A Blog by Lunebase
Spotlight

Using pop culture for inspiration

If you’re anything like me, you’ll often need a healthy dose of inspiration to start down a positive path.

Just one look at my new years resolution list shows where I’m being most influenced. Whether it’s the motivation I need stop spending so much time on my phone, or push myself around the skate bowl, it’s often parts of modern pop culture that have the ability to affect, and inspire, each of us.

When we’re learning new skills, or trying to motivate others, we can use pop culture to help inspire, or even act as a framework to hang the take-home points on.

Take one of the greatest TV adverts of all time: the iconic Guinness horses. With a bit of parody, we managed to turn it into a motivational animation for a step-it-up wellbeing campaign, designed to help encourage workplace teams during a 30-day challenge to hit a target of 10,000 steps per day.

Pop culture is everywhere. Even though we may not love every part of pop culture, we are all at least comfortable with some parts of it.

By using experiences we are familiar with, and in alternate forms like a parody, we can make the intended outcome much more memorable, or even that gold standard – inspiring.

To once again use the Guinness campaign – good things come to those who inspire (and wait).

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Spotlight

Education through Storytelling

Access your internal harddrive for a second. Scan your brain and ask your own memory: “what’s the greatest teaching experience I’ve ever had?”. This might be a tough question, because it’s hard to judge successful teaching. Is it based on how much you learned? How fun the teacher made it? Ultimately, it comes down to being memorable – but what makes teaching worth, well, remembering?

We predict that, more often than not, the story behind a lesson can be more influential in its sticking power than anything else.

Storytelling is the oldest form of teaching. It brought early human communities together, giving children the answers to the biggest questions of creation, life, and the afterlife.

Stories define us, shape us, control us, and make us. Not every human culture in the world is literate, but every single culture tells stories.

So how can you incorporate storytelling into the learning you deliver? Here’s our top tips:

  • Open with a hook: It’s what the pros call an ‘inciting incident’. You can hook the reader in by presenting a problem that encourages them to continue.
  • Keep it simple: Complicated stories aren’t necessarily better. Profound impact is often found when you take a complex idea and reduce it to a nugget that can be remembered.
  • Set the scene: Creating an environment for your story is crucial. Make it one that relates to the overall picture of what you’re teaching.
  • Make relatable characters: The main character of your story should be relatable to your audience. You want them to root for the character’s choices and decisions – then they’ll feel invested in their outcome.
  • Have your story provide an answer to a problem: Every story has a theme or meaning. When you can tell a tale that provides a solution to a problem, it’s more likely that the story will take on a deeper meaning when it solves a problem in real life.
  • End strong: Close with an important take away point. The ending is the last thing (duh!) your students will hear.

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Spotlight

Embracing mistakes

The team at Lunebase continue to develop their surfskate skills. The process involves getting knocked down, dusting off, and getting back up again. A period of reflection of what went wrong. And when we’re feeling brave enough – having another go, until, eventually, we nail it.

For many of us, the issue with making mistakes is that they appear to be a reflection on ourselves. In fact, David Elkind’s classic description of an “imaginary audience” may not be so imaginary these days. Social media means that we often feel as though we are under scrutiny no matter what we do. We may be only keen to show the “highlight reel”  of our lives, a perfectly curated version of ourselves – but this means hiding the mistakes we make along the way.

This cycle of learning through mistake-making is well recognised. In her 2017 paper “Learning from Errors,” psychologist Janet Metcalfe claims that avoiding or ignoring the mistakes children make at school appears to be the norm in American classrooms—and it may be preventing children from achieving their full potential.

Read on for our tips on how to integrate mistake-making into your opportunities for growth:

  • Fail first, then learn: In another study, researchers in Singapore identified the value of “productive failure” in learning. They separated seventh grade mathematics students into a “direct instruction” group and a “productive failure” group. The “productive failure” went on to significantly outperform their peers in complex problem-solving and flexibility.
  • Be wrong, be confident: If productive failure appears to enhance learning, so does overconfidence. Multiple studies suggest that the more confident you are in the wrong answer, the more likely you will remember the right answer after you are corrected. In one study, students answered questions on a quiz and rated their confidence level in each of their answers. Then they were given feedback on their incorrect answers. Researchers discovered that students were more likely to correct their initial errors during a final test if they had been highly confident in them.
  • Adjust the learning context: “Let’s try this another way.” In the same study of fourth to sixth graders’ mistakes, emotions, and coping strategies, researchers suggested that the context for learning may be important. Students may find it more emotionally challenging to work in a small group when they’re having difficulty, and may be better served by working privately. So consider providing options to kids who may need a little space to flounder.
  • Encourage persistence: “Keep trying. Don’t give up!” A 2017 studydemonstrates that when adults model persistence in working toward a goal, infants as young as 15 months tend to mimic that behaviour. Persistence can be learned. As teachers, we have a lot of power to influence our students’ efforts by sharing our own vulnerability and identifying our own self-conscious emotions, our stops and starts during problem solving, and our commitment to keep going. Students who engaged in the “regret and repair” style of coping still felt guilt when they made mistakes, but more importantly, they continued to engage and keep trying – while also being gentle with themselves.
  • Model self-compassion: “Be kind to yourself when you’re confused; it’s okay.” If we model and normalize the ups and downs of learning with our students, we can also share the power of self-compassion. They can learn to think: “This is tough, and I don’t get it. I’m not alone here; other people get confused just like me, and I’m going to cut myself some slack. It’s okay to not know the answer right now.”
  • Focus on resilience: “Even though this is tough, you will find your way.” When researchers reviewed over 38 studies of resilience in response to failure, errors, or mistakes, they found that more resilient individuals had higher self-esteem, lower levels of perfectionism, and a more positive way of explaining past events (eg. “I failed the test, but I know now that I must study more for the next test”). However, having high academic self-worth and practicing emotional suppression in the face of mistakes were not linked to resilience.

If teachers can help their students focus on skills and strategies that enhance resilience, students will learn to cope better, recover more quickly, or at least start heading in that direction. These are tips and techniques that translate well into other relationships, such as mentorship or leadership in the workplace.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that American teachers and students tend to avoid talking about mistakes at school. However, there are good reasons to rethink our approach to mistakes so that we can help our students to flourish – both academically and emotionally.

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Spotlight

Learning through gaming

Here’s a fact to impress your friends: The gaming industry is worth more than the music and film industries combined. Current computer games bring immersive, engaging and complex storylines along with powerful social experiences all in glorious high definition, a far cry from clunky 2D gameplay days of yore.

But how can we use these technologies, and more importantly the principles of gaming, to learn and develop? Well, human beings are hard-wired to learn through play. Think back to your childhood – from dress-up to Monopoly, some of the most powerful learning experiences come through games.

You might have heard the term ‘gamifying’ applied to all manner of industries and platforms; its central ideas, built on philosophies of play, are simple:

  • It’s all about the story. A good narrative stimulates the creative side for the player.
  • Continuous feedback. Let players know how they’re doing. Encouragement goes a long way.
  • Reward learners often. This keeps them enticed, and more likely to keep playing.
  • Aesthetics matter. The more immersed a player is, the more likely they’ll invest themselves.
  • “Gotta catch ’em all!” Let learners unlock badges, new levels or tools to help them on their journey.
  • Gradually add complexity to keep things interesting. A feedback loop keeps things fresh while also giving a sense of progression.

Psychologists have studied the many types of human learning in depth. They found that gamified learning has distinct benefits:

  1. Gamification lessens students’ fear of failure – failure is integral to learning, but in the classroom it can be a source of shame. Gamification is proven to encourage failure and reattempt learning, without embarrassment.
  2. Gamification makes learning visible – allowing players to stay orientated to their progress and goals.
  3. Gamification increases motivation – bringing focus on a sense of achievement, social interaction and deep immersion.
  4. Games are familiar – unless you’re Tom Hanks in Castaway, we’ve all probably played some sort of digital game.
  5. Gamification can make learning a personal experience – allows learners to take a sense of pride, ownership and identity over their development.

So when you’re next considering how to best tackle a complex task, develop a new set of skills, or even get into teacher mode, why not think about how you might gamify your approach?

PS: At Lunebase, we’re using the principles of gamified learning in our plug-and-play digital campaigns for teams. The learning experiences promote competition, remote social interaction and increase with engagement with a slice of fun on the side. Want to learn more? We’re but an email away!

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Spotlight

Finding happiness in hobbies

The past month at Lunebase HQ has brought with it a new hobby for one of our founders, Aaron. Keen to prove to his young sons that he’s still as young and hip as ever, Aaron’s been tearing up the streets on his new surfskate (actual footage of Aaron in action 👀).

What is a surfskate you might ask? Simply put, a surfskate is a skateboard for surfing the street. Surfskates use special trucks that enable riders to mimic the feel and flow of a surfboard.

Many of us would call leisure time one of the most important for our wellbeing. It gives us time to focus on something we enjoy, so that we can relax, refresh and recharge.

But what is it about taking up a hobby that makes it so exciting and beneficial?

The benefits of hobbies are well studied, and include:

  • Better physical health. People who scored higher on the enjoyable activities test had lower body mass index, smaller waists, lower blood pressure, lower stress  hormones and better overall physical function.
  • More sleep. While you may think that a hobby will take up too much of your leisure time or cut into your sleep, it’s proven to be the opposite, aiding in more positive and restful sleep.
  • Lower stress. Try crochet to cut the cortisol.
  • Happiness. People who often participate in activities they enjoy tend to have greater life satisfaction, and feel their lives have a greater sense of purpose and meaning.
  • More friends. Spending more time on hobbies and leisure pursuits was associated with having a larger and more diverse social network.

Creative outlets outside of work also make for improved performance in your day job. A study of 430 workers found that having a hobby gave workers a chance to recover from the demands of their jobs, increase their sense of control, and become better at creative problem-solving while working.

(Our tip: Don’t pick a hobby just because it will help you at work! Pick a hobby that makes you happy, any other improvements will be just a bonus.)

When was the last time you tried a new hobby? How about a surfskate?

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Spotlight

Five top tips for living green

There’s no debate about human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases being the biggest driver behind climate change. Recently, climate change has again made the headlines in the wake of a newly-published UN report on global warming, which some environmental experts have dubbed “our final wake-up call”.

This fresh press has got us thinking… 🤔

The science is clear. Earth surface temperatures are rising, and extreme weather phenomenon are either increasingly likely or already happening. We’re concerned. Here at Lunebase, we’re proud to be fully powered by renewable energy. And while we understand that the actions of the few outweigh those of the many – Oxfam reports that the world’s richest 10% cause double the CO2 emissions of the poorest 50% – we also recognise that every individual has their part to play in helping the planet, and collective action is the only way forward.

But what does the science say are the best steps we can take to reduce our carbon footprint?

First, let’s look at the numbers. On average, the UK contributes 12.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide (equivalent) to the atmosphere, per person, per year.

And if we break that down in terms of the impact of daily activities, we can see how individual adjustments can, collectively, make a huge impact (thanks BBC):

Read on for our take-home top tips for reducing your carbon footprint:

  1. Avoid the car wherever possible, or trade it in for a shiny new Tesla.
  2. Try to adopt a plant-based diet, or where possible, reduce your consumption of meat and dairy.
  3. Long-haul flights should be the exception, not the norm. If travelling to the continent, try the Eurostar!
  4. How well insulated is your loft? Not only will this one benefit your carbon footprint, but we all enjoy shaving a few pounds off the heating bills.
  5. Speaking of which, how about replacing your gas boiler with an electric heat pump? They’re set to be a key part of the UK government’s plan to make UK homes greener over the next decade.

Wellbeing Champions Newsletter

Monthly collection of news, wellbeing updates, lifestyle tips, and feel-good stories - delivered right to your inbox every third Thursday.

☕ Five-minute round-up. 🤐 No-spam ever. 👋 Unsubscribe at any time.
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