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Keywords:

  • popular culture;
  • HRD;
  • adult education;
  • cultural studies;
  • television;
  • horror;
  • science fiction;
  • learning theories;
  • critical theory

Abstract

Too often, educators, researchers, and practitioners in the fields of adult education and human resource development rely on traditional curricular materials and an academic body of knowledge for teaching, evaluating, and training adults. This assumes a coherent body of prior knowledge, assumptions, worldviews, and experiences in their students that can enable them to seamlessly connect to those materials. Of course, the reality is something different. Yet within the arena of popular culture, diverse individuals often share an enthusiastic, unifying space called fandom. It is in this shared social space that holistic meaning-making and transformational learning may be given succor. Through facilitated discussions around issues examined in popular cultural artifacts, sensitive and disparate perceptions can be explored and new, more critical worldviews can be examined. This article provides an overview of recent research on the intersection of popular culture and human resource development as it relates to workplace learning and workplace assumptions and attitudes. It explores innovative and alternative ways of framing workplace learning on a variety of topics and discusses the use of popular culture for critical workplace pedagogy.