In their book Surprise, Tania and LeeAnn share how we can understand the science of surprise to embrace the unpredictable and even to engineer the unexpected so as to improve our work, relationships, and even learning.

Whether pleasant or rudely shocking, we go through 4 phases in surprise: freeze, find, shift and share. To me, the shifting of paradigm that surprise brings is something that certainly caught my attention as this is an aspect of learning which I am trying to understand better.

As a proactive teacher, I feel that the section on engineering the unexpected would hold much treasure, and I am not disappointed. I quickly associated the chapter “Make Experiences” to what we would like to call experiential learning.

On the spectrum of commodity, service and experience, they suggest that there is an increasing level of surprise in the interaction. From such a perspective, it led me to consider the clear difference when  we see learning as a commodity (filling buckets with information) versus providing a rich and memorable learning experience, This is how I would like to define “experiential learning”.

Tania and LeeAnn provided 4 experience-making tools:

  • Create a red thread – unite the elements of your experience with a  single theme or recurring message.
  • Activate the senses – excite each of the senses (especially the ones that tend to get overlooked).
  • Co-create – invite participants to help make the experience.
  • Map the Journey

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I can see how these can enrich experiential learning, or perhaps even define what experiential learning should be.

In Mapping the Journey, isn’t reflection and lingering questions a great way to wrap up any learning experience? What are your thoughts?



About pauseability

An educator at large and learner at heart. Founder of Pauseability. Encouraging everyone to learn to pause, and pause to learn.
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