Makings of a Memorable Learning Experience

Christine Johnson on

In a previous blog, I wrote about learning using all 5 senses.  Recently, I had another chance to up my experiential learning with an out-of-the-box experience.

While I like to find out-of-the box learning experiences, I sometimes fail to launch on these because I do not like to take risks.  Last week I had the opportunity to do something way out-of-the-box and I said “Yes.” Not exclamation point worthy “yes’ at first.  And honestly, not exclamation point worthy during it either.  But at the end, my punctuation changed to an exclamation point (!) for many reasons.

My sister is a fanatic of a local amusement park, Six Flag Great America.  She was selected to participate in filming a commercial for the inaugural season of Holiday in the Park.  She asked me to go along with her.

As I already mentioned, I reluctantly went.  Yes, it was cold.  Freeze-your-toes cold with a slight breeze off Lake Michigan.  Brrr!

And even though I was close to miserable at points, I had a learning experience that I will not forget.

Makings of My Memorable Learning Experience

Knocked me out of complacency: When I got there, I did not know that I committed to being there to at least midnight. (A small piece of information my sister failed to share.) I had to dig deep to complete the task from beginning to end.  Until I was involved in the experience, I did not realize that I needed the night to push me out of day-to-day complacency.

Physical and mental abilities tested: Anyone who knows me will tell you I am always cold. For the video shoot, I needed to be more aware of my body.  Was I really that cold or could I go further?  I learned that my tolerance for cold grew the more focused I was on the task.

Saw life through a different lens: We miss a lot when we don’t pay attention. Shooting the commercial made everything slow down.  Details were checked. And re-checked.  Angles were chosen.  As a participant, I had to be present in the moment.  Had pay attention to my actions more than I do in the average day because they were being recorded.  My awareness of myself and my surroundings was super focused.  I experienced the event instead of passively walking through it.

The camera crew at work

Networked with folks outside my norm: Spending 8 hours working and waiting (and more waiting) with people, whether you want to or not, you get to know them. And for me, that was the exciting part.  I had the opportunity to talk to the VP of a roller coaster enthusiast organization, aspiring actors, a college student looking to do something different for an evening, a production assistant who had worked on America’s Got Talent.  Among many other insights, my interactions with the participants helped me learn about what motivates people to come out in twenty-degree weather.

Had unexpected fun: I have to admit it. I had some fun too. From using over exaggerated expressions to the laughter we had between takes, I had a good time.

Moral of my story?  Next time you are asked to participate in an activity outside of your typical calendar of events consider it.  It could be your next great learning experience in the making.

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