Last month I spent a week in Hollywood with gaming giant Electronic Arts (Fifa, Sims, Battlefield).
This video is a 3-minute sprint through what happened when we let the EA leaders loose in downtown LA and to work with Hollywood directors, rock bands, storytelling gurus and innovation experts. Andy Billings, EA's VP of Profitable Creativity sets the scene for us.
Many delegates cited it as the best leadership learning experience of their careers – a great blend of expert insight, experiential learning, challenge, fun and direct application to the business. So how can any learning experience create a similar delegate response?
Tips for designing high-impact learning experiences
1. Be crystal clear on learning outcomes: It's obvious but often the learning outcomes get forgotten as the design journey progresses. Great learning design always starts with understanding the real shifts in behaviour that are needed back in the office. That means taking an holistic approach to the capabilities, motivations and 'soft skills' that learners will need to succeed back in the office. When you're clear on the questions your programme needs to answer, use them to spark innovation in how the learning can take place with maximum impact.
2. Be ambitious: Learners want to enjoy learning! We all know this but somehow it often becomes a "nice to have" rather than a central design challenge. Some of the most successful programmes that I have been involved with put the delegate experience at the heart of the design and build out from there. How can you delight, surprise, shock, trigger, disgust or energise delegates as part of the learning experience? Not for the sake of it but with learner engagement in mind. Do your programmes contain "I can't wait to tell someone what I just did / learned" moments? The "tainment" side of "edutainment" is definitely rising in importance for delegates so make sure you are consider it to support the learning journey.
3 Don't assume that it's expensive: great experiential learning doesn't have to cost a fortune. EA Games may have gone to Hollywood but I've run similar programs with global brands that have had equal impact in very anonymous locations. Less glamour doesn't have to mean less delegate engagement and learning!
Be brave and have fun!