Play-Based Learning Can Drive Positive Behavioral Change
Learn how having fun and design can unlock staff potential from IAAPA Virtual Expo: Asia Show Daily
By James Careless
Motivating employees is no easy task, but finding positive ways to gain employee buy-in to behavioral change can deliver long-lasting improvements.
In the IAAPA Virtual Expo: Asia session, “Explore How Training Can be Fun: Influencing Positive Behavioral Change Through Play-Based Learning,” Brian Tang provided concrete ideas about winning such employee buy-in through play-based learning methods such as Lego Serious Play. Tang is the founder and chief Ding officer of Ding Maker International Consulting Limited. He is a certified facilitator/licensed trainer in the Lego Serious Play Method, an interactive play-based communication and problem-solving tool that uses Lego bricks and brick building.
When it comes to training sessions where employees have exhibited improved work behaviors afterwards, “my experience told me it is something that has to do with the staff's thoughts and feelings,” Tang told attendees. For positive behavioral change to occur, “they must have some change in their thoughts and feelings” first.
This is why Tang has his trainees build toys and scenes using Lego bricks. These are not random assignments: The toys/scenes they build describe each trainee’s strongest qualities at work, their aspirations in the workplace, and the resources/support that would help them achieve these aspirations.
A fourth assignment has the trainees use Lego to make gifts for another employee in the room that they admire, to express their appreciation for that person. In this way, Tang uses Lego to help his trainees express their thoughts and feelings, share them with others in the group, and potentially change their own behaviors through self-discovery and self-reflection.
“They all love these activities,” he said, “especially the gifts, because how often do you get to receive some appreciation from colleagues at work?”
Tang described other useful group training tools during his session. They include the “Johari Window,” in which employees use a square evenly divided into four quadrants like window panes to disclose their Open, Hidden, Blind, and Unknown characteristics to others. (Of course, by sharing such items with others, what was Hidden is now Open to others.)
The end goal of these and other play-based exercises is to help employees know and understand each other better, which Tang says leads to enhanced collaboration. It also builds trust among the employees, because “I know so much more about you on a personal level,” he explained. “You also know me on a personal level. I now can trust you better.”
“When everybody does this, the team bonding gets so much stronger,” Tang continued. “This is what I call ‘a change of thoughts and feelings.’”