Frontloading means punctuating the key learning points before an activity or experience takes place, rather than or in combination with, debriefing it afterwards.
When does Frontloading take place?
Frontloading may take place either before, during, or after an instructional briefing, before participants take action.
What are the benefits of frontloading?
- It helps participants use the upcoming activity to build on prior knowledge and experience
- It helps participants set purpose and intention for the activity
- It distributes expertise to the participants before the activity begins, as opposed to the facilitator or instructor being the only expert
How can I incorporate Frontloading in activities or experiences that I’m facilitating?
Direct frontloading typically addresses one or more of the following types of questions that you may wish to incorporate in your program. The following question examples are from Priest & Gass’s Effective Leadership In Adventure Programming, 1993:
Objective Questions: ask about the aims of the activity and what can be learned or gained from the experience.
Motivation Questions: ask why experiencing this activity may be important and how learning relates to daily life.
Function Questions: ask what behaviors will help bring about success and how the group may optimize them.
Dysfunction Questions: ask what behaviors will hinder success and how the group can avoid or overcome them.
Revisiting Previous Dysfunction: Revisiting reminds group members of the behaviors they pledged to perform after the last activity. For example, after a facilitator explains the task they can pose a question such as “What were the commitments that the group made last time?”. “This will bring the previous answers to the “do things differently next time” question to the front of clients’ minds so that clients re more likely to act on their revisited affirmations during the activity”
*Beware of overwhelming participants with too much frontloading: the average person can juggle 5 to 9 thoughts in the mind at once. Activities and challenges often have numerous instructional points. Consider your intentions and objectives carefully when selecting appropriate frontloading questions.
JUMP! Facilitator Notes
Priest & Gass, Effective Leadership In Adventure Programming, p.208, Boulder, Co Association for Experiential Education,1993.
Daniels and Zemelman, and Wilhelm, Jeffrey D. Frontloading: Preparing Students For Success. Boise State University. Accessed October 17, 2014. http://www.slcschools.org/departments/curriculum/language-arts/documents/Frontloading_2013-02-05.pdf)
The Leadership Mountain Range is a model that depicts JUMP! leadership development. We believe that leadership begins with personal awareness, growth and development, which leads to community awareness, growth and development, which leads to global awareness, growth and development. At JUMP! we believe that without personal awareness, one will struggle to understand and gain community and global awareness
Approximate Running Time: 15-20 minutes (including debrief)
Minimum Group Size: 3 people
Maximum Group Size: 30 people (per group – if you are working with a large group you can split them up in the same space to run this activity)
Participants must be capable of reasoning and understanding the meaning behind the activity rather than just the simple objective. This activity is suitable for a mature Grade 4 class and older participants.
Space Required: This activity requires enough space for participants to run around freely, as well as enough space for participants to sit in a circle to debrief.
– No materials required
No set-up required for standard activity. However, if the activity space is large facilitators may wish to create a “playing zone” by marking the floor with painters tape.
The objective of this activity is for participants to consider how they work in groups, how they listen to each other, the choices they make as individuals, and how those choices affect others, etc etc.
- Ask all participants to stand inside the playing area (taped area, or space in room)
- Instruct participants to raise their right hand and point their index fingers to the sky. Tell them that this will be their “sword”.
- Ask participants to place their left hands behind their backs with the palm facing out. Tell them that this is their “heart”
- In the first round tell the participants: “The objective of the game is for you to stay in the game of life! Go” (allow them to start to play).
- After they have eliminated all but one player, start the second round.
- In the second round tell the participants: “The objective of the game is for you to stay in the game of life! Go!” (allow them to start to play)
- After they have eliminated all but one player, start the third round.
- In the third round tell the participants ” The objective of the game is for everyone to stay in the game of life! Go! (allow them to start to play)
- After they have eliminated all but one player, and if they have not “figured out the trick” to keep everyone alive yet, start the last round.
- In the last round tell the participants: “the objective is for everyone stay in the game of life! Go!”
- Participants must follow these rules:
- If you step out of the playing field you are out (either the taped area, or a designated area in a space).
- If you stab someone in the heart they are out.
- Hearts may not be purposely covered.
General Debrief Questions:
The debrief for this activity is largely determined by whether or not the participants were able to keep the entire group alive.
How did you stay alive?
To those of you who managed to stay alive the longest, what was your strategy? Why did you feel you needed to kill others?
Do you feel that in order for you to be successful in life, others have to be unsuccessful?
How do others support you in your life?
How can you support others? (Classmates, colleagues, etc).
Approximate Running Time: 15-20 minutes
Minimum Group Size: 1 person
Maximum Group Size: 1000 + people
Age/ Level: All
Space Required: Enough space for all participants to sit comfortably, and space for each group to post their chart paper and move around it.
– Approximately 8-10 sticky notes per participant
– 1 pen/ pencil per participant
– Chart paper (1 per group)
– Markers (2-4 per group)
Create group “stations” by laying out flipchart paper, sticky notes (enough for approx 8 per participant), and markers.
The objective of this activity is for participants to consider an idea/ prompt/ reflection in an interactive and visual/ kinetic way.
- Invite participants to sit with their groups around their flipchart paper and sticky notes.
- Tell the participants the prompt that you have planned prior to the program. For example: “What makes you a leader?”
- Ask participants to write their responses on the sticky notes provided, one response per sticky note.
- After they write their responses ask the groups to gather their sticky notes together and then categorize the ideas that they have.
- When they have categorized their ideas ask them to showcase the order of importance of the responses through an illustration on their flipchart paper. This illustration will serve as a measuring tool for the responses theuy had for the prompt. The illustrations can be absolutely anything. Examples from previous groups include: hamburgers, ice cream sundaes, beaches, thermometers, dinosaurs, etc).
- When the groups have completed their designs give them an opportunity to share with the rest of the participants.
You may wish to provide them with time to display their designs on the walls and wander around the gallery of designs, before you have a group discussion about them.
General Debrief Questions:
What is on your drawing?
Why did you choose those designs/ images?
What do those images represent?
Why did you choose those ideas over others?
Are everyone’s ideas represented?
What is the most important concept or idea represented on your group’s drawing? Why?
Approximate Running Time: 10 minutes
Minimum Group Size: 4 people
Maximum Group Size: 100 + (as many people as you can provide place-markers for)
Age/ Level: Grade 4+
Space Required: Enough space for all participants to stand and move around in lines of 4-8 people
– 1 place-marker per person. This may be: polydots, pieces of paper, foam, pylon, etc.
Participants will be divided into even-numbered groups of up to 8 participants each. Each group requires a number of place-markers, one per participant. The place-markers should be lined up in a straight line. If the group is large, the lines should be set up side by side.
The objective for this activity is for the group to communicate and collaborate to determine a strategy and solve a physical/ mental puzzle using their bodies and a set of place-markers.
1. Begin by having the participants line up in their groups, next to a line of space-markers (which were previously set up).
2. Each group must split into two groups. There should be an even number of participants on each side of an empty place- marker. The groups will look like this, depending on the number of participants:
- The objective of the activity is for each half of the group to reach the opposite side of the line from their starting point, by switching places with the other half of their group (ones to twos and twos to ones, etc)
- In order for participants to complete the challenge they must follow these guidelines:– Participants must always look forward, towards the other half of their group (i.e. ones must look at twos, twos must look at ones)
– Participants may only move forward (towards the opposite side of their group)
– Participants may only move forward if there is an empty space in front of them, and if there is an empty space in front of the person in front of them.
– While participating in the activity participants must not step off of their space-markers.
– If anyone fails to follow the guidelines, everyone must restart the activity.
General Debrief Questions
How did your group solve the puzzle and complete the challenge?
What was the hardest part?
How did you feel you did personally?
How could you have been a better team mate?
How did you support your team mates?
How did your group communicate?
What did you learn from this activity