People sharing their virtual CCS Cards choices around a conference table

Phygital is back!

Craig Browne

Well, it probably never went, but it sure feels like its having a renewed moment!

The term phygital learning, a combination of physical and digital learning, had been around for some time prior to COVID, but it necessarily took a leap during those lockdown years. There was already growing interest (1 2) in the educational benefits of this combination — capacity to personalise learning, ease of distribution and scale, multi-media and mixed-media resources and presentations, speed of learning, student interaction, and that cool active learning idea of “flipped classrooms”. All under the umbrella of blending learning solutions.

Then COVID hit and finding ways to deliver learning by a mix of virtual and (at least some) tangible means, suddenly exploded. Learning that would always have been done in-person and actually hands-on, needed to be done through a mix of physical and digital means — and in many cases entirely digital.

While obviously everybody knew that not everything could be delivered adequately by digital means, it had to be done anyway. This led to all kinds of experimentation, innovation and acceptance of new ways of doing stuff — with some downsides and upsides.

For me and colleagues I speak with, one of the real upsides has been the discovery that some things that one might previously have believed had to be delivered live and in-person, could indeed be successfully delivered through virtual means — and in some cases leads to increased engagement, efficiency, and learning.

That brings me back to phygital. When COVID hit we received loads of requests for a fully virtual version of our CCS Cards. Enthusiastic (and, desperate) facilitators looking for ways to create emotional connection and productive collaborative spaces, akin to in-room, needed a virtual image card solution. And as some of you may know, we now have the CCS Cards Virtual Facilitation Environment which allows a 100% virtual image cards experience. With just a few clicks, a facilitator starts a session and their participants download a free mobile app and get a lovely set of CCS Cards on their device, allowing a fully virtual image-card-supported workshop.

But I have to say, that right now, it’s the phygital application that is proving just as interesting to facilitators. While they don’t call it phygital, facilitators are combining real and virtual CCS Cards products for in-room experiences. It’s easy, powerful, and perfect for the current flexible workplace climate.

This week we were contacted by a facilitator with a problem that ends nicely with a phygital CCS Cards approach:

“I have a problem. I have an important team vision session and I want to use my CCS Cards. But there’s 15 in the room and I only have a few packs. Annnnnd … it’s in two days! I was just going to divide up the packs and give everyone a few cards, but I’d rather not do that.

Desperate facilitator

Here’s the simple phygital solution we suggested:

  1. Right now: download the CCS Cards VFE desktop application
  2. Just before the event: Start a virtual CCS Card session
  3. In the room: Have all participants scan the QR code and download the free CCS Cards app
  4. Run a quick introductory opener activity — to warm them up and get them familiar with the app (see this scripted example)
  5. Then, with a set of virtual cards on their phones or tablets, guide your participants to swipe, select, and share just like with real cards. While the cards are digital, the experience is still very personal, tactile, enjoyable and very convenient (and bigger if they use a tablet!)
  6. Once everyone has selected and shared in small groups, hand each group a real pack of CCS Cards to use to help them work together to identify the key ideas across their group.
  7. Stick all the chosen cards up on the wall and have the whole team whittle them down to the key vision elements for the team.

The VFE can do a lot more than this, but it was enough for this situation — everyone had their own pack and a way to genuinely reflect, coupled with a nice combination of digital and physical learning.

So, when you think CCS Cards, think phygital — because it’s back, effective, and probably here to stay.

*note: the picture for this article is actually taken from a recent CCS Cards phygital session we delivered at the APAC ILP Learning Impact Summit, not our desperate facilitator

Craig Browne

Craig is co-founder of CCS Corporation, co-developer of the CCS, a designer, educator, product developer and award-winning game maker.