Brownlow, Rosalind (2015) Tales from the Cardioverse: Exploring the Lived Experiences of Learning Through Online Entertainment-Education. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

In the last decade entertainment-education has emerged as a key educational approach to promoting personal and social change amongst the general population in mass media contexts such as radio and television. Audiences of entertainment-education are commonly presented with educational messages embedded in soap-opera style dramas that are designed to prompt individuals to explore their values and beliefs and make positive choices about their actions and behaviours. Its use with learners in higher education is however limited and there is a paucity of research regarding its transferability to the online learning environment.
In order to understand how nurses learn through online entertainment-education in the higher education context I interviewed nine registered nurses who had studied in these circumstances using Interview Plus technique. The interviews were taped, transcribed and subsequently analysed using Smith and Osborne’s (2003) steps for Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis.
Parasocial learning emerged from nurse learners’ experience of entertainment-education as an active, reflective response to an emotional encounter between a nurse learner and an online character. It promoted changes in nurse learners’ attitudes leading them to act as change agents in the clinical environment. Alternatively nurse learners engaged in monophonic learning. This unilateral approach appeared lead to a reduction in their communicative capacity and their sense of therapeutic agency.
The online learning environment appeared to enhance the experience of learning through entertainment-education by facilitating social support for learning. Nurse learners were able to increase their social capital through online social networking; a sense of identity concealment in the form of a virtual mask appeared to liberate them to participate. Some nurse learners however seemed to experience a sense of identity revelation in the form of a virtual window which inhibited their willingness to contribute.
By promoting parasocial learning it seems entertainment-education has the potential to enrich the nursing curriculum. It places the patient voice at the centre of the educational experience and stimulates nurse learners to shape care. It seems entertainment-education can be usefully adopted in higher education with nurse learners.
The online learning environment appears to be an appropriate media for learning through-entertainment-education. It affords an increase in social capital through meaningful social interaction and promotes freedom to participate through a sense of identity concealment. As liberation through identity concealment was not a universal experience approaches to identity concealment/revelation would need to be carefully considered.
Monophonic learning emerged as an alternative experience of learning through entertainment-education. As the factors that influence the adoption of monophonic learning remain unclear they would benefit from further exploration.

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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