Cultivating Curiosity and an Exploring Lab Mindset – Workshop Tip #239

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Application: Try this small lab experiment. View the video above and get to discover that when learners touch, manipulate, huddle, document, discuss, argue, and cooperate to find solutions, their experiments lead to better results.

A lab mindset is a depiction of a science lab, where we undergo experiments, pose our questions, investigate hypotheses, run scenarios, and disprove ideas. In the learning space, the lab mindset becomes an environment where we let our learners connect and collaborate. The analytical and curious mind is what drives the scientific endeavor.

In MJ Hall’s recent article, Creating a Lab Mindset, she outlines the key steps that the learner must be engaged in to attain this learning environment:

1. Chase curiosity and explore an eclectic array of ideas and concepts
2. Engage workers as doer/maker by physically designing rough and ready prototypes
3. Be a student/teacher who iteratively reflect, examine ideas, synthesize the plethora of topics and conversations, and assess the products designed
4. Have a creative confidence to explore new things such as thinking like a traveler or observing with a beginner’s mind

“A lab mindset can be thought of as a new pair of glasses that provides a way to see the world and your situation with more clarity and understanding. The mindset opens you to a new adventure of discovery.”

MJ Hall, “Creating a Lab Mindset”

Hall further suggests that when the learner undergoes these four steps, we can create a Lab Mindset that captures the four functional processes of the whole brain:

1. Creativity, Flexibility, Inventiveness (explore)
2. Activity, Productivity, Results (pursue)
3. Consistency, Certainty, Quality
4. Connectivity and Confidence in the creative work around the core purpose of creating a lab mindset

Hall’s study is inspired by Carol Dweck’s 2007 classic, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, where she explicates this concept as an approach where people believe hard work and dedication contribute to continuous learning and reaches beyond the thinking; that intelligence is a fixed trait. This suggests a lab mindset as a way of thinking, believing, doing, and acting. In a similar vein of thinking, talent professionals can create experiences promoting a lab mindset.

What would it take for an organization to establish this Growth/Lab Mindset in the workplace using Workflow Learning? What does the organization gain or lose when such Growth/Lab Mindset is established in the workplace?

By cultivating a growth/lab mindset, we all experience a new behavior. We get to take the scientist’s outlook and are provided with deeper learning and understanding of the things we choose to explore.


MJ Hall (2020), “Creating a Lab Mindset”

Ray Jimenez (2015), “Chalk and Talk vs Collaboration – Can We Meet Halfway?”

Ray Jimenez (2016), “Be A Scientist – Set Up Your Own Learning Behavior Lab on Micro- Experiences and Stories“

Carol Dweck (2007), “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
“Helping Learners Learn Their Way”

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