🧠The Quest #105: How to create multi-sensory experiences for your virtual groups

🍔Most live online sessions are like a McDonald’s hamburger.

They have just a few ingredients. The taste is pretty bland. The texture is a bit mushy. And chances are you won’t remember what you had for lunch a few hours later.

Exceptional live online sessions are like a Michelin-starred restaurant meal.

The chef has intentionally designed an immersive experience. You see, hear, feel, smell, and taste the sea as you take in the foamy essence of shrimp from your plate.

It’s a meal that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Why? Because it’s multi-sensory.

But how do multisensory experiences work online? Marketers are coming up with some pretty weird ideas. Like a lickable TV screen that can imitate food flavors. 🤨Um, I’m not sure that I’ll be licking a TV screen any time soon.

You can learn to create multi-sensory experiences for your virtual groups.

There are surprisingly simple ways you can create a multisensory experience for your groups (that don’t involve licking screens). When you do, your group members will engage more, learn more, and get more out of your session.

What are multi-sensory experiences and how do you create them for your online groups?

That’s our Quest for this week 🔎

👉A new book on multi-sensory experiences and technology

👉What digital art can teach us about creating multi-sensory experiences

👉5 simple ways you can create multi-sensory experiences for your online groups

📘Multi-sensory Experiences: Where the senses meet technology

What are multi-sensory experiences? That’s what researchers Carlos Velasco and Marianna Obrist set out to explain in their book Multi-sensory Experiences: Where the senses meet technology. You can also watch the 1hr virtual book launch video.

Here’s how Velasco defines multisensory experiences👇

Source: Multisensory Experiences Virtual Book Launch

Here are 3 takeaways from the video:

👉 Most of our everyday experiences are multi-sensory in nature. All of your senses – hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting, and smelling – are present. And you can intentionally design experiences that stimulate a sensory world.

👉 Technology can help us create these experiences. It does this by adding information like using your mobile phone to find out about art you are seeing in a gallery. Or by creating a sensory experience that transports you somewhere else with VR goggles.

👉Creating multi-sensory experiences needs to be done ethically. They should be used for good, the receivers must be treated fairly, and the audience and elements you are using must be known.

How have you created multi-sensory experiences with tech?

🖼️What Digital Art Can Teach Us About Creating Multi-sensory Experiences: Superblue Miami

Thanks to my sister-in-law (and Quest Reader hi Maria 👋) we visited the immersive interactive art gallery Superblue Miami last December. It was a masterclass in the elements of creating multi-sensory experiences.

Superblue is an experiential art center that houses an exhibition of large-scale interactive digital artworks.

Check out this 4-minute video tour with Suberblue’s Director of Experiential Art Centers, Shantelle Rodriguez.

What surprised me is what digital art can teach us about creating multisensory experiences for our online groups.

Here are 3 insights I gained:

👉 Dissolve barriers. Digital artists aim to eliminate or soften boundaries created by a screen. Exceptional online facilitators create conditions where the screen is not a barrier for group members to connect and collaborate.

👉 Guide the experience. Superblue has a team of guides who greet you in each room and explain to you what you are seeing and how it works. As the online facilitator, you need to guide your group so they get the most out of the experience.

👉Invite engagement. At the heart of immersive exhibits is an invitation to actively engage. Exceptional online facilitators see their group members as active participants who help to create the experience.

Es Devlin’s Forest of Us, Superblue Miami

💡5 Ingredients for Creating Multisensory Experiences for Your Online Groups

So you may be thinking that’s all great but how does that work on an online platform like Zoom?

Here’s a Twitter thread I published with 5 ingredients for creating multisensory experiences for your groups👇

twitter profile avatar Gwyn WansbroughTwitter Logo @gwynwans 🥗Designing exceptional live online sessions is like being a Michelin-starred chef. You need to know how to stimulate all of the senses Here are 5 ingredients for creating a multisensory experience for your virtual groups🧵👇 February 6th 2023 0 Retweets 0 Likes

Here’s the summary:

1/ 👀Seeing → use pictures & diagrams

2/ 👂Hearing → play music

3/ 🫱Movement → start with a group stretch

4/ 👃Smelling → open with a prompt question about smell

5/ 😋Tasting → use food analogies

6/ 🎉Bonus all senses → try a guided visualization

Join the conversation on Twitter or LinkedIn.

✍️Quote of the Week

Those who can imagine anything can create the impossible.” Alan Turing

💌Thanks for reading The Quest

I always love hearing your feedback and suggestions. Just hit reply to share your thoughts and ideas.

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Creatively yours,

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