A deliberate approach to integrating learning with work

In this episode of Learning Uncut I’m joined by Jason Davey from the Design Farm Collective and Dr Kuva Jacobs who is a Learning Design Strategist and freelance learning designer.  Kuva has been working with Jason and a team from Design Farm Collective as part of a multi-disciplinary team designing a contact strategy for a bank in the Philippines.  They tell the story of the first 12 weeks of this project, with particular focus on the series of one-week long design sprints where they worked with people from the bank to design a series of user journeys.

One of the reasons that Kuva was part of the team was to deliberately shift mindset and build design skills in the client’s team as they worked on the project.  This was all done through experiential learning – a real example of learning being integrated with work.  The approach taken was creative and fun.  And it was all done in a virtual environment with no cameras in a short timeframe.  Kuva describes some of the ways they cultivated connection and participation in this setting, and the mindset warmups at the start of each day and reflection at the end of each day.  They created opportunity for people to give things a go, including facilitating activities, and in the process unearthed hidden talents amongst the group.  It was a period of intensive experimentation and learning which has left a legacy of a shift in mindset, behaviour and capability in the bank’s workforce.

The design team also learned and adapted continuously throughout the project.  Kuva reflects on how the experience both leveraged and shifted her practices as a learning designer.

For those of you who may be finding the job market tough right now Jason has some great advice at the end of the episode about volunteering for projects to continue building your skills.

Episode Highlights

– How the Design Farm Collective combines people with different skills and domain backgrounds to lay foundations for change in organisations.

– The challenge of designing a contact strategy for a local bank seeking to sustain high quality relationships with their customer community while increasing their digital presence.

– Using design thinking and experiential learning practices to engage, enthuse and inspire people – shifting mindset, building skills and creating organisational change in the process

– The four-phase approach used on this 12-week project: prospect, sow, cultivate and harvest.

– Undertaking research in the prospect phase to gather and synthesise data, then fill the gaps.  Identifying a customer journeys to take into the sow phase.

– How the one-week design sprints were run during the sow phase to define the customer journeys.  Using, amongst other things, an idea factory, concept visuals and pitches.

– Why she describes herself as a ‘confused’ learning designer on the project.  Her role to build a learning experience throughout the design sprints and how she went about it.  Approaches she used including mindset warmups, gamification, daily reflection and transferring facilitation to the participants.

– Creating engagement, connection and courage – all in virtual spaces without any cameras.

– Kuva’s tips for being more creative as a learning designer

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Full Episode

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