This Summer we had the opportunity to do something extra during a training. Having a great group of participants in Cracow, together with my Polish business partner and certfied facilitator Klaudia Wojciechowska we introduced a drawing technique as a way of capturing the insights that participants develop.

One of the questions every facilitator gets in organizing a workshop for clients is: how do we keep the insights / results from a workshop. And one of the answers is always: we take photos and/or video the essential stories through our mobile.

So visuals are very related to the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method. Why visuals ? …That is easy. We know from a lot of publications and research over the last decades, that visuals:

  • help people to understand complexity better
  • to remember the information longer
  • to improve learning
  • and ask question more easily
  • give deeper insights when combining visuals with text and words

Refreshing my understanding at bit through looking at the science again, there are quite some debates. Do visuals really improve learning, create understanding, support memorizing …. which are obvious not the same things. How many people think visual or learn by visuals ? Is it 60% …less ? And as we know … thinking is not the same as learning. So what are the numbers that do us believe that visuals actually work ?

Let bring up a couple of known numbers:

  • People remember 10% of what they hear
  • 20% of what they read
  • 80% of what they do and se
  • Another number …people perform 323% better when following instructions combined with images, compared to those who only have instructions available.

While surfacing the internet of how visuals impact the learning experience in a workshop using LEGO SERIOUS PLAY, I realized that the numbers are very hard to get accurate. The best example to demonstrate this, is referring to the well-known Learning Pyramid of Edgar Dale …you probably have seen it somewhere. The Pyramid goes with great numbers on effective learning although the developer never put the numbers in it himself …the numbers where added later on a non-scientific bases. So, what do the numbers give us ?

Still … reading and seeing all the articles I realized two things.

  1. The scientific debate is very interesting, as well very specific and related to specific research topic.
  2. Coming from all these specific topics and research results, right or wrong, proven or not, all numbers show positive effects on the use of visuals for learning and understanding … and it does already for decades.

Back to our training in Cracow

On day 1 and 2 Klaudia drew some impressions of the training; about the method, the techniques, the exercises and the flow.

At the end of the second, after the training, we spent a few moments on some basic drawing techniques with the participants and created a few insights of how to use it during your workshops.

A few tips on that and some insights shared by Klaudia:

  • As a facilitator don’t try to facilitate and draw yourself at the same time. So, hire someone …
  • Most drawing artists are either good at the technique of making a drawing or .. they know how to capture the proces and group dynamics. What you want, is someone who can do both.
  • Introduce the artist at the beginning of your training and what he/she will do and why he/she is present. Know for a fact that having ‘strangers’ in the room influences your process with the participants.
  • Make sure that the artist does not disturb your group dynamics. He/she should have the competence of being invisible.
  • Although every observation is an observation seen through the eyes of the observer, the artist should be as observative (neutral) as possible. It is about recording … not interpreting.
  • Capturing the insights of a workshop helps participants to feel recognized, heard and seen, also after your workshop.
  • It is fun and playful and contributes to a good experience
  • The drawing (visual) contributes to the learning experience.

I can imagine you are curious of how this would work out in your workshop.

If you want to know more, I’m sure there are courses in your neighborhood as well. Just try an introduction course yourself and have that experience of enriching your skill set. And also ask yourself if and how it can contribute to capture insight from your workshops. And I know from experience … everyone can draw