As my group of delegates dashed around the room collecting bits of Minifigures and rummaging through the pots of accessories to work out which best suited their style of management, I grinned to myself. I'd invented such a great activity, why weren't any of my peers using LEGO® in their learning sessions too?
I took to social media to share (after all that's what we do in Learning and Development... We share.) I announced to the world I'd come up with a great activity using LEGO® and everyone should try it.
Turns out, many people already had!
After a short period of slight dejection (I wasn't the genius I thought I was!) I realised this was actually a good thing. More people, means more ideas! So, I went on a hunt to find out more and that's when I realised it. There were vast communities, all over the world, all talking about and successfully using LEGO® in their sessions!
But these people were all talking about something called LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® (LSP)... And this LSP seemed to come with rules and certifications and rather more seriousness than play. So, I simply carried on with my own version and found myself calling it ‘Learning with LEGO®’ instead.
Fast-forward 5 years and I’ve created and hosted many of my own LEGO® activities, but I’ve also learnt an awful lot more about LSP and have become much more comfortable with my relationship with LEGO® and when to call it LSP and when to call it Learning with LEGO®.
So, what are the fine lines between Lego® Serious Play® and Learning with LEGO®?
Do you have to be certified to host Lego® Serious Play®?
In a nutshell... No! This was very confusing for me when I first found out about LSP. I have many professional qualifications in L&D and thinking that I had to spend a couple of grand to call myself qualified to use something I was already using, was a big turn off. Then, I found out that when LEGO® first rolled this out, they did indeed run certifications. BUT, in 2010 they made the whole thing open source, meaning anyone can run a LSP session if they follow these guidelines.
So why are their certification courses for LSP? Having looked at a few of these courses, it looks like they are focusing on facilitation skills with the LSP methodologies as the underpinning focus. I’m not knocking doing a course and having hands on experience of learning new activities, but you don’t have to be certified in it to host a LSP event, you do however have to know how to facilitate well.
Where can I find information about Lego® Serious Play® and Learning with LEGO®
Whether you are going to host an LSP session, or a session that uses LEGO® activities, reading the Open-Source guide is really helpful to understand the difference between the two. It also gives you some good techniques in using LEGO® in your learning. But remember at the end of the day, an event should be about the learner, not about the LEGO®. It is simply one of the many props and processes you can use to help learners achieve their goals, so I’d strongly recommend further reading on the latest research around learning too. (I'd also recommend reading the great articles in the LSP Connect Magazine - It's free too!)
Or, if you're interested in learning more about using LEGO® based activities in your training, facilitation, or coaching then check out the Learning with LEGO online course there are 26 Lego activity, all with video demonstrations, worksheets and shopping lists!
So, why Use Lego® in Your Training, Facilitation, or Coaching Session?
The process of making something, which is then discussed, can lead to much more valuable, insightful and honest discussions than simply posing a question and expecting everyone to have an input. Imagine using this in your training, facilitation or coaching sessions, where normally quieter participants often don't share their inner thoughts, and extroverted participants forget to reflect!
I often use LEGO® activities as discussion starters often flowing into other L&D methods to continue the learning to an outcome. Like any other activity in Learning, LEGO® is simply a prop to aid discussion. As such, it still needs to be considered with the topic and audience to ensure it’s the right thing to use.
All-in-all, I like the idea of LSP, but I love Learning & Development more. Me, my Minifigures and accessories have a special bond and whether I invented the activity or not, it remains one of the best discussion openers I’ve come across and will be enjoying using LEGO® for many years to come.
CLICK HERE to check out Free resource on Lego activities
Learning doesn't just happen in a training session. It happens all around us! Follow my ramblings and continue to see the world in a different light!