The Six Trumps

I was on a training session a while ago and found myself doodling, by the way this is normal for me as I like to take notes and pictures as it is part of my learning style, I was paying attention…honest!

The course content was reflecting on the concept of DIMWiTS to articulate The 6 Trumps which are six brain-science principles that ‘trump’ traditional teaching and training techniques. This is how I captured the concepts. I have this on my wall as an inspiration during training, right next to The Four C’s.

Here are some examples of how I have chosen to apply these concepts in my training delivery:

Different Trumps Same – Mix up or mash up the training session with different types of tools and activities using a combination of Mural, Miro, slides, whiteboard physical and virtual, flip charts (yes even in virtual classes), objects around the home to create personal connections, workflow tools for practical scenarios like Jira to show how to do it in the real world, Lego, music, toys, games, competitions, hats, student workbooks so learners can write and draw along with the content.

Images Trump Words – Try not to go heavy text on any training content. Rather use pictures or photos on slides that represent the context and have the 2 way conversation with the learners. Tell stories and listen to stories about the content that takes the cohort on a relatable journey. Have learners draw their own images of their relatable story and play it back to the group.

Movement Trumps Sitting – Everyone training session needs regular breaks, these need to be even more regular in virtual training. Outside of lunch etc. take a break every hour, up to 10mins. We sometimes use ‘ticket ins’ and ‘tickets out’ to have learners do something before they leave or do something when they get back. Before they leave provide a conclusion of what was just learned or during a break have them go find something in their house that they are proud of to share when they come back.

Writing Trumps Reading – Most of our training sessions involve creating an improvements plan for when you go back to you job. Real improvements you can measure. So during some class activities teams break out into pairs or small groups to generate ideas and concepts that they present back to the main group, sometimes its personal and learners will create their own graphic organisers of pictures and text as they work through the course material.

Talking Trumps Listening – Depending on the activity learners will pair off group in small teams. They need to discuss the content & concepts to form their own conclusions, mash other trumps in these activities. Liberating Structures are very cool examples of how to mash up activities to lead to the desired conclusions and get everyone involved. Key here is providing the guardrails so the activity is clear enough not to get side tracked with the ‘rules of the game’.

Shorter Trumps Longer – We tend to break large batches of learning concepts into smaller segments. So rather than completing the section in its entirety we will make sure that each concept segment delivers a learning objective and is still valuable concrete practices. We pull those segments back together as a conclusion covering links to the overall learning objective.

Credit to Sharon L Bowman, check out more of her work at


I love agile, I mean I really love agile!

It has provided me with so many fantastic opportunities and experiences that I cannot help but want to share its awesomeness with others and provide them with an avenue to grow as well.

That is why, as an agile coach and trainer, #ilovewhatido!

I am on a mission to demystify agile at scale and help organisations and individuals connect with their inner awesome to meet complex challenges head-on.

Published by Jason

Jason is an agile coach and trainer with 16 years experience applying agile principles and practices in a variety of industries and initiative types. Skilled in agile transformation and coaching, he is a professional motivated towards relentless improvement, inspiring agility and thought leadership to evolve leadership and teams to think differently and achieve great outcomes.

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