When I first heard of Learning Battle Cards (LBC), the product piqued my curiosity. Any strategy that inserts discovery and creativity into the learning and development process is worth exploring. I finally had an opportunity to review the cards and to discuss them with Jakub Żurawiński, Business Development Manager for the Learning Battle Group. Note: There is now a second edition of the Learning Battle Cards deck.
If you’ve been wondering about Learning Battle Cards or if you are looking for ways to inspire your team, read on. These cards might provide the boost you need.
Connie: What is new in the 2nd edition?
Jakub: The 2nd edition of the Learning Battle cards deck has some novel features. There is a QR-code placed on each card to bring some contextual dynamic content. One can grab a smartphone and scan the code to get additional information about the method represented by the card.
The infographic back of the card was redesigned for more clarity. Indicators showing in what stages the method is recommended by practitioners are now in the shape of the LBC Canvas vertical and horizontal areas. Also, the box was redesigned for more durability and a better look.
Connie: How are the Learning Battle Cards intended to be used?
Jakub: The most common uses for the Learning Battle Cards are as a tool that lets you:
- Explore varied learning methods to broaden your portfolio of strategies for learning and development.
- Educate others—such as clients, stakeholders and workshop participants—on various learning methods.
- Use a tangible tool to brainstorm with your team or a client to generate varied solutions for a learning problem.
Of course, we do not put any limitations on how people use the cards. It depends on the context and your particular needs. For example, we know that in France one of our distributors uses the LBC deck during strategic design workshops prior to development. He acts as an intermediary between the training company and the principal company, using the cards to clarify the meaning of planned activities.
Connie: What can a person expect to get inside a pack of Learning Battle Cards?
Jakub: The box of Learning Battle Cards contains 108 poker-sized cards representing various learning approaches. There is also a small booklet briefly explaining what the cards are all about.
Connie: Can you explain how you’ve designed the information on the cards? Let’s start with the face of the card.
Jakub: The face of the card provides the definition of the learning approach represented by the card. (The example shown to the right is Back Channel.) In the card header, users will find the acronym for the card. They will also find the name of the method and an icon to represent the category of the learning approach. People tend to use the acronym because it is easier and faster.
Beneath the header is a tag cloud defining the learning approach with several key words. The tag cloud is based on the wisdom of the crowd. We asked people from the industry to recommend key words associated with the methods and these were consolidated into tag cloud visuals.
Connie: The back of each card is packed with information. What does it all mean?
Jakub: The back of the card provides detailed information about the learning approach. In the top-right corner we mapped the learning approach to the 7 Windows of Instructional Design model (Analysis, Awareness, Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes, Implementation and Measurement).
In the middle part of the card, we’ve mapped the learning approach to various kinds of learning delivery. For example, the Back Channel method maps to self-learning, asynchronous and informal.
The bottom of the card shows five Power Bars. These indicate the strength of this learning approach from three perspectives: 1) the educator and instructional designer, 2) the process and 3) the trainee.
Connie: What is the most unusual or impressive result you’ve seen from using the cards?
Jakub: The most impressive result is the “eureka” effect when L&D professionals discover that their typical approach to certain problems can be solved more effectively with less obvious means. Moreover, users are thrilled to discover that there are actually many more approaches to learning than they realized.
The interesting thing is that particular methods are used more often—and are considered as standard—in one part of the world and not in others. Because LBC are used by professionals in over 50 countries, we try to stay in touch with as many of our users as possible. This gives us valuable insights into how learning processes are defined and designed there. It’s a positive sign that people use the tools in ways and contexts we never anticipated.
Connie: Do you see a relationship between using the cards and increased creativity?
Jakub: This is actually the main effect we observe, especially during the workshops we provide on LBC tools and methods. While working on real life cases in our workshops, participants generate new ideas that are different than what they initially had in mind. Quite often, they select less traditional learning approaches that seem to be a better solution. The biggest effect of using the cards is that people start to challenge the status quo.
Connie: How could I use the cards in my Design Thinking workshops? Any ideas?
Jakub: One idea is to have participants create a Learning Portfolio. They select learning approaches and tools from the Learning Battle Cards to consider while designing a learning journey. During brainstorming, participants discuss the feasibility of using specific learning methods for a solution. During the second step of this exercise, users discuss the pool of the best learning methods in terms of the learning context, cost versus value relationships and other aspects.
Connie: Do you suggest using the cards in conjunction with other tools?
Jakub: The obvious combination would be to use the cards with our LBC Canvas. This is a brainstorming tool which is based on the 7 Windows of Instructional Design framework. The Canvas correlates directly with the stages of the development process indicated on the cards. We’ve designed smaller LBC Tokens to use with the Canvas. The tokens represent the acronyms used on the cards to save space. Altogether, the tools form a coherent and complete ecosystem for L&D professionals. It opens their eyes to a whole variety of available learning methods.
Here’s where you can find out more about the Learning Battle Cards.