I haven’t read any of the Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer, and now I don’t have to, thanks to the reviews at Pop Suede. (I started with the third, the one for Twilight: Eclipse, but here they’re in what I think is the proper sequence.)
Review of Twilight:
Review of Twilight: New Moon
Review of Twilight: Eclipse
What’s the point (other than a teensy bit of humor)?
It struck me that, based on the little I’d picked up from newspapers and online, the Pop Suede folks have done a great job of capturing the plot of each book, then tweaking it enough that you see both the textual source and the satiric object. It’s like a wildly informal approach to… a book report.
Understand: I no more want everyone churning out lolcats book reviews than I want another couple thousand terabytes of online-learning Jeopardy quiz. But think what it took to put these things together: you had to grasp the key points of the original book, weed stuff out, and then express your understanding in a way that communicates.
It’s that kind of reworking and recasting of a complicated set of ideas that helps foster learning, not a 20-item multiple-guess test at the end of the half-day module on Twilight: New Moon.
I once needed to mitigate the effect of the typical marketing department information dump. New victims employees were sentenced to hear 90 minutes’ worth of feeds and speeds about three major products. So I asked the product managers to agree to a new format in which they’d present for only an hour, take a short break, and then participate in a discussion with the new hires.
This is how I explained the “discussion” to the sales folks, immediately before the first presentation:
We’re going to have three one-hour presentations today.
Yeah, I know, but after two of them, you get a 15 minute break.
Look on the back of your name card. You’re in one of three groups based on the colored dot.
At the end of each presentation, I’ll name one of the colors. During the break, that color group has 15 minutes to make a pitch on “the 10 main ways to sell [whatever the product is].”
After the break, you make your pitch. The rest of you get to ask questions, kibitz, figure stuff out.
At the end, the Product Manager will jump in.
Yeah, it was manipulative. Hey, I’d been working with sales reps for a while.
Some of the things I had in mind:
- Reduce potential product-manager-induced sleep by 33% (one hour instead of 90 minutes).
- Increase attention, at least in the first session, since the sales rep didn’t know if he had to work on the pitch till after it was over.
- More breaks than expected (a feature, but for most folks, a benefit).
- Rethinking / reworking by the sales reps replaced canned product-manager summary.
- Product manager got to hear what the sales reps thought were the main sales ideas.
In a way, it was very formal learning: one-time, face-t0-face, scheduled. We even had mediocre coffee, pastries, and PowerPoint. But we also got the salespeople doing what their jobs called for: thinking about the products and how they could sell them to potential customers.