Recently I have worked extensively in developing training programmes which encourage staff to reflect on their own behaviour and attitudes as a starting point for encouraging them as stakeholders to shape an organisation’s ethos and values. The use of video”vignettes” has been instrumental in making this engagement as open as possible.
The importance of video
Gone are the days when trainers have to rely solely on stand up and deliver, role plays or lengthy videos, which were often met with groans as we attempted to explore attitudes, behaviour and empathy. Digital media makes so many more approaches possible with blended learning solutions and an array of digital resources including training vignettes. These clips have the flexibility to be used in eLearning platforms and additionally in the ‘classroom’, either bought off the shelf, bespoke or grabbed from YouTube.
If you are a trainer/manager involved in the management of culture, values and organisational change then using film clips as a catalyst for reflection and learning is an efficient and interactive way of engaging with your target audience.
DIY or Ready Made?
Clips which are based on storytelling or scenarios around a credible reality based situation are the most effective at engaging staff. Creating your own clips is fun and ultimately rewarding but conversely time consuming, and unless you are engaging in a large scale training rollout or training which requires a very specific focus, it’s costly, resource intensive and time consuming. YouTube has some great stuff but the quality can be dubious and you’re lucky if you can find stories or scenarios.
I was working on this recent project with a large complex organisation so we developed a range of bespoke clips looking at equality, dignity and attitudes in the workplace and towards others. On other occasions we have used 3 or 5 minute videos from eltalking.com, which are scenarios for managers around difficult conversations at work.
The Spark for Discussion
Back to our behaviour and attitudes project; as you might imagine, at times there was resistance and discomfort confronting some of the issues raised through customer/employee complaints but once it became clear that the vignettes were merely a tool to discover what went wrong and what could be improved through reflecting on ‘others’ actions’ the discussions became relaxed and meaningful.
The idea wasn’t to have participants come up with the ‘right response’ but to allow them to start from where they were in a safe environment where everyone was respected and listened to. Of course it’s our job to make sure that appropriate ground rules are set because on occasion we have to manage sensitivities, conscience and controversy. Participants usually reflect and respond authentically to vignettes sometimes needing a little help from set questions to enable lively discussion, feelings and thoughts to emerge:
- What thoughts and feelings came up for you as you read/watched this vignette?
- What stands out for you about the interaction in this vignette?
- What assumptions or stereotypes seem to be at play here?
- Do you agree or disagree with the how the situation as responded to?
- How might you handle this situation?
By airing opinions in response to a ‘third party situation’ each individual has the chance to dig deep. We as trainers may be uncomfortable facilitating sessions which can lead initially to disagreement and argument but by appealing to each individual on an emotional level we provide the best starting point for organisational transformation and improvement.
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