In Think Like Churchill, users engage with defining moments in Winston Churchill's life, from personal dilemmas to morally complex wartime decisions. Through narration, former Mayor of London Boris Johnson immerses users in the historical context of the early and mid-1900s. Each story is told using animated comic strips coupled with primary historical sources. Users are prompted to select one of three potential pathways, and their choice of action is then compared to Winston’s real life decision and assessed across a set of competencies such as humility, judgement, belief in others, self-belief, and awareness. These competencies are used to identify the limitations and the merits of each decision. After analyzing a user’s decision, the app makes recommendations for moving forward. As you connect the learnings from each scenario, you begin to understand the principles and key influences that helped shape a man and a nation during World War II.

Pros:

Think Like Churchill provides an engaging account of Churchill's life by expertly weaving together a tapestry of first-hand experience. For example, a critical turning point in Churchill’s life is his daring escape from a prisoner-of-war camp during the Boer War. In the app, the planned escape features a historical map of the imprisonment camp, an overview of the available supplies, and a profile of each member of the escape party. The selection and quality of the historical data sets the foundation for learning about this event and allows for users to make informed decisions.

While there is value in learning about Churchill’s decision making process, the real value comes from understanding one’s motivators and deterrents when faced with a difficult decision. Each scenario requires users to think about real issues and places them in the hot seat of making important decisions. Think Like Churchill breaks down each decision into its main components and integrates opposing opinions to provide users with comparative assessments and feedback. Users are able to weigh the pros and cons and think carefully about the criteria used to make each decision. This helps users become better at recognizing their own strengths and blind spots when making decisions.

Cons:

Given that the focus is on learning to think like Churchill, I wonder if the comparison frameworks may inadvertently condition users to think there is a single right approach to decision-making. Is the objective to understand or to mimic the decision-making process of one historical figure? While a comparison can help elevate important differences, it can also minimize others. Using Churchill’s decision as the model for action reinforces certain competencies, but risks downplaying the importance of others.

Secondly, a surplus of primary evidence might also overwhelm the user. Each scenario is accompanied by a running list of historical documents to review. It would be helpful to summarize some of the takeaways and integrate a filter option to enable users to engage in a more targeted review of historical sources.

Our Takeaway:

Think Like Churchill is a highly informative program that could benefit teens and adult learners alike. Users will be able to learn history, think critically, and become more self-aware of their decision-making processes.

Image: provided by Touch Press Media