Experiential Learning in Yoga

I had a job interview last week, in which one of the questions was about experiential learning. My answer was incomplete, as job interview answers always are (seriously, I need Hermione’s Time Turner. Please?), but it go me thinking about Yoga.

I’ve been doing Yoga with some regularity for about seven years, and every once in a while, I realize how far I’ve come in terms of strength, awareness of my body and balance. But I digress.

My favourite yoga teacher at my favourite yoga studio is Emily. I’m on to her approach now: in an 80 minute class, the first two-thirds are poses that are accessible to intermediate students. Some refinement is needed, but these are poses I know. Poses that I practice, refine and improve. It’s familiar learning. And then sometimes at the end, she’ll point out that all that was in prep for a pose that is advanced; a surprise culmination of what we’ve been working doing.

What she’s done is broken down a complex and intimidating pose (a performative task) into smaller, achievable goals that we’ve already demonstrated mastery over. She takes all these successes and together they form a stretch goal (pun entirely intended). And sometimes I fail at the stretch goal, but I see how it fits together and how my building blocks are improving and how they fit into the developement of a more advanced knowledge and mastery.

So in conclusion to my interviewers; experiential learning is partly about breaking down a task in to smaller components, and then having the learner demonstrate mastery of those steps though repetition and refinement, until they can culminate in the practice of the summative evaluation.

 

Make a list

I’m reading the Checklist Manifesto right now, and you might accuse me of confirmation bias, but I’m totally right.

  1. Write a list
  2. with clear deliverables
  3. in the order they need to be done.

Every month I have to send out a newsletter for our organization, and it’s one of those routine things that I know I have to do. About a year ago, I was busy with other emergency tasks, and this one nearly fell off the radar, and I had to rush myself and my colleagues to get it out (nearly) on time. And that was silly, avoidable stress.

Every month I start with the deadline (when to send the newsletter), and work backwards. So simple, and entirely supported by the Checklist Manifesto, which calls checklists “quick and simple tools aimed to buttress the skills of expert professionals” (page 128).

Now I can spend more of my time with work-related puzzles like how to maximize our use of Google Adwords (AND explain it to my colleagues).

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