Twenty-Four Free Training Icebreakers For Online Teaching

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Here are 24 free icebreakers for online teaching, training courses, workshops, and meetings.

1. What Do I Expect?

Our customers love icebreakers for online teaching that are ideal for the start of any online training event or workshop.

Objectives
To ensure that all expectations are set at the start of the training event.

Method

Draw a simple matrix on a flip-chart as below. Some sample answers are provided – they will help you get participants started though you may wish not to fill them on the matrix at the beginning.

From The Course 

Knowledge

New Skills

From The Trainer

Expertise

Experience

Direction

From Others

Confidentiality

Honesty

From Me

Participation

Support

Ask participants to complete their expectations of the course, of the trainer, from others, and from themselves.

Discussion Questions

Did anyone feel uncomfortable doing this exercise? If so, why?
Can anyone explain why it is good for us to set expectations?
How can we use these expectations for the rest of the training event?

Appropriate Time Required

Flexible, dependent on group size. Max 15 minutes.


2. The Animal

Fun little “introductions” icebreakers for online teaching are sure to get people smiling and talking about their favorite animal.

Objectives

To allow people to get to know each other’s names and some basic information about each other.

Each person picks the name of an animal name that starts with the first letter of their own name. To illustrate, ‘I am Aardvark Alan’.

Then the next person continues by stating ‘that was Aardvark Alan and I am Bettle Bob’. And so on …

Discussion Questions

  1. Did anyone feel uncomfortable doing this exercise? If so, why?
  2. Can anyone explain why it is good for us to set expectations?
  3. How can we use these expectations for the rest of the training event?

Appropriate Time Required

Flexible, dependent on group size. Max 15 minutes.


3. ‘Me – A Name I Call Myself’

Fun “introductions” ice breaker activities are sure to get people smiling and talking about their favorite animal.

Objectives

To allow people to get to know each other’s names and to share some basic information about each other.

Method

There are many variations to this icebreaker.

A few will be outlined here to indicate how they work.


4. Three Is A Lucky Number!

Fun icebreakers for online teaching to encourage participants to offer their opinions, encourage listening, and promote greater discussion in the group.

Objectives
To encourage participants to offer their opinions, encourage listening, and to promote greater discussion in the group.

Method
Divide the group into pairs.

Ask the pairs to debate (1 for and 1 against) the proposition that ‘3 is a lucky number’.

Ask the group to role-play this situation for 10 minutes.

Once they have completed this brings the group back together. Then ask a few groups to role-play this debate with the larger group. Use these simulations to guide your discussions.

This exercise also encourages questioning and listening skills within the group.

Discussion Questions
Did anyone feel uncomfortable doing this exercise? If so, why?
How can we use this exercise for the rest of the training event?

Appropriate Time Required
Flexible, dependent on group size. Maximum time 15 minutes.


5. Circle Of Friends Icebreaker For Online Teaching

Participants are asked to share things about themselves as if they are talking to their friends.

Objectives
To get participants to offer their opinions, encourage listening, and promote better discussion in the group.

Method
Divide the group into fours.
Ask one member of the group to be the main character and that the others are their friends.

The friends have to tell the main character about themselves and the main character will later have to introduce their friends to the larger group.

You can rotate the main character a few times to give everyone experience of this position.

This exercise also encourages questioning and listening skills within the group.

Discussion Questions
Did anyone feel uncomfortable doing this exercise? If so, why?
How can we use this exercise for the rest of the training event?

Appropriate Time Required
Flexible, dependent on group size.

Maximum time 15 minutes.


6. Opposites – Reverse

Simple icebreakers for online teaching encourage listening skills within the group.

Objectives
To get participants to share their opinions, encourage listening, and promote greater discussion in the group.

Method
This is a very simple exercise that participants can have some fun with also.

Ask participants of the training event to describe a character that would be the exact opposite of themselves.

Once each person has described their exact opposite get the group in a circle to discuss the exercise. Then ask the group to reverse the descriptions and describe each other.

This exercise also encourages listening skills within the group and individuals’ perceptions of themselves and each other.

Discussion Questions
1. Did anyone feel uncomfortable doing this exercise? If so, why?
2. How can this exercise help us during today’s training event?
3. Has anyone changed their perception of their opposite or themselves? If so, how or why?

Appropriate Time Required
Flexible, dependent on group size.

Maximum time 15 minutes.


7. I Like Toys Icebreaker For Online Teaching

Clever icebreakers for online teaching where individuals are asked to describe to each other their favorite toy when they were young. It is great fun.

Objectives
To get participants to share their opinions, encourage listening, and promote greater discussion in the group.

Method
This is a very simple exercise that participants can have some fun with also.

Ask participants of the training event to describe a character that would be the exact opposite of themselves.

Once each person has described their exact opposite get the group in a circle to discuss the exercise. Then ask the group to reverse the descriptions and describe each other.

This exercise also encourages listening skills within the group and individuals’ perceptions of themselves and each other.

Discussion Questions
1. Did anyone feel uncomfortable doing this exercise? If so, why?
2. How can this exercise help us during today’s training event?
3. Has anyone changed their perception of their opposite or themselves? If so, how or why?

Appropriate Time Required
Flexible, dependent on group size.

Maximum time 15 minutes.


8. Desert Island Choices Icebreaker For Online Training

This is a variation of the desert island discs program that some people will be familiar with.

Objectives
To get participants to share their opinions, encourage listening, and to promote greater discussion in the group.

Method

This is a variation of the desert island discs program where participants choose what records they would bring with them onto a desert island.

Ask participants of the training event to pick three things that they would bring with them if they were going to be marooned on a desert island.

You can give examples or specific areas if you like. To illustrate:

Books (great escapes may help)
Tools (Boatbuilding!)
CD’s (don’t forget CD player)
People

Discussion Questions
How can this exercise help us during today’s training event?
What do your choices tell you about yourself? Please explain your answer.
What do other choices tell you about them? Please explain your answer.
Having heard what others would bring, is there anything else that you would no bring with you

Appropriate Time Required
Flexible, dependent on group size.


9. If I Wasn’t Me Icebreaker For Online Teaching

This is a very simple exercise that participants can have some fun with.

An energizer game uses physical movement, problem-solving, and fun to engage and energize your participants to the training course or meeting.

Objectives
To increase energy levels within the group.

Method

  1. Ask the group to stand in a line.
  2. The person at the back of the line is given the first line of a story (e.g., Seven tall men walked into a bar …) and asked to whisper the line to the person in front of them.
  3. The next person has to add a second line and whisper both lines to the person in front of them.
  4. This sequence continues with each additional participant adding another line until each reaches the front of the line where this person is asked to tell the story.

You can add a variation to this story where the group also has to tell the story backward by going back down the line again.

Discussion Questions

  1. Did anyone feel uncomfortable doing this exercise? If so, why?
  2. Can anyone explain why it is good for us to know each other’s names?

Appropriate Time Required

Flexible, dependent on group size. Max 15 minutes.


11. The Name

A fun “introductions” ice breaker activity that is sure to get people engaged. Read more about this free.

Objectives

To allow people to get to know each other’s names and some basic information about each other.

Method
Ask each person to state their name and to give a little more information about their name. Why are they called that name? Is there any history associated with the name? Do they have a nickname? What other names do they like? And so on …

Appropriate Time Required

Flexible, dependent on group size. Max 15 minutes.


Discussion Questions

  1. Did anyone feel uncomfortable doing this exercise? If so, why?
  2. Can anyone explain why it is good for us to set expectations?
  3. How can we use these expectations for the rest of the training event?

Appropriate Time Required

Flexible, dependent on group size. Max 15 minutes.


12. Getting To Know People

These are best used at the start of the session and should take no more than 5 – 10 minutes depending on the size of the group.

Objectives

To allow people to get to know each other’s names and some basic information about each other.

Method

There are many variations to this game but with some thought and imagination, you will be able to build your own variations to meet the requirements of your training session. A few will be outlined here to indicate how they work.

Appropriate Time Required

Flexible, dependent on group size. Max 15 minutes.


13. The Magical Ball

Everyone stands in a circle and the trainer introduces a magical ball (imaginary if none is available). When you receive the ball, you state your name and who you received the ball from.

To illustrate, ‘I am Alan and I received the ball from Bob’. And so on … When members receive the ball for a second time they have to also state where they are from – ‘I am Alan from Las Vegas and I received the ball from Bob’. And so on … You can continue this game with many variations.

14. The Hobby

Ask participants to write their names on a blank name card and to draw something to do with their favorite hobby or past-time.

Each person then has to state their name and describe the image that they have drawn detailing

  1. What do they like about their hobby?
  2. How long they have done this?

The participant then uses their name card for the rest of the session.

Appropriate Time Required

Flexible, dependent on group size. Max 15 minutes.


15. The Color

Ask participants to write their names on a blank name card using their favorite color.

Each person then has to state their name and describe

  • Why did they choose the color?
  • How does the color relate to them?

The participant then uses their name card for the rest of the session.

Discussion Questions For All Your Icebreakers

  1. Did anyone feel uncomfortable doing this exercise? If so, why?
  2. Can anyone explain why it is good for us to know each other’s names?

Appropriate Time Required

Flexible, dependent on group size. Max 15 minutes.


16. Mystery Figure – Three Questions

Objectives

To increase awareness levels within the group.

Method

  1. Participants are asked to guess the name of a mysterious figure that the trainer has chosen.
  2. During the exercise, participants are allowed to ask only three questions in total which the trainer will respond with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.
  3. Once a participant completes the three questions they are not allowed to ask any more questions and have to remain silent.

This game will encourage participants to be aware and take responsibility for their questioning and demonstrate the need for all the groups to be working together.

Appropriate Time Required

Flexible, dependent on group size. Max 15 minutes.


17. Musical Chairs

Objectives

To increase energy levels within the group.

Method

  1. Place all the participant chairs in a line in the middle of the room and ask the group to sit on the chairs.
  2. Use a radio or create a beat using handclaps. Ask the group to stand and when the music is played walk around the chairs. When the music stops they have to sit on a chair nearest to them.
  3. Gradually remove the chairs one at a time until all group members have to somehow sit on the same chair!

Appropriate Time Required

Flexible, dependent on group size. Max 15 minutes.


18. Chain Message

Objectives

To increase energy levels within the group.

Method

  1. Ask the group to stand in a line.
  2. The person at the back of the line is given the first line of a story (e.g., Seven tall men walked into a bar …) and asked to whisper the line to the person in front of them.
  3. The next person has to add a second line and whisper both lines to the person in front of them.
  4. This sequence continues with each additional participant adding another line until each reaches the front of the line where this person is asked to tell the story.

You can add a variation to this story where the group also has to tell the story backward by going back down the line again.

Appropriate Time Required

Flexible, dependent on group size. Max 15 minutes.


19. Ice-Cream Islands

Objectives

To increase energy levels within the group.

Method

  1. Place four large cushions in the center of the room with a small gap between each pillow (You can use other items to represent the four places if you don’t have pillows).
  2. Tell the participants that these are Islands called – Spring, Summer, Fall, & Winter. Indicate which island is which.
  3. Also, let participants know that these islands are safe but that the water around them is shark-infested and that once they are on the island they cannot place any part of their body in the water for fear of their life!
  4. Now in quick succession tell the participants:
    1. ‘All those who like ice cream go to Spring Island’
    2. ‘All those who like vanilla ice-cream go-to Fall Island’
    3. ‘All those who prefer chocolate ice-cream go to Summer Island’
    4. ‘All those who don’t like ice-cream go to Winter Island’

Stand back and watch the scramble.

Appropriate Time Required

Flexible, dependent on group size. Max 15 minutes.


20. Life Stories

Objectives

To increase sharing skills within the group.

Method

  1. Participants each draw and complete a tree of life on a sheet of paper.
  2. The roots are used to represent their family, the trunk is their support, the leaves their success, and the top of their future aspirations.
  3. The trees are then discussed with the group.

Appropriate Time Required

Flexible, dependent on group size. Max 15 minutes.


21. From Me – From You

Objectives

To increase sharing skills within the group.

Method

  1. Participants are asked what they expect from members of the group (e.g., participation) and what they will share with the group (e.g., honesty).
  2. All answers are placed on a flip-chart and it can be used as a contract between participants.

Appropriate Time Required

Flexible, dependent on group size. Max 15 minutes.


22. That’s Really Me

Objectives

To increase sharing skills within the group.

Method

  1. Participants are asked to write down on a piece of paper one thing that no one else in the group knows about them.
  2. All answers are placed together and are picked out by participants one at a time.
  3. Answers are read aloud and participants have to guess who they refer to.

Appropriate Time Required

Flexible, dependent on group size. Max 15 minutes.


22. Wishes

Objectives

To recognize the end of the training session and the learning achieved.

Method

Everyone stands in a circle and makes a wish for themselves and for the whole group.

Appropriate Time Required

Flexible, dependent on group size. Max 15 minutes.


23. Reflections

Objectives

To recognize the end of the training session and the learning achieved.

Method

Everyone stands in a circle and states individually what the training session has meant for them. 1

22. Appreciations

Objectives

To recognize the end of the training session and the learning achieved.

Method

Everyone stands in a circle and offers positive appreciation to each other for their contribution to the training event.

Appropriate Time Required

Flexible, dependent on group size. Max 15 minutes.


24. Coming With Me

Objectives

To recognize the end of the training session and the learning achieved.

Method

Everyone stands in a circle and states what is coming with me from the group. This could include new skills, understandings, or friendships.

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Catherine has disrupted the training industry since 1995 by providing “pre-written and customizable instructional material” online, right to your inbox. She has a Master's and a Bachelor's degree.