Wednesday, March 13, 2013

eLearning in the Conceptual Age

Our belief. At Vignettes Learning we use stories in eLearning; however, we make them interactive. The emphasis is getting learners involved in the story and not just telling the learners the story.
Synthesis. Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind, could give story-based learning developers something to be happy about. Pink evaluates the importance of context and narrative verse facts. In Cat Normoyle’s review, she writes that Pink considers memory and personal identification with a story much stronger and long-lasting than statistical information.
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In the introduction of his book, A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink writes that “there is a seismic - though as yet undetected - shift now underway in much of the advanced world. We are moving from an economy and a society built on the logical, linear computer-like capabilities of the Information Age, to one that is shaped by the inventive, empathic, big-picture capabilities of what’s rising in its place, the Conceptual Age.”

Interestingly, Pink encourages the development of the six senses in the Conceptual Age so that we can complement our Left -Directed reasoning by mastering six essential Right-Directed aptitudes. According to Pink, these six high-concept, high-touch senses can help develop the whole new mind this era demands:
  • Not just function but also DESIGN.
  • Not just argument but also STORY.
  • Not just focus but also SYMPHONY.
  • Not just logic but also EMPATHY.
  • Not just seriousness but also PLAY.
  • Not just accumulation but also MEANING.
eLearning developers can take a cue from the six aptitudes and make it as a guide in developing our modalities. We need to ask these questions:
  • Are our designs emotionally engaging or are we just designing to comply with functionality?
  • Are our stories compelling and persuasive or are they argumentative and dogmatic?
  • Are our storylines "symphonic", capable to reach across boundaries and provide the big picture or are they merely stating a synthesis or an analysis?
  • Do our themes encourage empathy and help people interconnect?
  • Are we taking advantage of gamification and interactive technology in order to make elearning more appealing, engaging and entertaining?
  • Are we motivated by mere financial gains or are we also moved by our passion to teach and become innovators in elearning?
But the blog that is almost as parallel to Pink’s insight of the story in the context of the Conceptual Age comes from In Sparks Learning Design - Igniting Learners to Think; Washing Hands Vignettes. In that blog I wrote:
“Roger Schank , author of ‘Tell Me a Story’ says, people’s brain have incomplete stories and the brain wants to complete stories, hence, it is always story searching, making, sorting, creating, matching, adding, etc.

Jürgen Schmidhuber also essays a similar thought – ‘We learn from the past; self-correct; single idea.’

In essence, stories are what keep conversations going. They create sparks in our wired brains that cause us to recognize certain events we can relate back to, in our personal real-life situations. Listeners begin to share experiences and learn from one another.

In learning, I firmly believe that if the learner does not have an interpretation of the story, he or she has very low involvement or engagement with the story. Consequently, they may not discover what you want them to learn.

This is the essence of creating vignettes - small, narrow, pockets of topics where content learning is strategically embedded.”

Read my related blogs:
Improving 21st Century Competencies thru Storytelling
Making Facts Stick With Stories - Jiggling Atoms

References:
Cat Normoyle, Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind introduces the Conceptual Age
Executive Book Summaries, A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to Conceptual Aga

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