I listened to a fantastic ASTD webinar recently about “neuroleadership” or brain science applied to leadership. David Rock of The Neuroleadership Institute was the presenter. There was a lot of great content (if you’re an ASTD member and you missed it, I encourage you to track down a recording), but one thing in particular captured my attention: the Mind Platter.
It is a play on the recently revised nutrition model rolled out by the USDA, describing the components of a “healthy diet” of input for the mind. Mind Platter was only mentioned in passing during the webinar, but it is an interesting way to think about getting our brains the sustenance they need. I have been thinking about the role of each component in the design of training.
Particularly when we ask people to participate in all-day and multi-day training, we should consider whether we are meeting their mental needs during that time. In fact, many common instructional design practices map to specific components of the Mind Platter:
Focus Time – traditional teaching activities (lecture, demonstration), reading
Connecting Time – icebreakers, breaks, some group activities
Play Time – some group activities
Physical Time – this often gets left out, but leading some good whole-body stretches during a long day of training can help reinvigorate a group
Time In – individual exercises, particularly reflective ones
Down Time – breaks (although people tend to use these to check email!)
Sleep Time – not in my classes!