On the importance of transitions

I’m a fan of the School of Life. I think they do a great job of popularising key philosophical ideas in relevant, applicable ways. Just check out their YouTube channel.

As you’d expect, the School of Life caters for businesses, with an attractive learning and development brochure. Their curriculum is broken down into 24 emotional skills:

School of Life - L&D - Emotional Skills

These skills are then unpacked on following pages, giving a high-level overview of the two-hour sessions they offer around each one:

School of Life - L&D - Self Awareness & Supportiveness

From there, the two hour sessions around a particular skill are then organised into sample playlists:

School of Life - L&D - Pathways

This is a pretty standard model. It means that the people delivering the courses get to develop core content they can re-use. Meanwhile, the customer gets to tailor courses based on their priorities/interests.

What’s missing from all this? Transitions.

I think I’m right in saying that, for 24 skills, there are 16,777,216 possible ways to link together two sessions. This obviously increases exponentially as you add more sessions into the mix. As a result, you need talented people who can make the transitions between sessions make sense, ensuring the whole day combines to become more than the sum of its parts.

Obviously, when you’re putting together a brochure like this for people whose specialism isn’t learning and development, you want to hide some of the complexity involved. However, it’s worth drawing attention to it now and again as running a bespoke workshop, just like teaching in a school or university, is as much of an art as it is a science.

Given the average feedback score (9.1 out of 10) for these sessions, the School of Life not only have great sessions, but great transitions. That’s where the secret sauce lies: people need to know that they’re not having something done to them, but that facilitators are being responsive, and truly catering the day to who’s in the room.