For many people the classic use of drama-based learning is the training film. People are now increasingly questioning of the value of such films to really transform behaviour. It is the same problem that e-learning has when it comes to soft skills development: it’s just plain difficult learning these things by watching a screen.
Despite this challenge, Maynard Leigh produced two films for Willis as part of a change process to improve the way people manage performance. These films are used alongside development programmes on the topic, and given the the worldwide nature of the Willis network, they allow the message to spread to places that L&D can't reach.
Willis came to Maynard Leigh with a challenge. How can we make these films engaging to audiences who don't have a tradition of learning and development? We were warned this would be a tough audience - and a diverse one - as the films would be used all over the world.
Willis wanted to effectively teach their employees best practice for certain L&D scenarios - for example, how to run a coaching session to model behaviour. Coaching can be a very private experience and therefore it is often impossible for people to watch and follow a set structure. Their coaching model was designed specifically by their Group Head of Talent Management and OD, Ronny Vansteenkiste, who played a major part in conceptualising the project.
We worked closely with the talent department to devise concepts and scripts for training videos. Although tightly scripted, the scenes needed to feel natural and recognisable to staff – in short to look totally authentic.
These films were used across multiple learning channels - as internal resources, as part of leadership briefings, and in management development programmes. Recently in the US, they were shown as part of training to illustrate how leaders can support change, where one participant told Ronny directly, "That's what I need in my office."
It was interesting to note that in the age of YouTube, the need for Ronny's team to write and create the film internally was due to a complete dearth of good material available online. Most of the films they had found were either incredibly specific, or not effective enough. Creating a bespoke solution meant that they could spread their message internally while managing the breadth of the content efficiently.