Discover more from The L&D Dispatch
What is the purpose of sustainability training?
The Think, Feel, Say, Do framework can help us make an impact.
Most scoping workshops the Mind Tools Custom team run follow a predictable pattern. We ask our clients and subject matter experts what business goal or performance outcome they are hoping to achieve, and then we spend hours or days working together to define this.
It can take a long time because the initial ask is often quite vague. It might be a ‘new manager program’ or ‘coaching skills’.
We dig into why these are needed because, without a clearly defined problem to solve and an outcome to measure, it’s difficult to determine what the learning intervention should be.
Not so with sustainability training. The difficulty here is the opposite.
Increasingly, our clients are looking to create digital-learning content to help their organizations tackle climate change. When we ask what business outcome they want to achieve, they can answer this immediately. It might even be stated publicly, on their corporate website or in the press: They will be carbon neutral, net zero or carbon positive by a certain date.
Then we get to the next part of our process: ‘OK, what do you need people in your organization to do in order to achieve this goal?’
And this is where it gets tricky.
Often, there’s nothing that most colleagues can do. Climate targets are achieved through changing systems, procedures or infrastructure.
Individual behavior change is limited to relatively trivial actions like cycling to work (occasionally) or recycling (which can be better achieved with more bins, rather than training).
So should we abandon climate change training altogether?
A key question we ask during every scoping workshop is: What if we did nothing? Just forget about the project, and walk away.
With sustainability projects, the answers tend to be that no one will know the organization’s targets, they won’t know how to contribute, they will think it’s not important, or that the business doesn’t care.
These issues have a real-world impact. An organization’s environmental credentials have a key role to play in attracting and retaining talent.
The solution is not to fall into the content trap: ‘We need a course on sustainability, so let’s dump some information on people’.
Instead, we can use design thinking techniques like ‘Think, Feel, Say, Do’ to design our intervention.
With this technique, we maintain a focus on what we need learners to do - but we might recognize that this is different for different user segments. Someone who works in procurement will have more say over the impact of suppliers than someone who doesn’t. The environmental impact of decisions made by senior managers are likely to be greater than those made by more junior colleagues.
But we also focus on what we want colleagues to think, feel and say. If we want them to think ‘My organization cares about the environment’, we can structure the intervention to convey this message. If we want them to feel like they are making a difference, we might include stories that demonstrate how they are part of a bigger picture.
The key here is that an approach like this ensures that whatever we do end up producing is designed with an outcome in mind. A clear purpose.
Sustainability is a literal burning issue that our colleagues care about. Think, feel, do, say helps us create learning content that makes a difference.
Want help designing learning content that matters? Contact email@example.com or reply to this newsletter from your inbox.
🎧 On the podcast
Another common victim of the ‘content trap’ is the workplace presentation. Often treated as the default method of communicating a message to a wide audience, the mistake most people make when presenting is that they focus on the information they’re trying to get across, rather than what they want their audience to think, feel, do, or say.
In this week’s episode of the Mind Tools L&D Podcast, author and presentation coach Andrea Pacini explains:
‘The word I like to use is ‘transformation’. You don’t want to share information, you want to transform your audience. […] If, after your presentation, your audience doesn’t believe, feel, or do anything new or different, then you’ve wasted your time. And even worse, you’ve wasted theirs.’
Listen to the full episode here:
📖 Deep dive
Is ChatGPT getting worse?
A recent paper from researchers at Stanford and UC Berkeley studied the March 2023 and June 2023 versions of GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 on four different tasks: 1)solving math problems; 2)answering sensitive/dangerous questions; 3)generating code; 4)visual reasoning.
What the researchers found was that, over a relatively short period of time, the models’ abilities to perform these tasks varied markedly.
As an example, while the March 2023 version of GPT-4 was able to identify prime numbers with a high degree of accuracy (97.6%), the June 2023 version of the model performed poorly when given the same task (2.4%).
Why does this matter? Well, if you’re using LLMs like ChatGPT or Bard at work, it means that the prompts you rely on today may not be so effective tomorrow.
Chen, Lingjiao., Zaharia, Matei., Zou, James. (2023) How is ChatGPT's behavior changing over time?. arXiv.
👹 Missing links
In a bid to derive value from their physical offices, companies are using mandates to drive employees back to work. The argument in favor is that time spent together leads to better social connection and collaboration, but attrition rates for those companies are increasing and recruitment is becoming more difficult. Ultimately, employees favor choice and flexibility.
In Hollywood, actors and writers have been striking against the financial impact of AI and streaming platforms. So it’s an unfavourable time for Fable Studios to announce that they created an episode of South Park where they used AI to “write, animate, direct, voice [and] edit”. The results are a little static, but not 100 miles from the real thing!
Since this week’s newsletter is climate-themed, I thought I’d comment briefly on the Anthropocene: our current geological era, defined by the impact humans have had on shaping the world. Typically, these eras last millions of years and are based on clear delineations in rock. Such has been the impact of humans that the Antropocene began in the mid-20th century and might end imminently. It depends what actions we take now to delay the outcome.
👋 And finally…
This newsletter isn’t sponsored but, if it was, the obvious product to flog would be the ‘Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back™ Into the Carbon-Freezing™ Chamber Ornament With Light, Sound and Motion’.
Yes, it’s a Christmas tree decoration that plays out the iconic scene from The Empire Strikes Back.
Watch the video for the full effect.
Or hit reply to this email!
Hey here’s a thing! If you’ve reached all the way to the end of this newsletter, then you must really love it!
Why not share that love by hitting the button below, or just forward it to a friend?