If you’re having fun doing something, you’ll probably want to keep doing it. When fun is incorporated into the learning process, you’ll want to keep learning. Marlon Doll and the team at Humorcials.com know this, and it’s the basis for their new series of educational videos on topics designed to help people reach their full potential and get the success they want. We talked to Marlon recently about his goals for the website and the videos he’s producing.
7S: What made you decide to start this website and create these videos?
MD: About two years ago I felt like my life wasn’t progressing how I had imagined it to. I realized I would have to start make some drastic and continuous improvements in my life and mindset if I wanted to reach my goals. To jump-start my personal growth, boost my confidence, and motivate myself, I decided to backpack through South East Asia. I saved up and started my journey where I spent three months travelling 6 different countries.
My adventure had plenty of solitary downtime so I began reading much more than I ever had. I was particularly good at finding authority sources of information and interesting articles and videos online. In my research process, I discovered many fascinating but unconventional and overlooked skills such as Speed Reading and Lucid Dreaming. I was attracted mostly to topics that would add significant value to my life. To help the information sink in, I would apply the techniques and would teach what I had learned to other travelers. The people I taught were enthusiastic about the topics and it sparked my desire to reach a much larger audience.
It bothered me that people were so unaware of these valuable life skills. The information was accessible but the majority had never heard of it, or their original introduction to the topics made it seem boring. So I thought, if I began creating humorous but informative videos on these subjects, I could potentially get people interested and the humor would aid in retention; this would also force me to apply these skills and principles to grow in my own life and help me achieve my goals.
When I arrived back from South East Asia, I enrolled into an Entertainment Business Management Program. Fast-forward a year and a half later with a ton of new skills, I presented the idea to a few friends and colleagues. From there, Humorcials and the Success with a Punchline series was born!
7S: You’ve got a funny video about speed reading that’s already gotten thousands of views. What are some of the self-improvement topics you’re working on right now?
MD: Thanks for thinking it’s funny! We have had many great responses to our first few videos. We currently released 4 videos on Lucid Dreaming, Speed Reading, Accelerated Learning, and Introvertism. We also have a couple more in the process of editing at the moment! The next two that will be released are “How to Avoid Procrastination” and “How to Make a Great First Impression”- titles pending! The next one we’re filming is on the topic of Focus and Concentration, which we are all really excited to shoot and share.
7S: How do you get the ideas for your videos? Are they things that you want to learn yourself, or do people contact you and suggest topics?
MD: We have a growing list of topics based on life skills we have acquired or want to learn more about. So far we have started with topics we think our audience will value the most from learning. We usually start with a solid understanding of each of the topics, but once we choose a topic, we delve into various sources of information, scrutinize it, and start applying the techniques into our own lives. We take note of authoritative information and the most effective techniques and, as a team, compile what we’ve learned. We try and repackage the more valuable takeaways into funny succinct videos. We really want to cover the most important points to give our audience a solid understanding of the topic, even if they’re just being introduced to it.
That being said, we are extremely interested in what our audience would like to learn more about. We are easy to get in touch with by email or any of our social media channels, so we encourage anyone and everyone to contact us!
7S: In a recent blog post you talked about making learning part of every day, by listening to podcasts while you clean house or exercise or commute to and from work. Doesn’t it make it harder to concentrate on what you’re hearing if you’re also focused on doing something else, like scrubbing the kitchen floor?
MD: I’m a strong believer in life-long learning. Our brain is a muscle and if we do not continue to exercise and grow it, then we risk not reaching our full potential. Worse off, we risk facing cognitive deterioration and possibly mental illness as our bodies outlive our brain. Use it or Lose it.
Everybody has downtime in the day; being able to learn in that downtime is greatly beneficial. In our present information age, the more you know, the further you will advance in your personal and professional life. We are overloaded with valuable and free information in various forms. The tough part is avoiding psychobabble and having the time to source and absorb the information that will add value to your life. Cleaning your kitchen, going for a run, or commuting are all great opportunities to listen to free podcasts as they are all relatively low mental activities. You don’t need to consciously think about these things as you already know how to run or scrub the floor; why not reserve your mental processing to the podcast or audiobook plugged into your brain.
On the other hand, working or doing homework while audio learning is counter productive as your focus will just be switching back and forth which is highly ineffective. You can multitask but you can’t multi-think. Just remember to give yourself time to reflect on what you just listened to, get your thoughts on paper, and recite it to your friends or teddy bear!
7S: You also mentioned that a good way to make sure you’ve learned something is to teach it to someone else. Do you recommend that people add humor into this process of teaching others, like you do with your videos?
MD: I strongly believe teaching is one of the best methods for memory retention. Teaching forces you to have a better understanding of the material, improve accuracy of recall, and to apply your knowledge more effectively.
I do recommend that people add some fun and humor when teaching others. People tend to tune out when they’re bored; effective humor keeps people engaged, reduces anxiety, and can make the learning process much more enjoyable. The most effective teacher I had in Film School would add bits of humor into every lesson. This kept the energy levels high and his lessons more memorable.
However, it’s also about balance. Too much humor may cause your pupil to lose focus on what is being taught as your mentally preparing for the next joke instead of the information. One term for this kind of learning is Edutainment. Edutainment is learning through a medium that both entertains and educates. Think Sesame Street, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Magic School Bus. They were all highly successful edutainment programs that effectively taught my generation and others outside of the classroom. With the Success with a Punchline series, we strive to create excellent edutainment videos with an optimal balance of humor and information for effective learning and enjoyment!