Social Learning Through a Participative Storytelling Framework: Rethinking the Essence of Course Engagement

Social Learning Through a Participative Storytelling Framework: Rethinking the Essence of Course Engagement

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6956-6.ch003
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The shift from face-to-face learning and talent development environments into virtual and online learning environments gives an opportunity to rethink what may be described as the essence of the course learning environment. The focus shifts from face-to-face controlled structures into a more participative storytelling framework that reflects social learning efforts. The essence of course engagement changes into a participative storytelling framework that embraces concepts highlighted by Gomez in his 10 commandments: brand essence; story world; design and development blueprint; obtain the creative talent; common resource that includes goals, mission, vision, and values; content matrix and cross-content progression; incentivized support; validation and reverence of socialized course engagement; participative storytelling framework marketing alignment; and array of participative engagement from online to blended to face to face. Reimagining Gomez's 10 commandments highlights the strength of participative storytelling frameworks within the essence of course engagement.
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The year 2020 and into 2021 introduced a pandemic that was initially not realized as a seismic shift to the teaching and talent development world. From children’s K-12 schooling to higher education that includes medical education, from business and industry to military training, and beyond, the reality of swift changes and depth of impact were clearly felt. No matter the area of practice, the pandemic immediately shifted from face to face, on-site training that touted the nuanced power of socialized and personal engagement housed within a four walls and butts in the seat approach to a virtual world in which rethinking the essence of learning and talent development was at the core and the crux of the situation. How would teachers, trainers and instructional designers who heretofore had embraced only face to face traditional styles of training swiftly move into a digital world? How would teachers and trainers with no experience, no training, and potentially a fervent aversion for online learning opportunities pivot into the online world of training and talent development?

Initiating the chaos is the pandemic and subsequent shutdown in the stated attempt to control the pandemic outbreak. Yet from each decision is realized the expected and unexpected aftermath. As communicated by Khanna and Khemka (2020), “In chaos theory, the butterfly effect describes a small change that can have massive, unpredictable consequences. An insect flaps its wings and, weeks later, causes a tornado. The coronavirus is more like an earthquake, with aftershocks that will permanently reshape the world” (para. 1-2). The amplified ripple of cultural shutdowns on all levels of impact, from school closings to business shutdowns, from furloughed employees to significant numbers of citizens losing their jobs, to countries shutting borders that also includes trade routes, all reflect the immediacy of impact and subsequent aftershocks that continue far into the distant future.

This immediacy of impact is reflective of the Digital Age, wherein “…in the hyperconnected world of today, dense global networks enable butterfly effects to ripple and amplify far more rapidly” (Khanna & Khemka, 2020, para. 4). Yet within this hyperconnected world, educational institutions along with learning and talent development departments realized that their only viable option was to shift into an online learning and training environment. This online training framework through which to educate the constituents was novel to many realms within teaching, learning, training and talent development worlds, yet the stakeholders and the audience of learners remains the same. Meaning that the participative storytelling framework, the essence of course engagement, remains the same, with the primary caveat being a differentiated reimagining associated with the subject matter, styles of engagement, as well as understanding the social learning shift from face to face into online perceived and real interactive activities. These interactive activities build upon a learner’s cognitive engagement in the learning process as well as the learner’s developing framework of understanding.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Stakeholders: These are persons who have an interest in something, whether monetary, emotional, or a wager.

Participation: Choosing to engage and to be included in an experience, an event, or a social encounter. Within this discussion, it is the choice to engage in an instructional experience that is meant to be motivational in nature, or may be a cognitive experience wherein the learner engages in an instructionally appropriate event towards achieving a learning objective.

Social Learning: This is a theory created by Albert Bandura, suggesting that cognitive learning and understanding occurs within a social context that embraces the abilities of observation, correlative connection, and reinforcement.

Butterfly Effect: Founded within chaos theory, this suggests minimal changes to a condition can result in significant and potentially impactful outcomes.

Chaos Theory: Suggests a randomness of understanding around complex patterns. These may be described as dynamic systems that reflect irregularities and is extremely sensitive to negligible fluctuations or moderations in situation.

Engagement: This is an action, whether physical or cognitive in nature, that reflects participation, involvement, and an association within an experience. Within this discussion, it is reflective of social engagement within a learning environment.

Seismic Shift: This is a significant change or shift in a situation. This may focus upon many experiential or occurrence-focused change or movement in traditional understanding.

Participative Storytelling Framework: This is a form of engagement that supports the learner’s efforts towards analyzing, designing, developing, and creating a style of subject matter understanding. The empowering ability to share information through narrative means, engages the learner within a social learning theory understanding.

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