Creating unexpected experiences online

When Covid hit, one of our biggest challenges as an organisation was transferring the more disruptive elements of our workshops online.

We often use disruptive learning techniques, (twists and turns in our courses) to keep participants entertained, curious or to create some form of emotional connection to the work we are doing. (Emotional connection to learning increases our ability to retain and recall what we have learned significantly).

Our co-designed workshops with Counterpoint Advisory were the perfect example of this disruption. Dr Katie Lamb contacted us at Serious Woo to develop moments of emotional connection to a workshop she had designed that was content and subject matter dense. Her Family Violence in the Workplace sessions are highly informative and very powerful and with Serious Woo adding actors to support the content emotionally – our face-to-face workshops deliver a perfect combination of experiential and informative.

And then Covid arrived. And we all went online.

Determined to bring this impactful experience to an online world, we set about discussing ways we could blend the content we delivered face-to-face into an online learning environment.

The challenges we faced were three-fold:

- One point of focus. Our workshops were designed to create information coming from multiple sources and directions. We needed to devise a way to deliver a highly emotive moment with only one person speaking at a time.


- Emotional Triggers. As we are not physically in a space with people, we needed to be more aware of the balance between creating an emotional connection to the content but not triggering participants.


- Learning Objective. Performance is powerful, but in an online environment, where much of the nuance is lost, if there is not a clear learning objective from the interaction – the moment becomes irrelevant.


Rather than shirk the challenge, we spent time experimenting and playing with concepts to develop a scenario that could cross screens and create enough emotional connection to launch the deep learning of content.


An opportunity arose for us to present to NAWO – (National Association of Women in Operations) in a one-hour presentation of Family Violence in the Workplace. A perfect platform to launch our new scenario.

Katie’s presentation was interrupted at the 10-minute mark with a live, surprise depiction of family violence (although we chose to use verbal power and control rather than actual violence). This unexpected interruption created a bout of emotional contagion for participants who were unaware they were watching ‘actors’. Once we broke the fourth wall (which we did very quickly in order to prevent any triggering) the feeling across the screen was electric. We had engaged our participants emotionally and used this experience as a springboard for them to divide into breakout rooms and discuss what they would do if they had witnessed such a scene in their workplace.


With Katie on hand to assist any triggered participants and the learning objective well and truly conquered - we succeeded in creating an emotional journey for participants even in their own lounge room.


Oh - and how did we manage to split the focus? Well……. We don’t want to give away all our secrets now do we?


NAWO has kindly shared the workshop with us, which can be found here.

If your organisation is interested in learning more about the Family Violence in the Workplace workshop contact Dr Katie Lamb at Counterpoint Advisory.


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Victoria, Australia

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