Gentle Bamboo Solutions

The GPS Series (4 of 6 – Why you should Socialise Learning)

[Rakshith Bhagavath, my partner, has written the email for this entire week. You’ll love the series, I’m sure. Follow along, and let me know what you feel about this mail and the ones that follow till this Saturday]


If you’ve ever been in an office elevator where you and every other stranger with you studiously avoid making eye contact with each other, you might not believe that humans are generally social animals. And as Malcolm Knowles indicates in one of his Adult Learning Principles, we learn by sharing.

In the 1960s Albert Bandura and his team studied the effects of social learning by monitoring the behaviour of children interacting with Bobo, a child-sized doll. One group of kids saw an adult model punching and kicking the doll and the other group saw them ignoring the doll. The control group was not exposed to an adult model. When invited to play with the doll themselves, children from the ‘aggressive model’ group behaved more aggressively towards the doll than the other groups. It showed that the children learnt from what they saw.

In fact, a widely used model in learning design is the 70:20:10 model which suggests that as much as 70% of all learning happens through experience and 20% from conversations with colleagues and friends. Now, imagine if we could harness all the experience of the learners in the room and get them to share that with each other. In effect, that would facilitate wonderful cross-pollination of ideas which is the root for innovation in companies.

So how can we get people to work in teams and as a team? Here are 5 ways:

  1. Competition: A situation where players or teams must defeat of perform better than another player to progress. Instinctively, we all love competition. Creating a healthy competitive environment in your training program among teams can be intrinsically motivating for learners.
  2. Collaboration: A situation where players and teams need the help of other to progress. One of our most acclaimed programs is a game-based program individuals must come together, form teams, and make collaborative decisions to stop a pandemic from spreading around the world. In playing the game, they learn to balance individual goals with team goals.
  3. Trading: Players collect in-game items they may keep, leverage to acquire other items or experiences, or trade for items or experiences. In yet another game based program we run called The Heist, learners in teams work with each other to solve problems creatively. Each team that solves a problem first successfully “steals” an item that they can trade as leverage with other teams to solve more complex problems.
  4. Sharing: We usually run a simple game in most of our programs called Bingo which uses a competitive sharing mechanic. We use it as a way to frequently check in with participants on their key takeaways from the program at different intervals.
  5. Exploration: Players examine the learning environment to uncover learning content and experiences. We run a game in our ‘Communication’ and ‘Attention to Detail’ sessions called Code Purple in which learners have to explore a bomb defusing manual and figure out how to defuse a bomb in limited time.

So next time you are doing a training, consider using the power of socialisation. Build your fam!

Building my fam,