Applying neuro & behavioural science to L&D – #cipd14

IMG_0400.JPGThis is the second session I’ve been to that is strongly linked to what I am really into at the moment, emotion, the brain, the body, how it all links and stuff like that.

What I also hold on to in these sessions is that I have been immersing myself in this sort of stuff for the last few years because of my studies and so I am always fascinated to see how others are approaching, using and sharing their work in the field.

It was great to hear from three different practitioners, in different contexts and all with different perspectives. We even had disagreement on the panel which was a first for #cipd14.

While I’m talking about the panel I’d suggest sitting on stools next time as they were hard to see and it is good to see the person that is speaking.

The disagreement was around how to use the term ‘neuroscience’ in organisations and in particular how does the term (dis)engage. One of our panel said never to use it as people don’t care for the label(s) and another shared that the term adds credibility and gravitas to the discussion.

For me, it’s all about context. You need to know what will be appropriate for your people, business and context.

Another interesting question came ‘is neuroscience the new emotional intelligence’? The feedback from the panel was that HR and L&D have been or are more wedded to the term than organisations and that (linked to above) neuroscience has more weight.

For me, I wonder if in part it is because it has the work ‘science’ in it which adds weight. Also, maybe equally, it hasn’t got the word emotion in it and despite my best attempts to share widely the power of emotion, some do see it as soft and/or fluffy.

Do I think it is the new emotional intelligence?


It is a build on emotional intelligence. The four aspects of:

Self awareness
Self management
Other(s) awareness
Other(s) management

Still hold weight and credibility on their own. What neuro and behavioural science are doing is:

– giving us richer and more data to fuel one or more of these four
– debunking some myths that we thought were the case in some of these areas (left/right brain, all emotion regulated by the amygdala)
– increasing our knowledge of what is happening that we cannot see or sense

So the new EQ, no.

Some of the contexts that the panel shared they were using these sciences included:

– team meetings
– learning delivery (building on brain friendly)
– learning design (in the process & to create content to appeal)

Which was heartening that it is being integrated and role modelled by these practitioners.

Overall, I walked out thinking the session was ok and I hope it was a good intro for others interested in these amazing areas.


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