Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Teaching Methods: The Key to Engaging Classes - Gamification

Ever wondered about the magic of gamification in teaching? It's not just effective in corporate training but even more so for school students. Gamification can be broadly applied across various educational settings.

While many are familiar with the concept of P.B.L. (Points, Rewards, Leaderboard) in gamification, the real challenge is integrating it effectively into the curriculum. This video offers invaluable insights and demonstrations on how to do just that. Dive deep into the core elements of P.B.L. and discover how to effectively use them for maximum student engagement.

Note: The original video was shot in Chinese in Taiwan and has been equipped with English subtitles and narration using technology.

Teaching Methods: Mastering Small Group Discussions

Dive into the "Small Group Discussion" method with our "Teaching Methods" series. Witness its power, especially in corporate training settings, through live demonstrations. We'll showcase real teaching scenarios and break them down step-by-step.

Key takeaways:

1.Clear Topics: Display topics clearly and stay focused.

2.Use Large Paper: Turn discussions into visual guides.

3.Time Management: Keep discussions on track and engaging.

4.Encourage Presentations: Boost participation and commitment.

Discover more nuances and effective strategies in the video. Learn, adapt, and elevate your teaching game!

Note: English narration for this video was produced using

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Teaching Techniques: Instructional Strategies for Large-Scale Presentations (3/3)

Today, we conclude our discussion on the operational techniques for large-scale presentations. In addition to what we mentioned earlier, including the changes in my presentation techniques over different periods, from individual interactions to group interactions, and the methods of "Case Study," "Raise Your Hand," "Question and Answer," "Multiple Choice," and "Multiple Select," there are a few more interactive methods for large-scale presentations:

Arrangement Method

Display a few items on the screen in a random order and ask the audience to arrange them in the correct sequence. For example, a simple task could be "Arrange the post-processing steps after ironing: remove, cover, rinse, deliver, soak," or a more advanced one like "Arrange the five steps of systematic curriculum design in the correct order: development, design, implementation, analysis, evaluation." This method can be applied to procedural flows, standard operating procedures (SOPs), step-by-step processes, and more, to encourage the audience to think about the correct order and provide their ideas.

You might be thinking, "Why go through the trouble of having the audience sort it out? Why not just explain it directly?" Well, let's go back to the consideration of learning effectiveness. When a teacher simply states the answer, such as "Systematic instruction consists of five steps: A for analysis, D for design...," the audience's reaction might be, "It's so simple, I already know this without being taught," or they might become disengaged and lose focus. If the teacher teaches but the students don't listen, it's as if nothing has been accomplished.

Teaching Techniques: Instructional Strategies for Large-Scale Presentations (2/3)

Let me begin by saying that there are no inherently good or bad teaching techniques; there are only techniques that yield effective or ineffective results. The effectiveness of a technique is influenced by various factors such as the topic, audience, speaker, venue, and even the timing. In this article, I would like to share with you some instructional techniques for large-scale presentations that we have applied or observed others using, ranging from relatively simple to more complex. These techniques can be applied in different presentation settings in the future.

Case Study Method

Storytelling is, of course, the most basic method, but remember that the best stories to tell are case studies, examples, and real-life scenarios that capture the audience's attention. Mastering the art of presenting case studies involves some techniques for providing detailed exposition, such as setting time anchors, describing characters, employing sensory techniques, trimming the story to quickly highlight key points, and delivering the story with authenticity. Personally, I believe that this requires a fair amount of training (consider joining our "Speak with Impact" workshop). The speaker's individual characteristics and preparation also contribute to the overall impression left on the listeners.

Teaching Techniques: Instructional Strategies for Large-Scale Presentations (1/3)


In recent years, there has been a growing trend of incorporating more diverse and frequent interactive techniques in large-scale presentations. Gone are the days of predominantly one-way communication through storytelling, case studies, or explanations. Instead, we now see the inclusion of question and answer sessions, polling, ranking exercises, and even more advanced case discussions. These changes have opened up new possibilities for engaging large audiences, transforming their role from passive listeners to active participants in the captivating presentation. I am delighted to have been involved in the development of these interactive techniques for large-scale presentations.

Did you know that grouping is a key element in interactive sessions? And did you know that when dealing with a larger audience, smaller group sizes work better? Apart from simple Q&A sessions, what other interactive methods can be employed in large-scale presentations? Drawing from my experiences in conducting such presentations throughout different periods, I would like to share with you these key techniques.

1. Introduction Stage

During the early years (prior to 2010), my presentations primarily relied on simple Q&A interactions. I would design questions and encourage audience participation by offering incentives. This approach was used in corporate presentations I previously shared, such as the one on Blue Ocean Strategy, as well as the Joomla presentation I gave when I first met Mr. Quan. For example, during a 200-person lecture on Joomla content management systems, I started by presenting a case study requirement and then asked the audience, "How long do you think it would take to develop a program like this?" I would then request participants to raise their hands to answer. This method was commonly employed by many speakers for large-scale interactive sessions.

However, this method presented two major challenges. Firstly, the interactive atmosphere lacked enthusiasm and sustainability. Only a few proactive participants would raise their hands, while others either hesitated or remained passive observers. If the same individuals kept answering, the atmosphere could feel forced, as if it were prearranged. During this stage, implementing effective interaction was challenging. It often required constantly selecting participants to encourage engagement, but the sparks would quickly fade away.

The second major issue was the difficulty of providing incentives. Unless a substantial number of small prizes were prepared, the motivational factor would be exhausted after a few participants had received rewards. Moreover, in large venues (such as with 350 participants), those in the middle and back rows would find it harder to receive prizes, and the rhythm of the entire presentation would be interrupted during the prize distribution process. If someone consistently answered questions, they might be perceived as too eager and be alienated by their peers who wanted to grab more prizes. If the speaker intentionally ignored certain participants, proactive engagement would decline, and others would not become more active. These intricacies are the challenges that arise when conducting one-on-one interactions. (Take a moment to consider if you have encountered similar situations while facilitating large-scale interactive sessions.)

Teaching Techniques: Instructional Strategies for Large-Scale Presentations (Part 2)

2. Transition Stage

Every large-scale presentation has prompted me to think about better instructional interactive methods. In 2011, during a 90-minute presentation for a hundred attendees at the HPX event, I attempted to introduce a grouping mechanism using rows of seats as small groups. I sought to combine the interactive techniques typically used in small classroom settings with the challenges of engaging a larger audience. I posed open-ended discussion questions such as, "What are common issues in presentations?" and presented several case studies, asking participants to analyze and suggest improvements. Finally, I would reveal the answer. At this stage, it was akin to magnifying a small classroom (20 students) into a larger classroom (100 participants). The facilitator would pose questions, and participants would engage in group discussions and presentations, introducing the concept of "What would you do?".

During the 2013 Presentation Skills Summit, attended mostly by healthcare professionals, I had limited time on stage (20 minutes), but I aimed to demonstrate professional-level instructional interactive techniques. The venue had tables, so the previous grouping method was impractical due to the large number of participants in each row hindering effective group discussions (participants would be physically separated by tables, preventing interaction). This led me to consider smaller group sizes of 3-4 people, where participants could freely discuss with their immediate neighbors without any obstructions. Three participants worked best, but groups of four were also feasible (to maintain flexibility). Throughout the event, several interactive activities were implemented, such as live slide drawing and observations on the opening techniques of other speakers, which received significant feedback from the audience.

3. Application Stage

After publishing "The Techniques of Taking the Stage," in 2015, I had several large-scale book sharing events. I not only needed to share with readers what it means to take the stage but also apply these techniques subtly, allowing participants to experience them firsthand and reflect on the essence of taking the stage. This aspect truly required a considerable amount of thought, and I ultimately found inspiration from real-life examples presented in the book.

To start, I formed groups according to previous experiences, with fewer members in each group for larger venues (3-4 people per group). To expedite the grouping process, I asked everyone to stand up and find 3-4 people to sit with. The reason for standing was to ensure active participation rather than mere compliance. When standing, participants would quickly find their groups to sit with. I then instructed each group to select a leader who lived farthest from the venue, asking the leaders to stand up. This served as a verification to confirm the formation of groups. By going through the three stages of standing up, sitting down, and having group leaders stand up, the group leaders could be appointed swiftly. (This is the know-how of rapid grouping! Explaining it is easy, but understanding it without prior knowledge could take a while to figure out XD).

Once the groups were formed, subsequent activities such as selecting and ranking, or even open discussions, could be conducted effectively (how to execute these activities will be discussed in the next article).

Before we continue with the next article, I'll leave you with two assignments to ponder:

1. Why do we still need to select group leaders in large-scale presentations? What is the role of a group leader?

2. How does the interaction between the speaker and individuals differ from the interaction between the speaker and small groups, and what changes does it bring about in the live setting?

I managed to write 1,600 words in 70 minutes. I wish writing academic papers could be this fast XD. See you next time!

If you're interested in "Teaching Techniques" and related courses offered by SFCLASS LTD, you can fill out the course priority notification form below to stay updated on the latest course openings (so you won't miss out when courses are already full!). And don't worry, we won't spam you with advertisements when there's nothing happening XD

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Onstage Techniques: What Sets Presentations, Teaching, and Public Speaking Apart

A student asked me, "What's the difference between presentations, teaching, and public speaking?" Well... that's a great question!

The simplest way to distinguish them is by the duration of time involved. Presentations are typically shorter, usually lasting under 20 minutes (brief and concise). Teaching, on the other hand, usually spans over an hour or more (ranging from 1 hour to a full day), and public speaking offers more flexibility, often falling within the range of 1 to 3 hours (90 minutes being quite suitable). Let's analyze the unique characteristics and key considerations for each of these.


Due to their shorter time frame, presentations rely on one-way communication, aiming for brevity, simplicity, and impact. Ideally, the audience should trust and not question what the presenter conveys (think of examples like Apple's presentations). The core focus of a presentation is to persuade the listeners and have them accept the ideas being presented. With the limited time available, the audience can usually maintain their attention. If the delivery is compelling and the content is tightly packed, often the time ends before the audience even realizes it.

However, the short duration also poses a challenge. The faster the pace of the presentation (with more slides), the less room there is for mistakes. Presenters must practice extensively beforehand to control the timing and rhythm of their presentations. If any part of the presentation falls behind schedule (typically at the beginning), the subsequent sections may either run out of time or be rushed, which is something to be particularly cautious about.

Of course, there are different levels of proficiency expected in presentations, ranging from fundamental skills to seeking variations and striving for perfection. Practicing extensively is essential for delivering a good presentation. We won't discuss the dreadful combination of reading from a script and poor slide design... let's leave that aside for now.


A skilled presenter doesn't necessarily make a good teacher! Imagine a presentation expert delivering a three-hour class at the same rapid pace as a presentation... even if they speak fluently and their slides transition seamlessly, do you think the class would be exhausting? (The answer is: yes! And not just for the students, but for the presenter as well.)

The essence of teaching lies in learning, and the focus is not solely on how well the teacher delivers the content, but rather on how much the students can change and grow. Based on my experience and observations, the effectiveness of the lecture-style approach (which is akin to presentations) is actually quite limited. Even if the speaker is engaging and dynamic on stage, for the students, it often becomes a passive listening experience that can be tiresome over time. Moreover, it is not easily translated into personal experiences, as students may seem to understand everything in the moment but fail to recall when questioned later. This does not lead to effective learning outcomes.

Therefore, effective presentation skills (lecturing) are only part of the teaching process. Apart from lecturing, are there other instructional methods that can be employed? For example, questioning and answering, group discussions, case studies, hands-on exercises, videos, post-class assignments and reports, and practical demonstrations by the instructor. There are various teaching techniques that can be planned and chosen. The goal for teachers should be to speak less while ensuring that students learn more. This is something that a good teacher should ponder upon. Some of the best teachers I've encountered may not excel in presentation skills (they aren't fast talkers), but their course design and instructional techniques have left an indelible impression on me (classes were engaging, filled with practical exercises, and sparked intense discussions). Even today, I remember the content of their classes vividly. That's what makes a truly exceptional teacher!

This aspect is also crucial for businesses when training their internal trainers. Being a trainer does not necessarily equate to being a charismatic speaker, and being skilled at presentations does not automatically make one a good teacher.

Public Speaking

Public speaking allows for greater flexibility in its execution. Sometimes it resembles a presentation (more one-way communication with a faster pace), while other times it can incorporate elements of teaching (interaction and discussions), depending on how the speaker designs it. If you excel at speaking (storytelling, examples, and captivating presentations), I believe a 90-minute session can be filled with humor and be exceptionally engaging. If you have ample experience, you can also introduce interactive teaching methods during the speech (such as Harvard's Justice class, which is essentially a lecture-style teaching). You can incorporate question and answer sessions, group discussions, or use small incentives to stimulate interaction.

Take the HPX 17 lecture in March 2011 as an example. Essentially, it was a speech (90 minutes with an audience of over 100 people). I used a presentation as the foundation (slides, videos, rapid transitions, a total of 172 slides) and blended in interactive teaching techniques (leading Q&A sessions and discussions, and utilizing group mechanisms). The results were quite favorable. As time went on, I introduced more interactive elements, as sitting for too long can cause people to lose focus, and the effectiveness of the speech or teaching would diminish. (The two photos above were from the same speech: initially, everyone was sitting upright, and then things got busy.)

Another example is the Presentation Skills Summit in June 2013, which was a speech based primarily on a presentation. Due to the shorter duration (30 minutes for the first session, 20 minutes for the second), I included fewer teaching elements and operated at a faster pace. However, even in the 30-minute speech of the first session, there were still some interactive learning components, which received positive feedback afterward.


Presentations emphasize a brisk pace, while classes focus on interactive learning, and speeches can choose one of these techniques or combine them. The key is thorough preparation and ample practice! (The emphasis is not on what you say, but on what the audience remembers....!)

Techniques of Teaching: Evo;ition of ADDIE-

The E in the original ADDIE refers to Evaluation, which we have already discussed in terms of learning outcomes and teaching effectiveness. However, based on my experience as a professional instructor for over 10 years, I believe that the greatest growth for teachers does not come from evaluation. Evaluation only reflects the results, and the results cannot be changed. What truly makes a course better is through continuous evolution in each class, improving teaching quality over time. When the course improves, evaluations and outcomes naturally follow suit, creating a positive cycle.

So how can we ensure continuous evolution in our courses? One commonly used method is the After Action Review (AAR). Here are the detailed steps for conducting an AAR, which I provide as a reference:

After Action Review (AAR) - Post-Class Evaluation

I have a file documenting post-class evaluations since 2010, accumulating nearly 30,000 words to date. The first post-class evaluation was written as follows:

Date: 2010/07/15, Location: Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Topic: Presentation Skills
Summary: Score: 85. Learner response was somewhat lukewarm. Time management was inadequate. Positive aspect: Innovative sticky note teaching method.

First session: 08:40-09:40. The opening felt a bit cold. One-minute exercises were okay, thought it would warm up, but then it cooled down again.

Second session: 09:50-11:00. The main area for improvement. Shouldn't use too many examples from business presentations (should be more concise). Focus should be on medical presentations. Noticed learners were getting tired. Should provide breaks at appropriate times...

After two weeks, I wrote the following:

Date: 7/28, Location: Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Topic: Presentation Skills

Overall assessment: Learner response was very good. Showed a new video and addressed the previous shortcomings.

Improvements: Made a slight mistake in the opening. Forgot the five key points. Didn't use post-it notes today.

1:38-2:38. Time allocation: Completed the first hour with one minute per person. The beginning felt quite good. Also, discussed common issues with slides before raising hands. Took a 10-minute break...

By engaging in these AARs and regularly documenting my experiences, I continuously improve my performance. Course evaluation serves as a tool for self-improvement. When you consistently strive to enhance yourself, you will be amazed at your growth.

Keep up the good work, internal instructors!

Time fast-forwards to the present, and the most recent post-class evaluation I wrote was just a few days ago. Here are the details:

Date: September 8, 2018

Topic: "Hands-On" Project - Artisanal Speaking

- Scoring mechanism: It was determined that points would only be awarded for active participation and providing answers. This criterion should be clearly communicated.

- Introduction: The introduction went well.

- Time management: There is room for improvement in adhering to the allotted time. It is important to stay within the designated time frame.

- Discussion time: The discussion time should be condensed further, aiming for concise responses within approximately 10 seconds.

- Timer: It would be beneficial to have a visible timer to help manage and monitor the allotted time.

Continuously conducting post-class evaluations allows for ongoing improvement and ensures the refinement of teaching techniques. By addressing specific areas of focus identified in each evaluation, we can strive for even better results in future classes. Remember, the goal is to create a captivating and impactful learning experience for all participants.

Stay committed to growth and keep up the excellent work!

 Key Points for AAR Implementation

From these three authentic AAR post-class evaluations, I wonder if you noticed the key points I wanted to convey:

1. AAR is for improvement

AAR is not about reviewing or discussing accountability because it is written for your own reference! You can see that in the second class I taught at Taichung Veterans General Hospital in 2010, I improved upon the issues from the first class. And in the recent "Hands-On" project speech, I brought a timer, improved scoring and time management, and managed to finish the last slide just as the timer went off! (What a coincidence!)

2. Conduct AAR within two days

I have a habit of immediately recording the AAR on my way back after teaching a class. Honestly, I'm not the most meticulous person when it comes to note-taking. I couldn't tell you how many days I taught or how many students I had this year (Hats off to Hsien-ge for being so organized). However, I hold myself accountable to document my own state and the issues after significant teaching moments. Don't overestimate your memory; you must write it down within two days (I keep all my notes in the same file, accumulating them in any format) to truly remember! Otherwise, it will just pass, and the same issues will likely recur without any improvements.

3. See yourself clearly

As a teacher, the deeper you examine your teaching process, the greater the potential for improvement in the future! I want to reiterate that it's not about criticizing yourself or being perpetually self-critical (that would be too miserable). It's about honestly facing your own performance! Acknowledge and praise yourself for the parts done well. Record the areas that need improvement and think about how to enhance them next time. It's about being objective, avoiding excessive judgment or emotional reactions.

Remember, the purpose of AAR is to facilitate growth and development as a teacher. By implementing these practices, you can continuously enhance your teaching skills and create more effective learning experiences for your students.

Keep up the great work and stay committed to self-improvement!


A few years ago, due to the rewards system in Hsien-Fu's private tutoring classes, I had the opportunity to serve as a teaching coach for a teacher. I observed him teach for a full day and asked him afterwards, "How do you think you performed?" His response was, "I feel like the students weren't very cooperative!" "This isn't a subject I excel in!" "This topic is difficult to teach!"

Unfortunately, from my perspective as an outsider, my observations were completely opposite! I found the students to be highly cooperative, willingly participating even after a long day of somewhat challenging instruction. And if it wasn't a subject the teacher excelled in, why take it on in the first place? In just a few minutes, I adjusted the sequence of the activities he was already using for the "difficult-to-teach" lesson, and it transformed into a smooth, engaging learning experience. He nodded along, still searching for more explanations...

As a teacher, I believe that ultimately, you are the one who can provide the most valuable feedback and opportunities for improvement. Therefore, it is crucial to make good use of the "E" in ADDIE, which stands for Evaluation & Evolution. This allows you to accurately assess student learning and reflect on your own teaching performance. Most importantly, after each teaching session, conduct an AAR review to ensure continuous growth and improvement. This is the key to making your courses better and better over time!

Remember, the ability to evaluate yourself and seek opportunities for improvement lies within you as a teacher. Embrace the power of Evaluation & Evolution, and engage in AAR reflections to continually enhance your teaching skills. This is the true essence of creating exceptional courses!

If you're interested in "Teaching Techniques" and related courses offered by SFCLASS LTD, you can fill out the course priority notification form below to stay updated on the latest course openings (so you won't miss out when courses are already full!). And don't worry, we won't spam you with advertisements when there's nothing happening XD

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Teaching Methods: The Key to Engaging Classes - Gamification

Ever wondered about the magic of gamification in teaching? It's not just effective in corporate training but even more so for school stu...