I’m Thomas Lai, the heart and mind behind Senso. I am a learning and performance consultant and interdisciplinary designer. I have a deep interest in human perception and behaviour; a curiosity about how people relate to systems; a knack for elucidating complex concepts through words and images; and a desire to help people reach their fullest potential. These skills and interests eventually led me to learning and development.
Creating something big and flashy isn’t why I chose to enter this field. Through Senso, I strive to help people and organizations overcome challenges and achieve success. I do this by using evidence-based methods to create memorable experiences and useful resources to help drive results.
When I’m not working, I indulge in my many interests which include behaviour science, analytical psychology, human development, mindfulness, spirituality, design, art and culture. I’m also an artist who practices figure drawing and Sumi-e, Japanese ink painting (though I have to admit, the school of fish on the homepage is not done by me).
I have a Masters Certificate in Adult Training and Development from Schulich School of Management, a Technical Communication Certificate from Vancouver Island University and a Bachelor of Design degree from York University and Sheridan College.
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When I design, I carefully consider how various factors may impact people’s ability to understand and perform. To find the right solution, I start by identifying the goal of the organization and the needs of the learners. Through understanding the goal, I will work with you to define metrics for success, what gaps need to be filled, what training – if any – is needed, and then design and develop a solution by taking a user-centred approach. The design process typically involves research, analysis, prototyping, testing and iteration. I can also adapt my approach to your situation. And because I am committed to your goals and the learners’ needs, I will work with you further to evaluate and refine the solution.
Here are some of my (present) core principles that inform my approach:
- Learning happens over time rather than in a single event.
- Technology is a powerful, but it must be used ethically to solve human challenges.
- Innovation isn’t only about technology; it’s a mindset and approach to solving problems.
- There is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution – it all depends on the context and individual concerns.
- As social creatures, humans place great value on their relationships with mentors and peers; that’s why it’s important to make space for human connection in the digital learning environment.
- Design should be human-centred rather than strictly information-centred. This involves listening to learners to understand how their needs and concerns relate to needs of the organization.
- People learn better when they make mistakes and then receive feedback in the learning process. That’s why it’s important to create safe spaces that allow them to try out new methods.
- People (aka. the learners) are not machines. They have emotions, attitudes and deep-seated values that impact the way they think and behave.
- Emotions play a crucial role in learning: people remember things and events that have made the most emotional impact.
- Designing prompts and triggers into the environment can eliminate unnecessary learning.
- For adults, both learning and unlearning are often part of the same process.
- If a technique has been proven to be ineffective, it’s best to adopt a growth mindset and try something new.
- Sometimes simple solutions work best.
- We remain learners for life.