The core objective of the 3-2-1 summary activity is to help participants reflect on the key takeaways from the workshop and to encourage them to think about how they can apply what they have learned in their own contexts. It reinforces learning, encourages reflection, and promotes the application of workshop content in real-world scenarios. (Sharing action steps and personal commitments with the group promotes accountability and can lead to greater follow-through).


The 3-2-1 summary is typically facilitated at the end of a workshop (or a day within a workshop series), as it provides participants with an opportunity to distil the most important insights from the workshop. Participants reflect upon what they have learned, then they identify ‘3 takeaways‘, followed by  ‘2 action steps‘  and finally ‚‘1 personal commitment‘.






Minimum 20 minutes | F2F & Online


The participants will need their own note-taking devices (notepads/laptops).


  • The facilitator has to decide on the time allocation for the activity. Participants will have to be provided with a specific time frame to complete each part of the activity. For instance, the facilitator might allocate 5 minutes for identifying key takeaways, 5 minutes for action steps, and 5 minutes for personal commitments. (The timeframe can be longer or shorter, depending on how long the preceding workshop was and how complex the topics were. The longer and more in-depth the workshop, the more time will be required for reflection. However, the activity should not be too long, as participants will have less energy at the end of the workshop).

Step 1

The exercise starts with the workshop facilitator briefly explaining the purpose of the 3-2-1 Summary. They should inform participants that this activity is designed to help them reflect on the workshop content and plan for its application in their own lives.

Step 2

The facilitator then shares the instructions for the 3-2-1 Summary (including the time allocation for each phase of the reflection). They clarify that participants are expected to identify 3 key takeaways, and 2 action steps, and make 1 personal commitment (which they will share with their group). The facilitator emphasises the importance of being specific and practical in their responses.

Step 3

The reflection starts. After each phase (depending on the time allocation), the facilitator alerts participants to move on to the next one. Participants should work on each phase individually and should be encouraged to write down/type their notes. They should know in advance that they will not be required to share their notes, but they will be requested to share their 3-2-1- summaries (if not all – at least their 1 personal commitment) with their group at the end. The three phases are as follows:

a.       3 Takeaways: In this phase, participants should identify and write down their three key takeaways from the workshop. These could be the most striking concepts, interesting strategies, useful insights, or anything else they personally consider important.

b.       2 Action Steps: Participants should outline two concrete action steps they plan to take based on what they've learned in the workshop. These steps should be directly applicable to their professional roles or projects.

c.       1 Personal Commitment: During this step, participants should make a personal commitment related to the workshop content. This commitment should reflect a specific change in behaviour, a new approach, or a commitment to further their own learning.(Online version: Participants can mute their mics and turn off their cameras as they work individually on the above reflection phases).

Step 4

After participants have completed their 3-2-1 Summaries, the facilitator invites them to share their key takeaways, action steps, and personal commitments with the group.  (Large groups can be subdivided and share their summaries in smaller groups. If time is limited, they can also be requested to only share their 1 personal commitment). The facilitator should encourage open and constructive discussion during this phase. (Online version: Participants can be divided into smaller online breakout rooms if the facilitator wants to opt for parallel, small-group discussions. For the next step, they will then return to the main online meeting space).

Step 5

The facilitator concludes the activity by summarising the key points raised by participants during their discussions. (If the participants were sub-divided into small groups, the facilitator should have moved between the groups to get an overall idea of the type of points raised in the summaries, so that they can report back on these general ideas/trends). The facilitator reiterates the importance of their action steps and personal commitments. Finally, the facilitator can provide any relevant resources or guidance for participants to support their application of what they have learned.

  • Participants can be requested to share their key takeaways from the workshop in a shared, online document. This can be useful for the facilitator as a source of feedback on the workshop.
  • The facilitator can encourage the participants to schedule an online reminder (via their online diary tool / a relevant app) of their personal commitment.

This exercise summary adapts the 3-2-1 teaching strategy for students to engage in texts / to promote reading skills. It draws from the practical experience of the database contributors, as well as the following resources:

 Northern Illinois University Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning. (2023). Examples of Classroom Assessment Techniques: 3-2-1- Format. https://www.niu.edu/citl/resources/guides/examples-of-classroom-assessment-techniques.shtml#3-2-1-format

(Accessed 14 October 2023).

 Mohammad Hosseinpur, R., Bagheri Nevisi, R., & Bahrani, S. (2018). The Impact of Sequence Map, Answering Question, and 3-2-1 Techniques on EFL Learners’ Summary Writing Ability. Teaching English as a Second Language Quarterly (Formerly Journal of Teaching Language Skills)37(2), 125-167.

  • The 3-2-1- strategy can be adapted in different ways, e.g., to focus on:
    • 3 things the participants learned, 2 things that found a bit confusing, and 1 ‘big idea’ that sums up the relevance to their own contexts, or
    • 3 important lessons they learned during the workshop, 2 interesting facts they can remember, and 1 question they still have.

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