Live-Action Scenarios Build Critical Thinking Skills and a Culture of Belonging

Thriving corporate cultures have one thing in common: high employee engagement that attracts top-notch talent and delivers a measurable impact on company performance. Engagement is particularly important around corporate initiatives that advance individual well-being and ensure fair practices to safeguard the brand.

Jen Carniero leads learning experience design at LinkedIn, supporting over 12,000 employees including approximately 2,000 managers. LinkedIn uses a wide variety of HapYak’s interactive capabilities in 20 Learning and Development-produced interactive videos that help engage employees thoughtfully as a key first step to fostering lasting behavior change.

One way the company does this is through live-action video scenarios of situations employees may encounter. The scenarios pause and the learner is asked for feedback on how they’d approach next steps. They can choose from different actions they’d take in this scenario and see how that choice would impact the situation and the team depicted in the scenario.

“Our employees love the interactivity in their learning process, and we love what HapYak allows us to do in making video more real, impactful, and a driver of critical thinking,” said Carneiro.  “These aren’t play-it-and-forget-it experiences. The live-action scenarios really resonate with employees. With HapYak, we make culture-building come alive.”

For example, LinkedIn used HapYak in it’s award-winning “Breaking Bias” Online Learning Series as part of its Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIBs) program. Deployed worldwide, “Breaking Bias” employs these live-action scenarios to build the critical thinking skills required to cultivate a culture of belonging and connect across differences. These are skills that can’t be acquired from simply watching a video in a lean-back mode.

Using HapYak, LinkedIn inserted hot spots to simulate decision points that participants might face in a certain challenge, and the follow-on impact on others. Branching or “choose your own adventure” options allowed participants to go back and remake the decision if they didn’t like what they saw – complete with a simulated ‘rewind’ sound as they replayed the decision and made a different choice. The first three “Breaking Bias” videos were initially developed for managers, but the program was so successful that DIBs team expanded it to target all employees and created four more videos that released throughout the year.

In one “Breaking Bias” video, LinkedIn used HapYak to add a sliding bar at the bottom of the screen where participants rank how they felt a character in the scenario was doing, in this case, an introvert was being talked-over in a meeting.  When asked “How included do you think Meiling is feeling in this discussion?” learners adjusted the slider to reflect one of five choices. The video then shows the learner how Meiling was actually feeling. The video continues, showing the manager taking a different approach so that Meiling is being heard, demonstrating how managers could “repair” a situation like this with an employee.

In another “Breaking Bias” video about do’s and don’ts of a performance review conversation, LinkedIn used HapYak interactivity to help facilitate a team discussion on “micro-inequities,” or subtle biases that may influence another’s feelings. The chapter played a live-action scenario snippet depicting a manager holding an annual review with an employee and the team had to “spot the micro-inequities.” Using HapYak, the video would pause in different places so the team could discuss what they saw. The team could continue with other scenes after the discussion was completed.

In other L&D programs for management, leadership and onboarding, HapYak enables the LinkedIn team to add reflection points into a video – playing a live-action scenario then asking questions about what happened, to further make the video experience meaningful on a personal level.  In a program called “Let’s Talk About Race,” for example, HapYak’s branching feature allowed LinkedIn employees to experience multiple sides of the same situation, depending on their role.  After hearing a personal story from a character, the participant can choose to see what to do as an ally, a manager or the person experiencing the situation – and then views the corresponding behavior recommendations for how to connect over differences.

“Across all of our department’s work, not only in the DIBs initiative, the interactive videos we’ve created are among the most popular and well received online content we have,” said Carniero.  “HapYak is easy to use and enables us to drive home the important messages that set the tone for LinkedIn’s employee learning and transformation. It’s changed the way we think about video.”

Carneiro and team have also used HapYak to help measure behavior change for an online learning program. Instead of using a form to document participant sentiment, LinkedIn placed interactive “Check-In” and “Check out” videos using quizzes at the beginning and the end of the program to ask questions about behaviors that align to learning objectives. Learners can use this as a gauge to see how they’ve grown, and the Learning & Development team can track effectiveness of the program to drive behavior change.