The Unstructured Map of Limited Infinity

Last night Ariel and I had a long hangout flushing out some ideas about how HCC fits in with the “real” life of our players. She graduated from an herbal school in Northern California a couple of weeks ago so we were exploring how best to continue her studies. She was feeling flustered with our new format (that’s good, games spring challenges on players). I asked her what kind of learner she was.

How much structure does she need? The ideal learning environment adapts to different  learning styles. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. On the one hand, we have a growing “google maps” of herbalism unfurling within the program…room to explore all of the various continents of healing. For those who are independent adventurers capable of bushwhacking their own trail through the wilderness, this is paradise. They flourish when left to their own keen sense of direction…leave them alone, they’ll bring back treasure.

Others look around and see too many choices, fear getting lost and probably  waste a lot of time wandering around unproductively or they stand paralyzed hoping a seasoned traveler will know the way. They need a clear road map.

And then there’s a wide spread between the two…degrees of structure alongside degrees of free-range investigation. So how do we adapt the learning game to accommodate all of these styles?

First, we draw attention to the need for self-knowledge. Can you answer the question? What kind of learner are you? If not, the herbal coach assists in finding out.

Next, we create individual learning arcs…ranging from “hands-off, we’ve got a pure free-ranger” to comfortable stepping stones arcing through the modules according to what our players really want to learn. Do you know what you really want to learn? If not, it’s another coaching moment.

In Ariel’s case, she’ll work on her own learning arc. Right now it looks like this: focus on the energetics section in Introduction to Herbalism, which cuts over to the History module where energetics intersects with the development of different schools and ascends to contemporary views of medicine, over to the Plant Intelligence module where we see the empiricist philosophy & vitalism gaining scientific credibility, going down into the depths on the epigentics/human biological energetics module. Of course, this could change as Ariel reflects on own needs…we also agreed that we ought to have a module on death. That might be the end point of that arc, before it reincarnates and we begin again.

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