Like many learning and development professionals, I love models, frameworks, visual exercises. A resource I use is Thinker Toys: A Handbook of Creative Thinking Techniques. One model used is called an FCB Grid, named for the firm that created it, Foote, Cone & Belding (1978).
An example given in the book is how a publisher came up with the idea for a gardening book for children by asking the question, “In what ways might we publish a unique book on gardening for children ages 4 to 12?” They mapped what was currently available – primarily low involvement/thinking books with a lot of content. They created a best-seller called Growing Vegetable Soup, a coloring book that leads the reader through the actual work – planting seeds, watering, weeding, etc. to making and eating the soup.
Using the FCB Grid to assess learning content.
Is your learning content high or low involvement? Invoke feelings? Invoke thinking, particularly higher-order thinking such as assess, analyze, contrast, compare, etc.? Questions to ask – Do we have content that is:
- Highly interactive and engages the emotions?
- Highly interactive and engages in higher-order thinking?
- BOTH – interactive, provokes thinking AND emotions?
- Neither – doesn’t provoke thinking or emotions?
We spend too much time thinking about interactivity without thought to the emotional or thinking aspect. The learning objective “demonstrates competency by…” is a good one, but putting learner’s through difficult tasks they don’t enjoy is a recipe for failure.
Low interaction is okay. Lecture and video are low involvement, but can be effective if they provoke deep thinking and/or emotions. Think of a time you heard a lecture that you forgot the minute you left the room. Or conversely, the lecture that moved you emotionally, and/or made you reflect, have new ideas, think deeply?
Ted videos are a great example of low interaction but HIGH think and feel. The most-watched Ted talk of all time is Ken Robinson’s How Schools Kill Creativity. It is inspiring and will change the way you think about education. Kalina Silverman’s How to Skip the Small Talk and Connect with Anyone had me wanting to start a movement. Good stuff.
High Think / High Interaction Learning
- eLearning with challenging scenarios
- Group Projects
- Add emotion with competition or tie to a reward
- Case Studies with problem-solving challenge
- Scripted case studies – present a problem where learners must uncover root cause, solve a customer’s business problem, etc. and present to a group.
- Engage emotions by making a competition, scoring, presenting in front of key stakeholders/executives, etc.
- Learner teaches another learner/group of learners, gives a speech
- Engages emotions because learner will likely want to do a good job, public speaking is generally high-emotion
High Think / Low Interaction Learning
- Videos, eLearning with thought-provoking content (open-ended questions…”what if?”, radical ideas, etc.)
- Reflection – often used in schools; reflect on what was learned
High Feel / High Interaction
- Role plays
- Group projects
- Story Sync (involve learner in the story). Example – The Holocaust Museum gives you a booklet upon entering introducing you to a person who lived during the Holocaust. As you go through the museum you’re asked to turn the page, learn more about your person. At then end of the tour you discover the fate of your person. Use a patient, a customer, a co-worker as the person learner identifies with; help them see how their actions impact the fate of another person.
High Feel / Low interaction
- Videos – Ted videos, in-house videos that personally engage the emotions of the learner
- Story Sync – see above example
The best training will engage the learner’s thinking as well as their emotions.
- How can we make our performance management training more emotional? Some answers might be:
- Testimonial videos from employees – how good performance management, development plans helped their career.
- Story Sync – contrast 2 employees, one who was “managed out” and another who had a manager that put them on a PIP and turned their performance around. Or – contrast one employee who receives regular feedback vs. the one who hears it once a year.
- Product training that’s highly interactive, thought-provoking, emotional?
- Ideate/innovate – Ask learners to brainstorm new ways the product can be used, how it pairs with other products, new verticals, etc.
- Spice up low-interactive learning (videos, reading, policies, manuals)
- Learner-created videos
- Learner-created content
- Discussion groups, focus groups on greater meaning of the company video
- Draw a Metaphor – onboarding company video; have learners draw a metaphor describing the company. “Our company is like a farmer’s market…” “our company is like a race car…”
- Visioning – have employees draw what they see as the vision of the company – what is the horizon (ultimate goal), what are the company’s strengths? Challenges (draw as mountains), etc.
- Do we have any learning that is low/low/low? Low interaction, low emotion, low thinking? If yes…you need a re-haul ASAP. “They have to do it” isn’t a good long-term strategy.
Learning & Development is a higher calling – an opportunity to impact lives, help employees reach their aspirations, help the organization grow and become better. “With great power comes great responsibility” – make your learning relevant, thoughtful, powerful, emotional and it will have greater impact.