* Target Group of Learners: The mothers of orphans who receive support from the Jubail Orphan Association
* Number of Learners: 15 Ladies
* Duration of the Program: 12 hours distributed over 3 weeks; 2 days each
*Description of the eXperience: Motivating, Inspiring, Awareness Raising, Fun, Exploratory, Educational, Scientific, Active Deep Learner eXperience.
How Did Our Journey Begin?
Once we were called to serve the mission of designing and facilitating a learning journey, we expressed a strong desire to apply FIRST-ADLX Framework, document the experience, and submit it to the designers and supervisors who work on developing FIRST-ADLX practitioners and facilitators.
We were looking forward to implementing FIRST-ADLX Framework in one specific organization so we sent a private invitation card to their program supervisor. Our main goal was to show the effectiveness of FIRST-ADLX Framework and demonstrate its practicality, reliability, and validity in creating an Active Deep Learner eXperience and fostering positive change in the participants’ future performance.
Our efforts were well-received by the program supervisor who was greatly impressed by the framework and volunteered to convince her executive manager of the importance of considering our offer. We held a set of formal meetings with their program supervisor, social service specialist, volunteer coordinator, and media consultant.
In our meetings, we discussed the most common barriers faced by the target learners to conclude that our target learners suffer from extreme shyness, fear, hesitation, loss of self-confidence, reluctance to socialize, communicate, or discuss their feelings, which negatively affected their ability to benefit from any previous learning journeys and hindered learning. Identifying common barriers and realizing the importance of boosting the mothers’ self-esteem due to its direct impact on the orphans’ personalities, we created a learner eXperience whose main objective is promoting the participants’ self-confidence.
However, choosing the topic was not enough to launch the eXperience. We needed a licensed training center where we could facilitate the learning journey without waiting for the ministry’s official approval would probably take more than three months. Fortunately, we were able to find a licensed training center whose team showed interest in our learning journey and the adopted framework, FIRST-ADLX Framework. We worked together to schedule the event, choose a time and place, advertise the journey, and help different candidates to register. Thirty-five candidates showed interest in joining our journey, but we didn’t have space for more than sixteen mothers. Consequently, we chose sixteen participants and invited them to fill out a survey in a trial to understand the learners’ persona so that we could better design a journey that addresses their needs. It is worth mentioning that only ten out of sixteen participants filled out the survey.
How Did We Implement The Domains and Principles of FIRST-ADLX?
To create an Active Deep Learner eXperience, the domains, and principles of FIRST-ADLX Framework were applied as follows:
Focusing on the Learner Behaviors Domain
To apply “Individualization”, the following actions were taken:
● Each learner was contacted privately through the journey’s different stages to discuss the content, address specific needs, or overcome any possible challenges.
● Each learner was addressed by name and encouraged to participate in various activities. To ensure no names were forgotten, the participants’ names were written on large cards and placed in front of them.
● Each learner’s name was inscribed on their personal enrichment booklet, a resource designed to support their learning journey.
● Personalized motivational cards were created for each learner, featuring inspiring quotes about self-confidence alongside their name. Some cards contained a universal message, while others were customized to address each individual’s unique strengths and areas for growth.
Probing and Assessing
To probe and assess learners, a set of actions was implemented:
● Simple deep thought-provoking questions were asked to trigger thinking, and learners were encouraged to share their personal real-life experiences that are relevant to the topic.
● Group discussions were facilitated, learners were monitored, and examples were pulled whether while talking about the concepts of self-confidence, sharing real-life stories, or discussing the relationship between self-management and self-confidence.
● Learners were invited to share and write about their emotions while preparing for the third day of the journey. They were also invited to share three steps they plan to take in order to increase their self-confidence.
Trust the Learner
Learners were trusted and were provided with various opportunities to share their experiences and expectations, which were utilized to enhance our discussions. For instance, when one of the learners mentioned a rose she got as a gift from her daughter, the story was used to show that the smallest gifts can be mood boosters to happiness if we think positively. Developing a positive mindset improves life satisfaction and increases happiness. Another learner spoke about challenging oneself and standing up to the negative messages that come from people around us. The story inspired a discussion about how to resist negative opinions by focusing on personal growth and development. Only then can we prevent such negative talks from affecting our thoughts and emotions. In addition to building upon their stories, we demonstrated a keen interest in their participation, encouraged their interaction, and highlighted their added value. In response to the rubric of self-confidence, skills, and qualifications, one of the learners conducted research closely related to the topic, and she was invited to share her findings with others. She took the lead and presented her findings in relation to the concepts included in the rubric.
Interacting within Positive Group Dynamics Domain
Learners worked in different groups (in pairs, in groups of three, and in groups of five). To increase interaction, groups were mixed from time to time, and the journey’s content was divided and distributed among them. Each group was invited to go through their assigned content, discuss it, clarify any ambiguities, and create real-life scenarios to act it out. Afterward, the groups exchanged their findings with each other, giving every group the opportunity to share their insights. These same steps were implemented to achieve a skill-learning outcome (trust yourself) and a knowledge-learning outcome (what can you do to gain this skill?).
Positive spirit, smiling, and a gentle and appropriate sense of humor were incorporated into our learning journey as well. In one of the activities, the samosa filling was substituted with unusual ingredients to demonstrate how substituting our negative, inherited, subconscious beliefs with positive ones can foster self-forgiveness, self-acceptance, and self-management.
One of the learners invented an interesting filling for the samosas, so to provoke laughter and amusement, we would ask her to prepare the dish for us at every meeting. Surprisingly, she prepared her delicious dish on the last day and enjoyed it with us.
Motivation and Attention
A significant difference was observed in the level of interaction among learners between the first and last day, with a noticeable increase in their degree of engagement by the end of the journey. This was evidenced by the feedback provided by the learners themselves and the employees of the association who were present throughout the journey. The learners’ positive interaction, communication, and collaboration were evident in their discussions, performance, and encouragement of one another. As a facilitator, I was extremely pleased to witness their full engagement in different activities.
Reviewing Activities Within RAR Domain
To increase the learners’ readiness, we distributed all the necessary tools to carry out the activities, provided clear and simple instructions, and divided the groups fast. These actions were taken before taking the self-confidence survey, filling out the self-esteem survey, and creating a mindmap to summarize the content of the journey.
During the activities, we monitored our learners, facilitated their work, provided support and assistance, clarified ambiguities, and made sure they understood what to do. Learners were encouraged to choose the first answer that comes to mind for no answer is wrong as it reflects real-life decisions.
Learners actively reviewed their learning in various settings. They were encouraged to reflect on what they had learnt, share their feelings, exchange relevant experiences, and discuss how to apply the lessons they had learnt. In one of the RAR activities, learners were offered a free ticket and a stay at a luxury hotel. Then, they were asked to answer the question, “What will you pack in your suitcase to enjoy this trip and why?”
In groups, learners discussed the question and found the link between this trip and life. They came to the conclusion that it’s important to bring along things that bring us joy in life, just as we do when we go on short trips. During the discussion, we pinpointed the items necessary for a pleasurable trip and those required to enhance self-confidence in daily life.
Learners were also invited to focus on their self-confidence, discuss its characteristics in groups, and utilize at least three of these traits to complete the sentence that follows:
I enjoyed ——————, and now I choose to be —————– .
Sequencing within Session Flow Domain
Structuring and Sequencing
We arranged the activities to flow smoothly, implementing various activities of different energy levels. At the end of each day, we used a timeline to organize the day’s activities and concepts. We also utilized mind maps to visualize the relationship between the main concepts and their details.
Repetition without Boredom
To stimulate and energize the learners, increase joy, and help them connect and internalize the different levels of the trust system, which was the main focus of the learning journey, we repeated the concept through various hand gestures and signals, along with a jump in the air. Learners were enthusiastically engaged in the repetition of the trust system without experiencing boredom.
Linking and Summarizing
To facilitate easy recall and connections between concepts, a combination of images and phrases were utilized. For example, participants were able to link the machine used for measuring pressure and blood sugar, its displayed results, and the recommended solutions for unfavorable outcomes to the concept of measuring confidence levels and providing solutions for each potential outcome. Learners were also encouraged to summarize the concept in a sentence and express their feelings about it. A video presentation was utilized to showcase multiple concepts learned throughout the journey. The video delved into how the mind perceives ideas and the effects their quality can have on mental and physical well-being. It also explored how ideas are filtered, positive ones are embraced, and the ways in which ideas can influence one’s speech and actions, ultimately leading to the formation of habits. These habits can, in turn, affect one’s personality, level of self-confidence, and ability to manage and control them. Following the video presentation, learners were encouraged to reflect on its relevance to their own learning journey, find the link, draw connections, and summarize the key lessons learned.
As a component of the self-knowledge unit, learners got engaged in a role-playing exercise that involved conducting interviews with celebrities to gain insight into their character. This activity aimed to help learners connect prior knowledge and strengthen their desire to understand themselves. Subsequently, learners were engaged in the “Write Everything You Know About Yourself” activity, which was designed to assist them in summarizing their ideas and linking concepts in a coherent manner. The activity was presented with clear instructions on its purpose, duration, conditions, and requirements. The concept of self-knowledge was also integrated into the overall concept map of the trust system to aid in linking and summarizing ideas. At the end of the journey, the learners worked in groups and created mind maps encompassing the concepts learnt throughout the days. Each group presented their maps, shared what they had learnt, reflected on their eXperiences, and provided positive constructive feedback. As the main facilitator, I was greatly impressed by what they said about the journey’s impact on their ideas, opinions, feelings, thoughts, and performance. The employees who were present were also impressed by the learners’ presentations and their reflections on the journey’s impact.
Reflections and General Observations
● Ever since I learned the domains and principles of FIRST-ADLX Framework, I have been more enthusiastic and passionate about designing and facilitating new learning journeys or Learner eXperiences.
● I felt a positive energy and a high level of enthusiasm throughout the journey, which carried over to the learning environment and the learners.
● Receiving the learners’ feedback about the journey filled me with joy.
● It was heartening to see how committed the learners were to attending the journey. They made sure not to miss any day, and some even arrived early each day.
● By the end of the journey, the learners had obviously developed a strong sense of pleasure, joy, and connection with one another.
● I was moved by one learner’s emotional response on the last day of the journey. She was so affected that she cried while saying goodbye to me, which also brought tears to my eyes.
● The farewell for some of the learners was truly wonderful and surprising, and it delighted everyone involved.
● The learners’ feedback messages conveyed gratitude and appreciation for the knowledge and self-discovery they gained during the journey.
● I am grateful to Allah for giving me the chance to learn the domains and principles of FIRST-ADLX Framework.
● I believe that incorporating the domains and principles of FIRST-ADLX Framework into any learning journey is enjoyable and rewarding, yet it requires diligence, continuous practice, and a commitment to improving mastery.
About The Writer
Manal Amboun is a professional consultant specializing in establishing volunteer units in accordance with national standards within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Edamah program at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. She is also a certified trainer accredited by the General Organization for Technical Training in administration and self-development. In addition, Manal is an ICF-approved self-discovery coach with over 15 years of diverse experience in business administration and 10 years of experience teaching kindergarten and preschool students. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from King Faisal University and a Human Resources Diploma approved by the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation. Manal is based in Jubail Industrial City, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.