Go Fish! card game helps people learn terms, procedures

Turn an old familiar card game into an interactive learning experience.

Create a deck of cards containing relevant terms, concepts, procedures, and matching information. Make sure that each card has a matching card (a term and definition, the name of a procedure and an explanation, a system and its features, etc.)

Make decks so that each table group has one. Then have each table play a game of GO FISH. Here's how it works: Participants deal eight cards each. The goal is to find a match for every card in their hand. To begin, one player asks another player if he or she has a match for a specific card. If the person does not hold the match, he tells the first player to 'Go Fish!' and the player must draw another card from the deck.

The winner is the one who finds matches for all the cards in his or her hand and is left with no cards. When a player does find a match, he or she sets the two cards side by side on the table and briefly reviews the match with the other players. The other players can decide if it's a correct match or not. If it's not a correct match, the person who laid the cards down has to pick them up again.

This activity was suggested by Kathy Yott of CIGNA Group Insurance. She says they use it with customer service representatives who must learn terms, laws, dates, and other insurance information. She says it's a great way to review information that learners have to know automatically.

Instead of letting learners say whether someone's match is incorrect, they let people lay down incorrect matches. Groups play three or four games, and by the last round, Kathy says, learners get all the matches correct. This, she says, is proof that they're actually learning while they play.