24 Methods for Writing Specific Examples

The purpose of the learning narrative is for you to tell the story of your learning by using specific examples, as we covered in the previous section. But let’s break that down just a little further.

There are two kinds of specific examples that work well in the Educational Narrative, as well as a way to think about phrasing your examples that links it strongly to the Course Outcomes:

Specific Instances

First, is the “one time” or “one day” example, in which you recall a specific day or incident, and use that to display your ability to implement the Course Outcomes. This is a specific segment of time–the day you had to fire your friend for inethical behavior, or the day you had to pull all your coworkers together in a snowstorm to address and build team unity over a disagreement; or the time you facilitated between a disgrunted client and coworker who had missed a deadline.

Generalized Applied Knowledge

The other example is the “many times” example. In this, the volume of your experience speaks more clearly to the Course Outcomes. In other words, the pattern of your actions exhibits your learning better than a specific moment in time. For example, if you’ve led your office through three external audits, you might be able to say that each time you divided up preparation responsibilities, reviewed reports, led coworkers to review receipts, prepared portfolios, etc. This is weeks or months of work, so we don’t need the daily play-by-play; the larger overview serves as a specific example by outlining the process and including all the details and steps involved.

A strong Educational Narrative will ideally use both kinds of examples

Strategic Use of Terminology

As you write the above kinds of examples, think carefully about the words you’re choosing to describe your experiences. Use terminology from the Course Outcomes to clearly link your prior learning to the class. You may want to research or browse the textbooks used in the class to get a feel for a few phrases or ways of presenting ideas, to show that you’re able to both talk the talk and walk the walk.

Remember and Utilize Learning Theories

Recall which learning theory you most identified with back in Chapter 1. Review those theories and think about how they might apply to the experiences you brainstorm which match course objectives. How might your understanding of those learning theories help you tell your story and show your learning? Would they be beneficial to show the stages of your learning in your examples/case studies in your Educational Narrative?


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