Developing Social Awareness by Vanessa Baioni-Shaheed

This learner experience is intended to coach an adult learner on developing their social awareness skills. The learner I designed this for (let’s call her Lara) is an adult who has trouble connecting with individuals in her personal and professional life. In group settings, she feels stress and anxiety watching her peers jump from large emotion to large emotion, unable to follow their journey from start to finish.

Lara is an analytical person and is stressed by her inability to gather this information. Her go-to form of coping with stress is to research and analyze; however, she feels she cannot do so here. She highly values process and structure. She relies on these traits and stress-management tactics heavily in her professional life.

I began my design process by asking Lara what communication skills she felt she could improve upon. She felt strongly that developing her social awareness skills was by far the top priority.

With this information in hand, I began applying the visualization lessons we learned in LXD Con this year. I created a timeline that illustrated the learner journey:

Illustration of social awareness learner journey


As you can see, my desire was to highlight competency in Lara — to help her build her confidence in this ability she felt like she sorely lacked.

Creating this outline helped me in brainstorming activities, and I was able to jump right into my outline. During testing, Lara gave me helpful feedback on how to improve the assessments, which I incorporated. She shared that identifying progressions from one emotion to another was extremely helpful for her, so I adjusted the facial expressions assessment to exhibit this shift. She also felt the order of the body language video analysis did not properly progress from easy – difficult, and she felt overwhelmed when she encountered a very difficult video early in that assessment stage. Taking this into account, I reorganized the order of the videos I included.

Unfortunately, due to conflicting schedules, I was not able to record an experience of the final product with Lara. Instead, I have attached the PowerPoint file below.

Note: This is intended to be a one-on-one experience facilitated by myself. There are a variety of reflection questions that were designed to spark discussion. Additionally, the images selected each depict a variety of expressions, and would be analyzed together with Lara in a live session.

My PowerPoint was too large to upload, so click this link to download it.

If I had the opportunity to do this again with more time available, I would include a more in-depth analysis of progression from one large emotion to another, rather than from neutral to a large emotion, as I feel that would be most useful for Lara in her interpersonal interactions.

Please share your thoughts! Any feedback, support, or constructive criticism is welcomed.

Vanessa Baioni-Shaheed


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  1. I wasn’t able to download the ppt so can’t comment on that content but your description shows your creativity in designing activities and then collaborating with Lara to meet her needs. Enjoyed your solutions. thanks.

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