‘Allo ‘Allo! And why everyone loves the predictability in e-learning

Allo Allo
Part of the cast of ‘Allo ‘Allo (BBC)

‘​Allo  ’​Allo! was a British sitcom that ran from 1982 to 1992, comprising an impressing eighty-five episodes. The sitcom entertained millions of people for ten years with hysterical set pieces from the set of a small-town café in Nazi-occupied France.

It tells the fictitious story of René Artois, a café owner in the French town of Nouvion and has a basic storyline throughout the entire series, upon which are hung classic farce set-ups, physical comedy and visual gags, amusingly ridiculous fake accents, a large amount of sexual innuendo, and a fast-paced running string of broad cultural clichés (for example the Italian captain Alberto Bertorelli).

The popularity and success of the sitcom goes beyond the fact that it was a BBC made show, and there had a vast audience in a time when there wasn’t much to choose on the tv or that a laugh at the French and German stereotypes was garantued. No, it lies mainly in the complete predictability of every episode, and of every character in the show.

And contrary to what a lot of people believe, this precise predictability is the key success to every sitcom, movie (for example: everybody knew in 1997 that the Titanic would sink, and still it was one of the most succesful movies ever), commercial, etc. etc. And did you know the spoiler alert actually doesn’t exist?

People love predictability as they love to know the arrival and departure times of their trains and airplanes (no one loves a spoiler alert on the airport: “No, sorry sir. I can’t tell you at what time you’ll arrive at your destination. Or if you will. Just wait and see and enjoy the ride!” No, predictability is the key. People want to know what’s ahead, so they can prepare themselves for it, and know what or where they should look for.

When it comes down to (e-)learning, people also don’t like surprises and want clear and well structured courses, with no real surprises in it. Of course a little easter egg or small surprise is nice to have, but it shouldn’t be of much influence on how a learner uses a course or on the final result. If a learner knows what we he can expect from a course and what it will be asking of him and is not confronted by weird twist and turns, the learning outcome will be at it’s best.

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