Unconventional Learning Experience


(permanent link) added: 2010-09-27 17:07:10 sponsor: DBAce9Aura (last reply: 2010-09-27 17:16:00)

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Definitely heard this one a million times. Sorta Needs a Better Description. It Needs More Examples. Subjective enough to require a Troper Tales tab. Rolling Updates.

The show you're watching is not made for educational purposes, nor is it a total Aesop magnet. It most certainly isn't full of And Knowing Is Half the Battle sequences at the end of each episode. But in spite of all that, you start inspecting the series in depth and in full detail and come to the conclusion that it's most definitely not the negative influence that the critics and folks keep on claiming it to be. Thanks to the various wikis and fansites that show up all over the internet, this trope has grown more and more persistent, to a point where small bits of Genius Bonus are uncovered. Keep in mind that series that invoke this do have their fair share of Aesops, but the educational value probably isn't going to come from them.

Examples

Comics

Live-Action TV
  • NCIS is definitively not educational, but between all the movie references that Di Nozzo brings up from nowhere and how he gets weird plans from them (and Abby, of course), people can learn a lot about movie classics just by watching the series.
  • Mythbusters

Meta
  • According to TIME magazine, Steven Johnson argues that SimCity taught his nephew about taxation issues, and that even a segment of one The Legend of Zelda game had enough detail to "bury the canard" that it is passive entertainment. That and the idea of The Simpsons complicating the Sitcom genre, among other things.
  • Porn, if you're learning to draw anatomy.
  • Watching/reading works in foreign languages
  • Some people say that Popular Culture is itself an education, one we receive subconsciously through being immersed in pop-culture. (there's more to it, like concepts of emotional education and such, but you get the gist)

Tabletop Game
  • Dungeons & Dragons can easily be considered as a long arithmetic problem that is oddly enough personified as a fantasy adventure.
    • In fact, Tabletop RPG games in general can be classed as such as well.
  • Even Plugged In admitted that the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG had the educational benefit of helping kids practice math.
    • There are also many cases in which parents report that the Pokemon TCG taught their children basic math skills as well.

Theater

Video Games
  • You can learn a lot about China's Three Kingdoms Period from Dynasty Warriors, and a lot about the Sengoku Era of Japan from Samurai Warriors... just as long as you remember to take it all with a grain of salt. If nothing else, you might get interested enough to look some of the characters up, just to see how much they were changed - and better yet, how much of the awesome, far-out stuff was actually REAL!
  • The Assassin's Creed series fit this nicely. While a lot of it is fictional, the people and places (besides the protaganists) are very very real.
  • Both Age of Empires and Civilization can arguably count as a more interesting way of learning about history.
  • Sid Meierís Pirates! certainly taught a lot of people the geography of the Caribbean.
  • There are many gamers out there that claim RP Gs taught them how to read, or helped learn a second language.
  • Medal of Honor and other First-Person Shooters set in World War II can teach younger players about (though not that accurate at most cases) American history.

Western Animation
  • Things that can be learned from Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Martial Arts
    • Eastern Philosophy/Metaphysics
    • Traditional Chinese Characters
    • A total solar eclipse lasts around 8 minutes.
  • There was a story of a boy who saved his friend from choking by using the Heimlich Maneuver, which he learned from The Simpsons.
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