Welcome to Planet BeSci

Published by Kelly Wright on

Welcome to Planet BeSci

Table of contents

What is Planet BeSci?

I love how we think and feel, how we react and respond – or don’t. I like to explore what motivates us. Why do we love what we love? And hate what we hate? I’m fascinated by how we can be so unique yet so alike.

One of the best things about working in learning is that I get to learn too, and mostly about people. To give learners what they need (and want), I need (and want) to understand them first. I must dig under the surface to discover more about them, so that I can deliver a solution that will help them be their best.

Looking back, I think this desire to help people has been at the heart of all my career choices, so human behaviour has been an interesting and integral part of my work for a long time. The science bit, however, not so much. At school, I was much more likely to be found in the art room than the science block (Flashback to me on the back seat of the bus heading to my Physics GCSE exam with my science-loving friend Steph helping me cram). As a result, I’ve tended to veer away from any mention of science in my work life, with my inner voice muttering: “I’m a Creative, not a Scientist”.

But in the last few years, as behavioural science began to feature in more and more conversations amongst colleagues and clients, I decided it was time to embrace this collision of science and art and see where it led me. It was time to move to Planet BeSci.

Digital background with connected blue dots. Big data visualization.

One small step for BAD, one giant leap for Learning Designer-kind

Luckily, I was in safe hands. When your colleague becomes a PhD Behavioural Scientist and you have your own in-house team of experts, it really softens the blow! After an extensive period of research and consultation with BAD learning designers, the Behavioural Insights Team (BAD BIT) developed a behavioural insights mantra.

Being able to refer to the mantra as a guide in the learning design process blew my mind! I suddenly had access to a toolkit of evidence-based insights — formed from robust research — to help me create the most impactful learning experience, tailored to the learner.

This was exactly what I needed to thrive on Planet BeSci! Suddenly, the science bit wasn’t scary at all. In fact, for me as a Learning Designer, it was a great comfort. I found that the BeSci research and evidence often reinforced the design decisions I had made, based on my training, experience, and a healthy dollop of designer’s instinct.

Has behavioural science made me a better learning designer? Well, if we’re going with a space theme here, it has given me a North Star to use as a guiding light and a navigational point of reference. It has also encouraged me to study my design decisions through a telescopic lens (yes, I know I’m milking the space theme). I’m much more critical of my design decisions, which has resulted in more considered, behaviour-driven solutions with real people at the heart of them.

What’s it like on Planet BeSci?

Behavioural science has supported my work in lots of different ways and at all stages of the design process, but it’s at the early stages of design, when creating a concept, that I make sure to ask these three big questions:

  1. How can I make this easy? What can I do to help the learner feel like the behaviours expected of them are easy to do and how do I make this experience easy to complete?
  2. How can I help them want to do it? What will make them feel good about this experience? How can I help them feel motivated to do it?
  3. How can I help the learner feel connected to others? What can I include from people that they respect, such as their peers or experts in the field?

As the design evolves with more specific needs to be addressed, I am able to dive deeper with the BAD BIT to gain further evidence or insights to inform my solution — a luxury that I never take for granted.

Speaking Planet BeSci’s language

Some would argue that I have been talking BS for a long time! But seriously, like any language it takes time to hold a conversation, and years of study and immersion to become fluent. I know it can be daunting to talk confidently about a topic so steeped in academia and science, especially for those of us who will only ever be in the ‘Enthusiast’ camp and not the ‘Expert’. But I have come to understand that it’s not rocket science, it’s behavioural science, and we’re all human!

I have seen how the evidence and examples from research breaks down the science into practical, tangible, everyday comparisons. These have been hugely helped in dispelling my fear, so that I can apply the output of these conversations to design solutions that will change hearts, minds, and behaviours.

The mantra has equipped me with new ways to articulate my design thinking and provide rationale that is based on both solid behavioural theory and creative freedom. And if I need to go deeper than the mantra takes me, I can talk to the BAD BIT and look to the science for further guidance.

What planet are you on?

Now that I am a fully-fledged citizen of Planet BeSci, I would not want to return to a world where behavioural science is not part of my learning design process. I’ll still never be a scientist, but I’ve realised I don’t have to be. I have learned to appreciate the depth of thought that science brings to my work as a Creative. My Physics teacher would be so proud!

If you’d like to visit Planet BeSci and learn more about our behavioural insights mantra, get in touch. We’re ready for lift-off! (that was the last one, I promise.)

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