Episodic Learning-Learning Like Watching Your Favorite Soap Opera!

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Episodic Learning-Learning Like Watching Your Favorite Soap Opera!

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Have you ever wished learning could be fun while at the same time in-depth? The current dilemma is that if you want to go deeper on the subject, you have to weather through the boredom created by traditional information delivery. But if you want to go the way of fun, well, you just have to scratch the surface. This shouldn’t be the case! There has to be a way to learn and have fun at the same time! Good news for you – there is! Read on!

Recommended training from HRDQ-U

Creating Hyper Stories for Instant Learning

Following the Characters and Their Stories

We all love to follow people’s lives because we want to know what they will do next. Isn’t this the normal way we learn? Isn’t this the reason why we love watching Modern Family, Saturday Night Live, Dancing with the Stars, or Downton Abbey?

Episodic Learning, a.k.a Thematic Learning, is the natural way we learn. Since childhood, we immediately learn to follow life’s episodes as it unfolds before us. What’s Daddy and Mommy up to this time? Are they having a fight? Whose birthday is it? These are some of the episodes that we naturally follow at home and in the community around us.  In the words of John F. Kihlstrom in his article “How Students Learn — and How We Can Help Them,” he says, “Episodic knowledge is essentially autobiographical memory, for particular events that have a unique location in space and time.”

Then, all of a sudden, we join the classroom, and we are bombarded with an avalanche of information that we can’t easily digest! Wait a minute; this is not the usual way we learn! To sum it up in one word: boring.

According to Bethany Bodenhamer in a blog post titled “Themes vs. Timelines,” she says, “Dates, names, numbers, and places are the facts that young historians are often required to memorize in their various history courses. Therefore, that is generally how and what teachers teach. However, what if there was a more interesting, intriguing, and captivating way to teach these same facts – a way in which students are taught the basics at the same time that they are making connections, discovering themes, and thinking at a higher level? This is all possible by teaching thematically.”

In short, what if there is a better way to go in-depth while avoiding boredom?

Advantages of Episodic Learning

Episodic Learning enables learners to go deeper into the topic without being bugged down by the barrage of information coming in.

Heightens Curiosity

Curiosity is the currency of learning. When you run out of it, you can’t just expect to continue absorbing any kind of knowledge. The good thing about Episodic Learning is that it heightens our natural curiosity about what happens next. The “cliffhangers” that end an episode in a story make us want for more episodes to come. Hence, learning becomes a natural process.

Allows Reflection

These cliffhangers make us mull over what’s possibly going to happen next in the story. What will the main character do in this situation? Can they still pull more tricks from their sleeve? If so, will it work this time? These are some of the reflective questions that come to mind because you are left hanging by the last story episode.

Enables Possibility Thinking

This mulling over enables you, the learner, to become a possibility thinker. “Thinking out of the box” is a learned trait in traditional learning, but it comes naturally in episodic story-based learning. It enables you to think in terms of “what if” instead of “what is.”

Opens Up Other Scenarios

Now that you have considered other possibilities by thinking out of the box, other scenarios open up. A world of possibilities is all of a sudden available to you instead of just copying existing ones. The well-trodden path is not always the best path. True learners try the path least traveled.

Allows Open Discussion

Opened-up scenarios allow like-minded learners to discuss them openly. There are no stupid ideas; all are given equal air-time in the discussion forums. Open discussions create an escalation of the available ideas contributed by all learners. Since all feel welcome to contribute, all possibilities are exhausted, and ideas are collated to form a unified solution.

More Opportunities for Designers

This openness allows designers to insert more content pertinent to the stories. The possibilities are endless, and you are not bound to any specific format. The only limit to content creation is your creativity.

Ray Jimenez
Ray Jimenez

Ray Jimenez is the Chief Learning Strategist for vignetteslearning.com and has spent 15 years with PriceWaterhouseCoopers in the areas of management consulting and implementation of learning technology solutions. Currently, Ray is the Chief Learning Strategist for www.vignetteslearning.com. Ray has worked with the American Bankers Association, Dollar Tree Stores, U.S. Force, NASA, Blue Cross, Goodwill Industries, Pixar Studios, California Institute of Technology, and many others. Ray is the author of 3-Minute e-Learning, Scenario-Based Learning, Micro-Learning Applications and Impacts, and Story Impacts- Using Stories and Systems to Impact Performance. Workshop participants describe Ray as fun, engaging, technically savvy, provocative, inspiring, and “has depth in e-learning experience and innovation solutions.”

Connect with Ray on LinkedIn.

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Creating Hyper Stories for Instant Learning

Connected workers need to learn quickly. Learn how to chunk big content and make it engaging for instant learning by telling stories.

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