When designing an epic learning experience, as trainers, we have many variables in mind: starting from content and main learning points, designing the flow of the session and experience for the learners, design of activities itself, facilitating session in an optimal way, creating engagement, but also creating the biggest chance for recalling of the learning after the session....
And how about the space?
How can we use space to make learning more effective, memorable, and perhaps enjoyable?
If you are looking to use space more, and more effectively, in session design and training delivery, Trainers Toolbox team hopes this infographic will give you some new ideas for using the space to deliver an amazing and impactful session.
We hope you go out and explore it :)
p.s. would love to see more amazing things like this from Trainers Toolbox?
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About the authors of the article
Herve Tunga is an IT Development Engineer, Life Coach and Freelance Trainer with broad experience in managing IT technical projects, strategic development and organisational transformation initiatives in international environment.
Mirna Šmidt is the founder of Trainers Toolbox, trainer passionate about learning, getting things done, creating great training content and delivering it in an enthusiastic and energetic way. Being trainer since 2008, Mirna developed rich knowledge in positive psychology, NLP, evidence based training, coaching, and many other innovative trainer's tools and techniques. Next to Trainers Toolbox, she is also a founder of Happiness Academy, project aimed at educating and inspiring people to lead happier and more fulfilling lives. Read more about Mirna at www.mirnasmidt.com.
Yes, I’ve heard of it before - but what in the world is Design Thinking?
I generally like meeting new people a lot. As a Design Thinker however, I am always a bit scared of the compulsory get to know ‘what do you do?’-question. No, I am not a designer. And no, there is no specific field where Design Thinking is applied. And also no, Design Thinking doesn’t simply describe ONE method. To put it in one sentence, Design Thinking is user-centred innovation. Innovation, because we find ideas, that haven’t been there in this form ever before. User-centred, because in Design Thinking, we don’t try to find solutions for problems or - even worse - problems for solutions. In Design Thinking, we find ideas for (and with) people.
It’s not a method, it’s a mindset
Never tell a Design Thinker that Design Thinking is just another tool. Design Thinking is rather a mindset based on three pillars: Space, people & process.
Now, as a trainer you might have heard of these pillars before. In Design Thinking however they are closely defined:
1. Iterative Process
The Design Thinking Process includes six distinct steps (sometimes five, depending on the source) that vary between divergent and convergent thinking. The first three steps (understanding, empathizing and defining) deal with the so called problem space. During these phases we try to understand the challenge and the users, before we define a concrete point of view to work on. The last three phases (ideate, prototype and test) are in the solution space. Here, we create and build ideas and test their functionality with the users. Importantly, the process is not linear but iterative – meaning that you can (and have to!) go back to previous phases at any point to correct and improve once new findings come up.
2. Variable Space
In the School for Design Thinking, where I study, every piece of furniture stands on wheels. We rearrange the space frequently to match our present working needs. We also hype post-its! Why? Because you can rearrange and cluster them and you can use them for colour coding. We swear by being visual. As a consequence, Design Thinking spaces are colourful, chaotic on first sight and a lot of fun to work in.
3. Heterogeneous Teams
The more - the merrier. Mixing expertise, character and backgrounds is beneficial for innovation. We thus prefer to work in teams of five or six people that are as different as possible. On top of that, we REALLY do teamwork. We hardly ever split or do individual work and all decisions are done together.
So how could we use this in training?
The Design Thinking toolbox
Design Thinking cherry-picks on many tools and methods that I find super useful in training settings as well. Here are some of my favourites:
Star fish brainstorming
This is my absolutely favourite brainstorming method! The participants lay on the floor (make it cosy!) like a starfish. The facilitator takes the role of a storyteller and wraps the brainstorming question into a story. The facilitator also writes down all ideas that will pop up from the group at any time.
Creating a stakeholder charrette is a great tool for identifying problems and needs. This is a perfect tool if you work for example with the management of a company in a change process. It helps creating empathy for the employees on an individual level. Importantly here, you don’t talk about artificial people (e.g. the secretary) but rather in real personas (e.g. Leyla, mother of 3 kids).
On a meta note: I also love this tool to make sense of a Needs Assessment in the prep process of a training.
Prototyping means thinking with your hands – which is surprisingly often easier than thinking with your brain. Prototyping can be anything from drawing, building claymodels, using lego or role playing. Prototyping can be applied in various training settings. In a team work training for instance, let your participants prototype themselves and how they see their role within the team. Or, if you want to go deep, let your participants protype their emotions. In the end, talking about the built prototypes is much easier than talking about oneself.
Where can you learn more about Design Thinking?
For more information on how to create learning experiences using Design Thinking, check our webpage at learningdesign.io.
Here are furthermore some books and TED talks I recommend:
Design Thinking Pocket Guide by Robert Curedale for a quick overview about Design Thinking
Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko and The big book of creativity games by Robert Epstein provide a broad collection of methods you can implement in different learning situations.
The TEDx talk by Doug Dietz, Transforming healthcare for children and their families, depicts pretty well what is meant by user-centric design.
About the author of the article
Mara Milena Suter
Mara is currently finishing her studies at the HPI School of Design Thinking in Berlin. Besides, she freelances as a Trainer and Design Thinking Coach and realizes her own projects dealing with learning through Design Thinking through learningdesign.io.
Contact Mara via firstname.lastname@example.org or LinkedIn
Created by a child psychiatrist, Dixit is a communication game with beautiful artistic cards. The goal of the original game is to choose associations for the cards that at least some of your co-players will guess, but the real beauty of the game lies in its versatility, making Dixit cards a great tool for many trainers.
Each pack of Dixit cards includes 84 evocative images and they can be used in many creative ways. Some of the more straightforward ones are in storytelling, presentation skills, self-awareness development and team building. They can also be used for goal setting, personal planning or anything else where the power of visualization and imagination can be beneficial.
Dixit cards are also great for getting-to-know-you and icebreaker activities, encouraging sharing with a visual prompt. Because of their dreamlike artwork, the cards can be inspiring, playful, stimulating and even relaxing.
Ideas for application
Have participants pull out a random card and tell a story about it. You can set a time limit for the story (e.g. 3 or 5 minutes) or give complete freedom to the storyteller.
To make it more challenging or encourage more creativity, the same can be done with 3 random cards.
If you prefer to make it a team effort, have each participant in a group of 3 or 4 pull out a random card. Their group goal is to collectively build a story using their cards. For an additional challenge, they can do it in silence, using only non-verbal communication. After a certain time (set by you) or once they have agreed on a story, they line up according to their story order and tell their part of the story one after another.
good for: storytelling, icebreaker activities, teamwork
Answer a Question
Each participant chooses one card and shares why they chose it as an answer to one of the following questions (depending on your goals, training topic and timing of the exercise):
"How am I feeling at this very moment?"
"What would I like to be?"
"What do I fear the most?"
"How was/is this event for me?"
"Which card do I relate to the most?"
good for: icebreaker activities, getting feedback, sharing
Prompt a Solution
When faced with an issue, use one or several of the cards as random stimuli to generate more ideas. You can pull out a card and think of ways it is related to the problem, or think how the card can be presented as a solution.
good for: brainstorming, problem solving, ideation
Storytellers & Artists
Choose one person who will be the «storyteller», with all the other ones taking the role of «artists». The storyteller chooses or is given a card and has to describe it for the artists to draw the image following the description. You can allow or forbid the artists from asking additional questions. This activity can also be done in pairs, with the storyteller and the artist sitting back to back.
good for: teamwork, communication, challenging assumptions
When used for closure of a training or an event, participants can choose a card representing them or their actions in the future, creating anchors for their action plans.
good for: goal setting, inspiration, visualization
Dixit cards can also be used with agile teams during retrospectives. Each team member chooses a card representing something that happened during the sprint, and other team members write what they think the card represents.
Find more instructions by Chris Sims at the link: http://www.agilelearninglabs.com/2013/07/dixit-sprint-retrospective-game/
good for: creative thinking, goal setting
Where can you get the Dixit cards?
You can buy the cards at most places stocking board games, either online or in a physical store.
Currently there are three editions that include the whole playing set for the actual game (Dixit, Dixit Odyssey and Dixit Journey) and additional expansion packs containing 84 cards each:
Dixit Odyssey (expansion) (same cards as Dixit Odyssey)
Dixit Quest (Dixit 2)
Dixit 3: Journey (same cards as Dixit: Journey)
Dixit: Origins (Dixit 4)
Dixit: Daydreams (Dixit 5)
Dixit: Memories (Dixit 6)
Dixit: Revelations (Dixit 7)
Alternative similar tools
Many of these games can be done with a set of diverse printed photos or even art personally drawn on cards.
P.S. Not sure which edition to start with?
Our personal favorites are the Odyssey and Origins editions – just beautiful!
About authors of the article
Eva Simona Kulenović
A psychologist by trade and organization enthusiast by nature, Eva's mission and hope is to help others bring more color, play and joy into their everyday lives. In this quest she draws inspiration from her experience working in higher education, managing the HR department of an IT company and delivering youth trainings.
Founder of Trainers Toolbox, trainer passionate about learning, getting things done, creating great training content and delivering it in an enthusiastic and energetic way. Being trainer since 2008, Mirna developed rich knowledge in positive psychology, NLP, evidence based training, coaching, and many other innovative trainer's tools and techniques. Next to Trainers Toolbox, she is also a founder of Happiness Academy, project aimed at educating and inspiring people to lead happier and more fulfilling lives. Read more about Mirna at www.mirnasmidt.com.
Points of you® tools are innovative, inspiring tools for training and development grounded in principles of working with photography as a “vehicle” for expanding perspectives, opening possibilities, inspiring action.
The Coaching Game is an easy to use tool that brings a fresh spirit of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to every encounter. The game contains 65 cards, a 165-page book with stories, quotes and coaching questions, 4 process charts and a focus-notes pad.
Punctum uses colorful and stunning photos, life topics and powerful questions to create a playful atmosphere of learning and exploration. This game includes 33 photo cards, 33 word cards, 33 question cards, a cloth process-chart and a user guide.
Why to use it?
“Viewing any photograph begins an associative and emotional process in each viewer, and each viewer sees a unique reality inside the photograph’s borders. Thus any single photograph can hold numerous meanings simultaneously. The borders of every snapshot form both a window into the image and also a window into the viewer’s mind” (Judy Wiser, “Photo Therapy techniques”)
How to use this tool?
What I love most about Points of you® is the wide variety of potential uses. It’s magic works effectively both in one-on-one setting and in a conference environment with hundreds of participants. Those are different processes of course, and require different facilitations skills and styles – but the tools never fail in energizing the group and inspiring insights buy inviting and embracing multiple perspectives.
The Points of You® method is a four step process that starts with an invitation to participants to first meet themselves in a Pause, then Expand their perspective by exploring one or multiple photos (typically guided through an unexpected but precise conversational process), Focus on their most important insight and conclude the process by designing their next steps - the forthcoming Actions.
Let me share couple of examples of how I use the tools:
If you wish to check the tool in action, see the video with pictures from diverse workshops using POY:
Where to get it?
On www.points-of-you.com you can experience playing with Points of You cards; buy The Coaching Game and Punctum; search for Trainer Certification program information, and also find numerous inspiring “goodies” (Journals, downloadable Postcards, inspirational quotes, music … and last, but not least - several ready-to-use workshop facilitation manuals, downloadable for free)
About author of the article
Adrijana Strnad, PCC, CPF, Points of You® Certified Trainer
Adrijana works as an organizational development consultant, coach trainer and facilitator. Specializes team coaching. Works globally, supporting leadership teams leading their organization through large scale transformation. Adrijana is most passionate about innovative experiential training design.
My adventure with the empathy toys started by a TEDx video; one during which Ilana Ben-Ari presented the outcomes of a school project which turned into a business idea.
The original assignment was: design a navigational aid for the blind and how a visually impaired person might get others to help them answer them. By making the toys, they realised that from a tool meant to engage conversation and bridge blind and sighted folks, they actually created a learning tool designed for people of almost any ability and age, as well as a facilitation tool for workplaces of every shape and size.
Toy for empathy, from TwentyOneToys, is a blindfolded puzzle game that can only be solved when players learn to understand each other. The company elaborated guidebooks to help game masters, facilitators, to carry on the activity ensuring participants would get the maximum out of the experience.
For students, the games proposed are designed to reveal the relationship between empathy, creativity, and learning. For organisation, it’s a toolset which generates discussion about the role of empathy and communication in the workplace. They expected insights’ domains are in creative dialogue, teamwork & collaboration, making connection, improved performance, and more authentic interpersonal communication.
About incorporation in training, it's a communication game by excellence. For trainers, it’s a great tool to use in a classroom. I personally used them as:
This could be used on Conflict solving, Innovation, Intercultural communication, Emotional Intelligence to name a few from their manual for organisations. One can adjust the rules according to the point s/he wants to make.
I used my set on trains, busses, Leadership Summer School, YTA and other NGO events. Of course, the key to all the game lies in the debriefing, when participants extract their own learning from the experience. It is quick enough to be able to repeat the experience and most of the times, the second time happened to be significantly better than the first.
Here is a video from 2013:
I have been lucky enough to be in touch with the TwentyOne Toys team, providing feedback at the launch of the product. We also discussed elements such the advantage or not of playing in mother language and other findings. They are pretty cool fellows.
You can find more details about the tools here: http://empathytoy.com/
About author of the article
Herve is an IT Development Engineer, Life Coach and Freelance Trainer with broad experience in managing IT technical projects, strategic development and organisational transformation initiatives in international environment.
Mirna , initiator of Trainers Toolbox, is a trainer in love with training tools and innovative games, positive psychology, NLP, and everything that makes learning more impactful and engaging.