DIGA – Experiential Learning Cycle

There are several debrief methods to choose from and DIGA is one we used while training hundreds of facilitators to be more effective because of the simplicity of the questioning that could lead to marvelous discovery.

DIGA was first introduced in 1975 by University Associates as a simple method to focus a debrief:

Describe
Interpret
Generalize
Apply

While I now use our ABC’s debrief, I still have DIGA as a backbone because I have used it successfully so many times.

If you are every stuck, you could always start with the word and you were guaranteed not to ask a simple, closed yes/no question.  🙂

Below are descriptions of each stage and some sample questions:

Describe:
In this stage, the facilitator asks the participants about their feelings and reactions to the experience. The focus in this stage is on the individuals’ feelings and experiences.

Ask questions such as:

Describe what happened during the activity. (You can even break it up to describe what happened in the planning stage or the building stage).

What was this activity like for you?

What happened during the activity?

Interpret:
In this stage, participants discuss what went on between group members during the exercise. To process individual reactions into collective ideas, good questions to ask include:

Interpret the group behavior (or insert topic) what happened during the activity.

What struck you about the way the team divided up the responsibilities?

Were specific responsibilities assigned to particular people? OR… How were the responsibilities divided up? Why?

What does this suggest about you/the group?

Generalize:
In this stage, the group generalizes from the experience to see how it might be reflected in other areas of their lives. Participants are asked to focus on situations in their work or personal lives that are similar to those in the activity. The task is to identify similarities and state principles that they can apply to other situations. Some questions that could be asked are:

Generalize what you learned.  Look for patterns.  Where else do you see this behavior in your life / at work?

What did you learn about each other’s working preferences / personalities?

Does this remind you of anything that has happened at your site recently?

What did you learn or relearn?

Apply:
Finally, participants can decide on a course of action for the future. As a facilitator, ask questions such as:

What are your options for handling a similar situation at your site?

How can you take this experience and apply it to a situation back home?

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