Playlists! An Exciting Innovation

Playlists! An Exciting Innovation

During the summer I attended an exciting workshop sponsored by Vibrant Faith with leader Kathy Pittenger, the Children's Initiatives Coordinator for the Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church.  Kathy is an enthusiastic early adopter of an innovative idea known as Playlists. Playlists are transforming faith formation for the home, for individuals of all ages, for inter-generational settings, and more! Playlists offer a path to flexible, interest driven, learning and engagement. It incorporates both asynchronous and synchronous learning.

A Faith Formation Playlist is a curated set of short, often simple activities centered on a theme or single concept that may include gathered and digital (video, online, audio, print, etc.) experiences.  It weaves together a variety of activities based on a common theme in short form or micro-learning experiences which deepen and enhance knowledge and comprehension, skills development, and practice. 

Playlists are designed to include activities that incorporate the many ways we learn (multiple intelligences learning based on the work of Howard Gardner) and is practice oriented learning.  A Playlist may use a variety of learning methods and media such as short stories, art, brief video clips, games, learning apps, faith or spiritual practices and more.   

2 common ways to create a playlist center on either: 1. a menu approach of faith forming activities centered on a faith concept, topic or theme such as who is my neighbor, kindness, communion, etc. or 2. a sequenced learning design (where the pathway is more carefully designed to lead the learner) that may also center on a theme or topic is a series of 4 movements based on the work of Dr. Bernice McCarthy- Engage/Explore, Create, Perform/Present, and share.

On a menu style Playlist, for example, a learner might have a dozen choices of 5, 10, or even 15 minute activities designed to engage them more deeply in a concept based on a Gospel parable, for example.  The learner chooses and decides, what to read, watch, do, practice, etc. from a few choices in each of these categories. They learn at their own rate and may choose based on their own learning preferences. The pattern suggested by John Roberto of Vibrant Faith is Read, Watch, Participate, Listen, Pray and Reflect.  The pattern is presented in a linear style but does not need to be engaged in the linear pattern.  For instance, one could begin by listening and then participating and reading. Or any combination of these movements through the content.  It's that flexible .. and yes, you can start a Playlist and go back to it or repeat it.

Personal opinion- these Playlists are accessible, easily crafted, creative, and offer leaders and learners alike an opportunity to discover and deepen faith at one's own pace and in a manner the learner finds most comfortable. They have a great potential to transform and are suitable for contexts of home, church and community. Shaping discipleship can be fun!

Want to know more? Link to these sites and documents to learn more.

LIfelong Faith-Designing Playlists

Examples of Playlists

Vibrant Faith Catalyst-Designing Playlists



karen ziel.jpg
Karen E. Ziel

Karen works in partnership with the team to guide congregations in self-assessment and discernment, and to provide or suggest effective programs for clergy and lay leadership development.  Contact her to: Connect your congregation with the tools and...

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