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The Day Roger Schank Blew my Mind

While working in the Training & Documentation group at a large telecom company, I attended the 2000 Online Learning Conference to find out what was new in online media.

Somehow, I stumbled into a standing-room only presentation being given by Roger Schank. I wasn’t aware of who he was at the time, but his presentation was talking about using video in training.

The Scenario

In the video clip that he showed, we see a young social worker/psychologist - played by you (indicated by first-person POV). You are given a case to review (for a 13-yr old boy) and you must do your homework properly because you will have to present your assessment to the boy’s mother the next day.

Well, as it turns out, you didn’t do such a great job at reviewing the available data and reaching the proper diagnosis…but you don’t know that…YET. The next day arrives and you sit down with the mother to begin your assessment.

The Reaction

The meeting is going smooth until you state your "official" diagnosis of the son. As soon as that diagnosis come out of your mouth, the mother becomes completely irate, stands up and literally gets in your (POV) face. She is screaming at you, telling you that you don't know what you are talking about.

As soon as that happened, I caught myself physically moving away from the screen to escape the mother. What the heck!? This training video had generated an emotional and physical reaction in me - and that was the point! And oh, what a powerful point.

The Application

This blog is all about helping you deliver experiences that are engaging, memorable and unexpected.

That Roger Schank moment is one I have never forgotten.

It showed me what is possible when we deliver an unexpected experience.

It showed me that it is possible to engage our training audiences at an emotional level.

It’s a power we can wield wisely as we develop our training experiences.

There is power in emotion, as Schank demonstrated in his video.

Are you engaging your audiences emotionally? If so, how are you doing it? Need some help? Contact me today!

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