Implementing FIRST-ADLX Framework in a Learning Session about Self-Awareness using DISC Model
An Impact Story by Ms. Walaa El Zahabi
Meet the Writer
Ms. Walaa El Zahabi , from Giza, Egypt, has more than 7 years of expertise as an instructional designer and operational trainer, specializing in soft skills and entrepreneurship. In addition to her role as a psychological counselor, she is a group therapy facilitator and a podcaster. Ms. Walaa is a Learning and Development Sr. Consultant, who has designed and implemented many training programs. Ms. Walaa is dedicated to empowering both organizations and individuals to reach their full potential through impactful Learner eXperiences.
Being a dedicated facilitator and designer who has previously designed and conducted many training program, in addition to having experienced the domains of FIRST-ADLX, it was time to design a learner eXperience that smoothly integrated the five domains of FIRST- ADLX Framework, resulting in an Active Deep Learner eXperience. Centered around the theme of self-awareness, specifically using the DiSC model, the learning journey started with two asynchronous activities. The first involved an interactive article demonstrating the tools and models associated with self-awareness, while the second comprised the completion of the DiSC assessment by each learner before the synchronous session, ensuring they entered with their personalized profiles. The ultimate objective was to enhance awareness of DiSC, clarifying its diverse applications in both the workplace and general life. The approach employed collaboration and self-reflection to achieve a deeper understanding of the self-awareness tool. The activities were strategically designed to encompass three main areas: self and peer reflections, group activities with workplace applications, and group activities with general life-related applications. The overall journey was structured based on ASK outcomes, emphasizing facilitation and creating space for reflection to challenge and reshape concepts related to self-awareness, aiming to dismiss stereotypes and cognitive distortions associated with personality assessments, such as labeling.
A diverse group of 15 participants, comprising individuals from various managerial levels, both male and female, were engaged in a collaborative learning setting at Saudi German Hospitals. The participants’ ages span from 28 to 38, reflecting a range of experiences and perspectives. This diverse mix contributed to a rich and dynamic learning environment, fostering the exchange of insights and ideas across different managerial backgrounds within the hospital setting.
By the end of this 6-hour learning trip, the participants were able to achieve the following learning outcomes:
Attitude Learning Outcomes:
- feel the importance of a comprehensive understanding of self-awareness and values exploration;
- grow self-aware of oneself;
- develop a positive attitude towards active engagement and participatory learning experiences.
Skills Learning Outcomes:
- develop skills in reading, elaboration, and reflection, contributing to a deeper understanding of self-awareness;
- use the HBR self-awareness form properly;
- use the DiSC Model to identify personality styles;
- sort values based on different DiSC styles;
- enhance interactive learning, summarizing, collaboration, presentation, and communication skills.
Knowledge Learning Outcomes:
- define the concept of self-awareness and list its various components;
- achieve a holistic and in-depth understanding of the concept of self-awareness;
- tell what the HBR self-awareness form is and mentions its significance
- list the specific DiSC styles (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness)
- describe various conflict scenarios based on different DiSC personality styles, such as “Me-Me Conflict,” “Me-You Conflict,” and “Me-Job Conflict
Sequence of Activities:
Inspired by what I learnt in FIRST’s Journeys, I designed and facilitated a 6-hour learning trip with a set of diverse activities.
- Pre-opener: Informal Chatting (10 mins)
The facilitator and the learners interacted, chatted, and got to know each other.
- Opener: Wall of Pride (15 mins)
The session started with an engaging icebreaker titled “Wall of Pride,” serving as a dynamic opener. Participants, including both learners and the facilitator, actively took part in this activity as a means of introduction. A unique twist was added to the traditional self-introduction, where individuals were encouraged to share a personal accomplishment on sticky notes, regardless of whether it was an anticipated or unexpected achievement. These notes were then collectively placed on a flipchart, creating a symbolic “Wall of Pride.” The ensuing interactive element involved a collective walk-through of these accomplishments, with participants attempting to guess the achiever behind each note. To foster inclusivity and further understanding, each individual then took a brief 30 seconds to share their personal accomplishment, reinforcing a sense of acknowledgment, respect, and celebration of diverse achievements. This exercise not only set a positive and collaborative tone for the session but also emphasized the importance of recognizing and leveraging the richness that arises from managing differences within the group.
- Learning Activity One: Mini-Presentation (10 mins)
The facilitator pulled expectations and invited the learners to compare them to the learning outcomes of the session.
- Learning Activity Two: Presentation/Discussion (30 mins)
The facilitator shared an insightful quote, inviting the learners to read and elaborate on its meaning. Following this, participants deeply explored “self-awareness,” offered their individual definitions and outlined its various components. Then, the facilitator introduced an interactive element by presenting the Harvard Business Review’s self-awareness form (HBR) as a guessing game and unraveled its significance to the group. Subsequently, the focus shifted to clarifying the iceberg concept, adding another layer of depth to the understanding of self-awareness. This structured progression ensured that learners were actively engaged with the material and fostered a comprehensive grasp of the subject matter.
- Learning Activities Three and Four: Cooperative Learning (1.30 mins together)
In these activities, participants collaborated within groups to address an exercise focusing on values associated with self-awareness. Additionally, they were tasked with comparing individual results from a prior personality assessment (DiSC Model). The learners were allocated dedicated time and space for reflection on their collective learning experiences during these activities. This approach aimed to enhance both individual understanding and group dynamics within the context of self-awareness and values exploration.
- Twenty-Minute Break
- Learning Activity Five: Mini-Presentation (15 mins)
The facilitator employed both pushing and pulling techniques to brief the learners about the DiSC Model utilized for individual assessment in the preceding learning activity, encompassing both content and function aspects.
- Learning Activity Six: Collaborative Learning (30 mins)
In three groups, learners assumed the role of “experts” on their assigned DiSC style. Each expert was given time to develop a concise presentation summarizing key points related to their designated aspect, using behavioral examples. To promote diversity of perspectives, participants were shuffled, ensuring that each new group comprises representatives from all the expert groups (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness). This arrangement ensured that each new group benefited from insights originating from the initial expert groups, fostering a more comprehensive understanding of the DiSC styles.
- Linking and Summarizing: Educational Video (20 mins)
The learners watched a video that wrapped up the entire presentation of DiSC, summarized its content, and reflected on it.
- Learning Activity Seven: Collaborative Learning (15 mins)
Learners were grouped based on their behavioral profiles or styles, such as Dominance (Ds), Influence (Is), Steadiness (Ss), and Conscientiousness (Cs). Within each group, participants were tasked with collaboratively identifying and documenting the Dos and Don’ts associated with their respective behavioral styles.
- Learning Activity Eight: Mini-Presentation Followed by Group Work (20 mins)
The facilitator introduced a map for each style as a guiding framework to comprehend the nuances of the DiSC Model. During this presentation, participants were encouraged to ask questions and engage in discussions for clarity. Subsequently, each group was assigned a specific style and tasked with filling out a flipchart template dedicated to that style. The teams delved deeply into their assigned style, exploring the map comprehensively. Following this, a rotation was facilitated, allowing each team to explore and contribute insights to the templates for the other styles. This interactive approach fostered a holistic understanding of the various styles within the DiSC Model through collaborative exploration and discussion.
- Forty-Minute Break
- Learning Activity Nine: Mini Presentation (10 mins)
The facilitator applied the pushing and pulling techniques and helped the learners understand that the “Me-Me Conflict” occurs when an individual possesses high scores in both I (Influence) and C (Conscientiousness) or D (Dominance), while the other two styles, namely S (Steadiness) and/or I (Influence), are scored low. On the other hand, the “Me-You Conflict” arises when two individuals with distinct DiSC styles interact. Lastly, the “Me-Job Conflict” is evident when there is a misalignment between the demands of a job and the individual’s predominant DiSC styles. These concepts helped in understanding various conflict scenarios based on the interplay of different DiSC personality styles.
- Learning Activity Six: Cooperative Learning (10 mins)
In groups, learners worked on sorting the values by style.
- Learning Activity Seven: Cooperative Learning (10 mins)
In this activity, each participant selected three behaviors from a style different than their own, specifically behaviors they aspired to adopt in the future. Subsequently, participants announced and explained their choices to the other members of the group.
- Learning Activity Eight: Simulation Activity (30 mins)
Participants were divided into two groups, labeled as “Right” and “Left” (In the event of an odd number of participants, an observer is designated to assist). One group received golden cards, while the other was provided with blue cards. Individuals holding the golden cards shared their personal styles with fellow group members. On the other hand, those with the blue cards followed the specific rules outlined on their cards. It was their responsibility to pose relevant questions, employ suitable communication keys for each style, and foster effective communication. After that, the participants discussed the outcomes and insights gained.
- Linking and Summarizing Activity: Cooperative Learning (10 mins)
In teams, with each team consisting of four to seven participants, the learners sat in various areas throughout the room. Then, each team wrote the word “self” on one sheet of paper and the word “awareness” on another. They affixed these sheets of paper approximately six feet apart on a nearby wall and were encouraged to engage in a brainstorming activity in order to identify and outline the specific steps required to transition from “self” to “awareness.” As the teams reached an agreement on the steps, they recorded them on additional sheets of paper.
- Closure: Start, Stop, Continue (5 mins)
The facilitator invited the learners to share three specific commitments: something they planned to start doing, something they intended to stop doing, and something they aimed to continue doing after the session.
Implementing the Domains of FIRST-ADLX Framework
Throughout the journey, I paid special attention to implementing the five domains of FIRST-ADLX Framework.
Focusing on the Learner Behaviors
This domain was applied through the provision of personalized and color-coded reports, notebooks, and participant guides, each containing the DiSC profile of every learner. During the reflection process involving individual reflections and exercises, the facilitator ensured a safe environment for every learner to express himself/herself. Moreover, individual engagement was increased through the incorporation of Quizziz, fostering healthy competition. I encouraged every learner to participate and was actively involved with each learner. I also moved between participants, probing and assessing, and maintaining active listening and eye contact. Diverse activities and tools were strategically employed to cater to the specific needs of each individual participant.
Interacting within Positive Group Dynamics
This domain was implemented through a variety of group activities, including simulation exercises, peer reflections, games, and scenario-based situations, etc. To promote interaction among different members and enhance engagement, groups were consistently changed from one activity to another. The facilitator focused on boosting motivation and capturing attention throughout the session. As a result, all activities transpired in a positive and secure environment, fostering a sense of enjoyment and fun among the participants.
Reviewing Activities within RAR
Designing learning activities based on the RAR model presented a challenge, yet proved highly effective in maintaining a dynamic and varied flow of activities. The sequence commenced with the Readiness Increase stage, where instructions were provided, teams were formed, tools were distributed, and motivation was heightened. Moving into the Activity Facilitation stage, the facilitator closely monitored and assisted learners to ensure proper task completion, actively engaging everyone and avoiding anyone being left behind. During the Reviewing Actively stage, learners were afforded the opportunity to absorb the content, reflect on it, and relate it to their own lives and experiences. Some of the Reviewing Actively activities served as a readiness increase for subsequent activities, creating a smooth flow and impactful learner eXperience.
Sequencing within Session Flow
This domain was applied through the harmonious integration of reflection exercises and group dynamic activities that engage mental, emotional, and physical aspects. Careful consideration was given to both the experience (pre-opener, opener, closure, linking and summarizing) and the learning activities creating an opportunity to reflect on them and draw connections to the primary objectives of the topic. The smooth flow of the activities was evident, ranging from deep individual reflections to scenarios related to work and communication with peers and teams, extending to general life applications that align with ASK outcomes. To reinforce the learning, action plan templates were provided for post-training implementation, aiming to embed the culture of self-awareness as an essential aspect of life.
Transforming Learning into Performance
This domain was respected in different stages through the journey. Learners were invited to link what they learnt to real life and discuss situations where they can use what they learnt. They were also provided with tools like the DiSC Model and the self-awareness form (HBR) that can help them transform learning into performance. The closure activity helped them draft a mini-plan or specify steps to be taken directly after the learning session.
Implementing the domains of FIRST significantly contributed to the learners’ sense of importance, engagement, respect, and satisfaction throughout the entire journey. Not only did they successfully achieve the intended learning outcomes, but they also thoroughly enjoyed delving deep into the subject matter. As the designer of the learning journey, I personally gained valuable insights throughout the process of planning and facilitating. This experience has underscored the potency of the domains in crafting an Active Deep Learner Experience, a goal we eagerly anticipate achieving for both our learners and ourselves as perpetual learners.