Liz Wilson headshot

The alchemic learning test

Planning a learning intervention? Great! But is it “alchemic”? No idea what we mean? Read Senior Consultant Liz Wilson’s piece on alchemic learning here.

You can run your learning intervention through our test below. If it’s going to lead to deep and durable learning, that feels almost like a magical process of transformation, go ahead! If it’s going to pass through the learner and leave no discernable trace, think again!

Choose three possible participants for your experience and consider what their responses might be to the following statements:

I desperately need and want this development, I can see clearly what difference it’s going to make for me. I’m going to grab this opportunity with both hands. Thank you so much, at last!

0 (I don’t feel anything like this) to 10 (yes this is exactly how I feel!)

I can’t imagine how I’m going to achieve this. It’s real and consequential. You’re stretching me beyond what I think I can do. If I can do this, everything changes

0 (I don’t feel anything like this) to 10 (yes this is exactly how I feel!)

You’re putting me amongst groups of people I’ve never met before, or in circumstances that are completely new to me – this is uncomfortable and you are making me question my beliefs and values

0 (I don’t feel anything like this) to 10 (yes this is exactly how I feel!)

I’m seeing myself and others in a new light, I keep getting new information and insights, people around me are able to be brave in what they say to me and the ideas to which I’m being exposed are shifting my thinking

0 (I don’t feel anything like this) to 10 (yes this is exactly how I feel!)


In conclusion – we know that for learning to provide the alchemy of lasting change, it needs to hit one of these buttons:

1.     Links to my personal drive – I really want it

2.     Adventure and challenge – I will never return to my previous view of myself

3.     Exposure – I will never return to my previous view of others / the world

4.     Insight – this has switched on a light in me that will never go out