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Our Theory of Change

The importance of the 'inner world' to address the learning-to-action gap.


Immersive technologies play an important role in bridging the learning-to-action gap i.e. the disparity between acquiring knowledge or skills and effectively applying or implementing  them in practical, real-world situations. The gap is influenced by psychological, motivational and environmental factors to which many learning interventions fail to devote sufficient attention.

When learners name, express and reflect on thoughts and feelings in themselves, and in the unseen dynamics of the relationships around them (also known as mentalization), they increase the probability of applying learning and bringing about change in themselves and the systems around them.

We can call this aspect the ‘inner world’ and it includes thoughts, feelings, beliefs, attitudes, values, and motivations. The understanding of this inner world is often referred to as self-awareness or intrapersonal competence.

Simulation in training.

Interestingly, when we think of immersive technology, we often immediately find ourselves in the space of simulation environments where, most often in training use-cases, it can provide a safe and cost effective way to learn from responses to stimulation and explore new responses. Most often powerful for the application and practice of new behaviours e.g., in safety-related situations such as pilot or deep-sea diver, or in more everyday corporate situations such as onboarding, presentations or interviews. 


In these situations, the external world is presented accurately to recreate as closely as possible the environment in which the individual will be expected to apply these new skills.


To achieve immersion, the external environment must be accurate enough to convince the learner that it is real. Modern immersive VR (Virtual Reality) can provide highly realistic and accurate simulations of a particular environment which create powerful immersive experiences for the learning to take place. And while realism is required for learning to take place, it’s not necessarily required that our feelings, beliefs, attitudes, values, and motivations are addressed or even engaged.

People in the office image

Where the inner world matters.

In comparison, in most management training and development programs the inner world is much more important than the external environment. In situational leadership training or team building for example the learner is trying to work out which approach to apply in a certain situation given their own perceptions, fears, control, or authority needs, etc.


Applying newly learned thinking and behaviors involves both will (motivation or drive) and fear (e.g. of getting it wrong). Both will and fear can be difficult to describe and understand. It can be hard for the learner to ‘build a relationship’ with these aspects too. Yet doing so is critical to managing the complexities and challenges of bringing about change.

In order to bring about a new practice or behavior, it is crucial that the learner engages with this inner world to experiment with new possibilities and practice new skills.

Realism or ‘accurate rendering’ of the inner world.

Externalizing and making visible a learner’s inner world can be a powerful and immersive experience; for many, the representation of their thoughts, feelings or beliefs (and/or those of others) can be transformational.

If the learner builds this representation themselves using modifiable imagery to show real-life situations from their own experience, this increases both their agency and their connection with what is on the screen.

Furthermore, the use of symbols, metaphors and narrative techniques can support the learner as they represent their inner world. Neuroscience has shown that metaphor processing involves a broader network of brain regions and engages sensory, emotional and conceptual areas too.

Design to support powerful outcomes.

Rethinkly’s design enables a credible representation of both inner and external worlds. This unique combination in approach means elevated levels of immersion can be achieved using standard office equipment (i.e. laptops and tablets) without the need for immersive VR headsets, freeing organisations from both the cost of purchase and management of additional hardware - especially for remote teams.

Providing androgynous avatars gives users a blank, neutral canvas on which to project personality and character of others or parts of themselves. This enables users to connect with their imagination and free themselves from the constraints of 'reality'.  Reducing the amount of judgement or pre-disposition to certain feelings and emotions that can get in the way of connecting with what is really going on.

Cameras allow users to view from any avatar or roaming position in the landscape produces the benefits of increased empathy (stand in the shoes of another) and insight – seeing something from a new perspective. Perspective taking is critical but many of us have limited exposure to this learned skill. By providing a mechanism by which to learn how to find perspective. Before we can build knowledge and skills, there must be an alignment of perspective to help align the skills and the relevancy.


Emotional labelling is supported with emoticons and animated postures, as well as captions, internal monologues and the use of colour and symbols. By providing different ways to express the inner emotions you enable users to find the way that best expresses their situation. Enabling a deeper connection with the actual state and providing a window for distancing and gaining new insight or others to understand.

Designed for scale and reach

Rethinkly's veriety of products are designed to support individual, large groups or teams learning journeys or interventions.

Evidence-based outcomes

Rethinkly has over ten years of independent scientific evidence that its use is associated with improved thinking and better learning outcomes.

As seen in

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