Johanna Shapiro, PhD
Using Narrative to Enhance Learning in the Basic Sciences
To draw analogies between complex unfamiliar topics and simple known processes is a natural component of education. Science lecturers often open their talks with a comparison to a familiar process (the nervous system is like the telephone; the endocrine system is like the pony express). Our approach to the basic sciences builds upon this simple idea – we have developed narrative analogies for nearly the entire second year curriculum. We use stories, with characters and humor, to help learn and recall volumes of basic science information. By remembering one aspect of a character, we can predict the related physiology, so that the stories and science ‘make sense’.