learners better grasp and retain session content for later recall and application. They also help facilitators identify any content that needs further attention and emphasis. Too often trainers and educators wait until the end of a learning event to review content. At that point it is too late to go back and re-teach any important concepts missed or misunderstood. Thus, learners often walk away without meeting learning objectives and having wasted their time.

Section IV – Transfer of Learning
In this section, you will find games and activities that help with the all-important transfer of learning issue that so many trainers, educators and meeting facilitators struggle with. It provides useful ways to help learners attain an “ah ha” moment in which they see how the content learned during the session will be applicable and can be applied to their own workplace and life situations.

Section V – Ending on a High Note
Research has shown that people best remember what they hear first and last, so it makes sense to ensure that you end your programs in a profound manner. This section provides a variety of ways to review program content and close out a session in a memorable way so that participants walk out with a better understanding of what they learned.

This section lists organizations, websites, books, music, and much more that can be used to enhance your learning experiences.