“Why Exaggeration Works in Learning”

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Exaggeration is a potent method of bringing attention to an important or critical message. It’s humor and sarcasm underlies the objective of helping the learners discover the embedded learning content in the midst of a lighthearted approach.


More often than not we associate exaggeration with comedy films. We also use it as a way to cope with and lighten up an otherwise serious agenda.  Whichever way, it calls people’s attention.

Exaggeration works because we pay attention to exaggerated events in our lives. Let’s analyze your day. What situations call your attention?  What events or priorities gets you focused?  What urgencies arise that mobilize you to take action? Why do we call it “fire fighting”? This is not because people are negative. It is simply because we choose to focus on what impacts our lives at the moment and for the time being. We begin to reflect on the consequences. The bigger the consequence, the more we pay attention to it. This means we become attentive to what matters.

In the same manner, learners constantly focus on what matters to them too.  These are often high impact points in the learning process.  However, we appear to label them as “exaggerated” because there is a lot of emotional investment. There is a personal impact at stake.

In this video courtesy of the Xerox company,”Symptoms of Info Overload”,we are offered valuable insight into the usage of exaggeration to bring across an important message to its audience. It is humorous and exaggerated, yet it draws the learners’ attention to what impacts their lives. It helps them discover the embedded learning content underneath the lighthearted approach.

Click here to view the vignette.  Here below is a short description.

The vignette,”Symptoms of Info Overload”, is a wacky illustration of a serious matter that’s creeping into the work environment. You see, when a person begins taking in information beyond what can be handled by the brain, information overload happens. This vignette presents the stress and damage that Information Overload Syndrome, or IOS, brings upon one’s work and business. When this happens, then it is no longer funny.

Are you suffering from IOS? Do you know someone who is? How should you manage information and save yourself from IOS? Click here to view “Symptoms of Info Overload”.

How to Use the Vignette

Although the situation presented is specific, this vignette covers a wide range of topics, including conflict-resolution, work ethics and other management-related issues. This vignette is very useful for eLearning sessions that require your learners’ undivided attention, especially those that deal with specific situations that need to be resolved in a timely manner. Use it as part of your lessons or as a post-training test. Face-to-face, eLearning or webinar, this vignette is a sure way to push your learners to the EDGE. Vignettes are captivating and highly effective learning tools that can power up your classroom training, eLearning activities and social learning communities. Click here to view “Symptoms of Info Overload”.

Join us and tell us what you think about the vignettes and share with us if you have had similar experiences. Your feedback and insights are highly valued. Also feel free to send in your suggestions, comments, improvements or topics that are of interest to you. This can help us greatly in coming up with better vignettes, especially on topics that are of great relevance to you.

Ray Jimenez, PhD

Vignettes Learning
“Helping Learners Learn Their Way”

3 thoughts on ““Why Exaggeration Works in Learning”

  1. E-learning courses are among the most popular distance learning systems that we can have today, that even professional can benefit from.

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