Games . . . they can be engaging, even addicting. What about the game of life? How engaged are you in this most important of all games?
That's a question we've been captivated by for a good portion of our lives . . . separately . . . even before we knew each other. And another question always accompanied that query . . . how could we help people understand how to play the game of life more effectively?
Well, it’s been a year and half since we met on the gameboard of life . . . it was at a community event. We shared ideas . . and then struck up a great friendship. Next, came a book that seemed to write itself, Thriving in Business and Life. That book morphed into a corporate training program that we are now sharing in organizations throughout the U.S. and South America.
Now, less than a year after the book’s release, the work we were inspired to initiate is becoming an online learning game of self-mastery for leaders.
It’s been quite a discovery process.
For the past few months we’ve been writing, editing, recording, more editing . . . all towards releasing an online educational program based on our book. As we refocused our original 17 chapters into 12 essential practices, we realized that for years—probably decades actually—most adult learning models have been based on a profoundly different learning paradigm than the one we’re evolving in our new program.
Our new model has three phases: Learn it, imagine it, live it.
Other educational models certainly focus on the first stage, “learn it.” As for the last stage, “live it,” while all serious trainers and educators certainly hope that participants put their learning into practice, few programs have a systematic process for ensuring this. Those programs that do have a method for integrating conceptual learning into a participant’s day-to-day experience, have markedly improved results.
Realizing this—and having had a hand in helping a number of our clients to institute processes for turning learning concepts into integrated practices—we set out to build an online training system that transforms conceptual learning into real-world application.
One way that we have done this is to build a middle stage between “learn it” and “live it.” We call that phase, “imagine it.”
The “imagine it” phase involves leading participants through guided simulations where they visualize how they’ll apply that module’s learning points into specific situations they’re facing in their day-to-day life. Why do we do this?
For several decades, athletes of all varieties, as well as entertainers and performance artists, have utilized their imaginations to visualize their accomplishments ahead of time. Brain scientists have learned this works because when we imagine doing something, our brains build the neural pathways of performance as if we were actually doing it.
In our soon-to-be-released learning game, we also address another challenge traditional training often overlooks—advance troubleshooting. In other words, before we invite participants to step out into the 3-D world with their new practice, we provide them with a number of “what-if” scenarios regarding things that could go wrong as they implement their new learning.
In addition to the “learn it," and "imagine it" stages, our new online course takes yet another interesting turn.
We’ve actually turned the training into a “full-immersion game.”
What’s that mean?
This is where the "live it" phase kicks in. Participants will take on a weekly Game Challenge that they will play during the course of their regular activities. This is fundamentally different from games where you place your life on hold while you play. And, of course, since this is a learning game, you play by applying each week’s principles into situations you encounter in your real life.
Each of our learning game’s twelve modules comes with a Game Challenge, which means that the “learn it” phase is focused on preparing participants for that challenge. We believe this approach will make a huge difference.
First, in terms of the intensity with which participants consider the material presented each week (because the challenge will be to apply the concepts that week). And then there’s the element of the challenge itself and the fun of competing against yourself. We’ll also be encouraging people to play in groups, teams, and with other friends, family members, or cohorts to increase the game’s fun and effectiveness quotient.
We believe that merely teaching theory and then hoping that participants will apply what they learn, isn’t enough. Instead, our own research, experimentation, and practice has shown us that it’s much more effective to bundle together the learning, the imaginal practice, and the application right within one integrated program.
We have high hopes for our new learning game, which should launch in beta form in late October. If you'd like to stay up to date with our Thriving Game's progress and latest developments, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s your thriving challenge for the week:
Pick a new skill you would like to learn.
Study materials that help you understand how and why it works.
Imagine what it will be like when you’ve mastered this new skill.
Practice what you are learning and connect with others
to sample what they’ve learned.
Christopher Harding and Will Wilkinson