Can we utilize the “Elevation” Emotion in Learning?

Read this intriguing article in Slate.

It talks about how some people can elicit an emotional response in others that enables optimism and moral inspiration.

Quoted from the article:

University of Virginia moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt, who coined the term elevation,
writes, "Powerful moments of elevation sometimes seem to push a mental
'reset button,' wiping out feelings of cynicism and replacing them with
feelings of hope, love, and optimism, and a sense of moral

I don't think most training situations would benefit from such elevation, but some might. There's little likelihood that someone learning how to use a spreadsheet could be elevated, for example.

On the other hand, I can see particular opportunities for socially-responsible organizations or initiatives, especially those that are led by elevation-enabling leaders. Perhaps some soft-skill training may benefit, for example, where a management-training facilitator tells stories of others' efforts to help develop the people they work with.

There can be downsides to elevation as well, not least of which is that those who don't feel the elevation think that those who do feel it are either ridiculous or brainwashed. And, elevation by itself doesn't generate changes in behavior.

Haidt's research shows that elevation is good at provoking a desire to
make a difference but not so good at motivating real action.

Still, I think it's worth thinking about how to connect with our learners at a deeper level. It doesn't have to be super-deep, just a little bit deeper may help.

Let's remember that we as learning professionals have a responsibility not just to inform, prepare, and provide practice. We can also increase the likelihood that our learners will actually utilize what we teach by enabling their "motivation to apply" what they've learned. Sure, we can utilize our learners' management to promote application, but we can play a role in enabling the learners to want to apply what they've learned. Elevation may be another tool we can use in our work.