Confucius counseled to ‘choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life’. His advice, whether good or bad, has been repeated so often that it has become an undisputed truth. Nevertheless, a modified form of it applies to the process of learning.
Many believe that when you enjoy something you learn more and faster about it than when you are simply force-fed the material. School books are boring because they are devoid of life and fun. On the other hand, it is fun and enjoyable learning to experience learning during an excursion or field day.
There is a close relationship between fun and learning. People who have fun learn faster and more. Playing a game is an enjoyable pastime. Yet, it is also a creative act of learning without being perceived as one. Making learning an enjoyable activity, increases the ease, the fun and the joy associated with successful learning. Herein lies the top secret of better learning.
What practical steps increase your joy of learning? There is a multitude, among them:
- Create a pleasant learning environment
Standard classrooms kill the joy of learning. Let students rearrange them to create an enjoyable and stimulating learning environment. Make sure it can be quickly and creatively adapted to the changing subjects. Everyone quickly finds the pleasure and joy of learning in an open, adaptable environment.
- Give students options
Traditional learning regulates what, where, how, and when students do and learn something. Consequently, they are not motivated. Give them choices, let them instead select sub-topics, books, visual and audio media, let them do exploratory work they can then present as ‘experts’ to others.
- Let students create things
When learning is solely bound to books, student creativity and initiative dies. Allowing students to dabble and tinker within the subject matter, sets free creativity and reintroduces joy into the learning process.
- Encourage reading good books
People love good stories. They are told in fiction, adventure and sports, nature and animal books, and in non-fiction books of many kinds. Motivating students (or yourself) to start reading books (again) and to share the experience with others increases the joy of learning tremendously.
- Use multi-media, social media and the Internet
The Internet gives us unprecedented access to almost unlimited information to an infinite number of subjects. Multi-media and educational materials present topics in pictures, videos, graphics and sound – not only in boring text.
These comprehensive multi-media presentations appeal to many senses and thus are fun to watch. They make learning an enjoyable activity like play. Who does not love to play? Moreover, multi-media materials on the Internet are often interactive. Therefore, students can literally have fun playing with their subjects of study.
Finally, social media are the epitome of interaction and the fun of learning. People share and learn from each other in a fun and enjoyable way.
Joy has returned to learning.