No matter what, you're going to have to do some learning. And not all of it will be fun. But if you learn how to make your learning materials more enjoyable, then the task will be a lot easier on everyone involved - from the learner to the teacher. This post is packed with ideas for making your materials interesting and engaging while staying true to the content of what needs to be taught. Plus, many of these ideas are great for teachers, because they encourage students to be more engaged and self sufficient.
"It's much harder to learn when you don't want to." - Robert H. Frank
1) Don't just teach content. In order to remember it and retain it you need a connection with it. If you put your learner in a passive position directly receiving content information without an interaction or challenge they'll likely forget the information very quickly.
2) Use storytelling. In fact, start with a story. Stories engage us and motivate us to pay attention. This makes it easier for people to understand the information that follows.
3) Keep content short and simple. Information that is presented in a large chunk will be more difficult to retain because learners are unable to see how it fits into their lives and the world around them. By breaking up your information into smaller chunks, you can make your content more memorable for your learner.
"What we're doing when we teach is telling, not showing."- David Perkins
4) Make use of multimedia. When learning is fun, students will take more interest in the material. You can also create your own multimedia content when you have it available. It's easy to do this using free online resources like YouTube or PowerPoint presentations. This way you can have some stuff you can reference later and it won't cost you anything either!
5) Give learners choices. By allowing learners to choose what they want to learn or how to learn it they are more likely to retain and remember the information. This could be a choice of what they want to learn, an activity or game that they will enjoy, or even a choice of when and where the learning takes place.
6) Apply your content. People are much more likely to remember things that have meaning in their lives now, not just things that might be important at some vague point in the future. Personify your content by letting your learner see how it can be applied in their everyday life.
7) Keep everything interesting. You want to keep learners engaged so you'll have to think of the unexpected, the exciting, or just some fun things. You don't want it becoming too easy for your learner to complete the task.
8) Challenge learners. Learners need challenges in order to learn and retain information. Not every learner will like every kind of challenge but how you challenge them is important. Provide them with opportunities to create their own learning materials so they can decide what they want to learn. This will help them feel more self sufficient as they aren't forced through a certain path that you've planned for them and can fail if it is too difficult for them.
In this article you learned the importance of keeping your content short, simple, and interesting while providing opportunities for learners to be able to choose how they want to study or what they want to learn about. I hope you enjoyed this post on making learning more fun!
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