Using Analogies as Explanations

Back in my high school Spanish class I struggled to learn a new verb form. It didn’t fit into the neat little list of “I,” “you,” “he,” “she,” “we,” and “they.” I had no clue what to do with it. Then someone informed me, “It’s basically ‘y’all.’ You use it when talking to several people at the same time.” Of course! It suddenly made sense. Using analogies as explanations can be a very helpful tactic, as long as you have the right analogy.

Why Use Analogies?

Analogies are used to make comparisons. If you can liken something new to something the learner already knows and understands it will increase their comfort and rate of uptake. In short, the learner gets a head start if they can connect the new information to something familiar. This happens because the analogy helps them “fill in the blanks.” They can skip from being a complete beginner to having a higher level of understanding in a short period of time.

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