Our client’s goal was to create a more positive feedback experience within the company.
Cognitive Neuroscience Phase
We started by researching studies on feedback. We learned from science that we should leave emotions out, stick to the facts, and just tell them what they’ve done as far as the impact on the organization.
Next, we looked into research on changing human behavior. The Adkar Model of Behavioral Change states that we must generate awareness about the change that needs to take place, create the desire to change, provide learners with the knowledge of how to change, give them the opportunity to demonstrate or practice the change in real life, and finally that we need to reinforce the change so learners don’t fall back into old behavior.
We had a framework for our course content: To teach managers how to give employees positive feedback using the Adkar Model.
First, we needed to connect with our particular audience. In this phase, we needed to observe and collect data about the organization ourselves (since we were consulting in this case),) so that we could build our course with intention (conversely, the organization provides that data for us if we aren’t consulting). Through our methods we learned a few key issues:
- People in the company had resigned based on conflicts with managers.
- Internal user analytics told us that most of the learners loved mobile learning.
- Employees also reported reluctance to interrupt their working day in order to take courses.
Based on the audience’s challenges, likes, dislikes, and motivations, we made a blueprint for our learning experience: a communication model to help managers organize their thoughts while giving feedback.
We wanted to test these solutions by building rapid prototypes before we got into designing for appeal. Once we found that something worked, we would design and build the course. If our test failed to provide the results we wanted, we would go back to our cognitive research and intent to dig deeper. Test your solution before execution!
Good news! Our prototype met our goals. Now we could move forward to designing the experience. What we knew about this audience and their environment was that they would be difficult to engage and delight, as they were in a negative space about feedback.
That meant the first task was to create a PR campaign around feedback so people would look at it more positively. For appeal, we used our storytelling principles to reframe feedback in order to make people more curious, excited, or even joyful at the possibility of positive feedback. We also created a story behind their new four-part feedback model: a mystic adventurer collecting magical powers that, when used correctly, made that character unstoppable!
As for the course, our learners were experiencing friction to learn, so to reduce that discomfort, we created an advertising campaign that we posted regularly on the company intranet, in the employees’ social feed. Users viewed colorful, engaging tips about positive feedback and wanted to click on each post for the full mobile-friendly module.
Managers also acted out scenarios with instructors, practicing the things they’d learned from the modules. We measured the success of the campaign based on anecdotal evidence, surveys, and social media marketing metrics, such as click-throughs and time spent on the page.
That’s how the Neurolearning Design process works. By applying the Neurolearning Design model of cognitive science, intent, and appeal, we created a custom learning experience that delighted our learners and changed the company culture.
Greg Kozera is the Director of Creative Learning Design here at ELM. He helps fortune 500’s implement effective digital learning strategies that help in creating outcomes that achieve business objectives. He also leads research & development at ELM, where we experiment with combining insights from modern cognitive theory and design theory to create learning experiences that aid in memory retention, positively affect learner outcomes, and dare we say also be entertaining, and intuitive, and appealing.