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How do you make learning process enjoyable for students?

In one of my previous posts, we said that it is important that kids have fun in the learning process to ensure effective learning. If the student wi ll enjoy the experience, like they do with games, there will be no need for coercion or external motivation. Let us look at this in some more detail and also draw some ideas from sports and video games to achieve this in real life.

Research, by comparing studies with sports, has shown that learning process can b e fun if there are 3 elements in it.

Learning experience must provides the right le vel of challenge for the student: Challenge or difficulty in a task makes it interesting and provides a sense of fulfilment at the completion of the task. However, for the experience to be enjoyable, it must challenge us just the right level such that it is not too easy, that we do not have reasons to feel satisfied at the end, nor must be it so difficult that we feel dejected and give up. This is a fine balance. So how do we do this in real life? 

  • The content should be suitable for age and skill. It is often difficult for the teacher to do provide customized content in a class of 50 students. However, studies in smaller groups, computer based training programs etc could be effective solution
  • Competition with self and peers provides challenge and sense of accomplishment, irrespective of the task. Working in small groups could be an effective solution

Learning experience must provide real time, actionable feedback: We all want to know the results, be it for a competition, lottery or client feedback on the just completed project. This is holds true for the kids too, infact even more so. They want instant gratification. They want to know the outcome ASAP. Video games, sports give instant results, good or bad also show you where you need to improve. Long wait is not for them. So, end of year results for some thing that you learnt in June will loose relevance and meaning. For learning to be fun, it must give some feedback daily in a way that they can understand.

Learning experience must provide reward and recognition: The progress made by the child must be rewarded and must be recognized. The reward could be small or large, but it must be rewarded. Again look at video games. If you cross a bridge, or conquer a dragon, you get rewarded by increase in your score, increase in your size in the game etc. This matters. It fosters a sense of achievement. Additionally, there must be recognition. The learning process must provide a way so that the achievement can be shown and shared with others. This could be a medal, badge, certificate or even a written note. Anything tangible that the child can show others and feel proud of. Its like high score list in the games.

Hope you find these ideas insightful. Would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the same. 

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