A child’s first steps are a significant occasion – but I will never forget the first time our daughter did a complicated task. It was common to hear sounds when she turned over and bumped the interactive toy strapped to her crib, causing telltale squeaks. That day, however, we heard a sound caused by a deliberate action of twisting something on the toy. We rushed to her room to applaud her genius.
As parents, we provide the learning environment for our children through toys and interaction to engage their wonder and curiosity to stimulate learning. This is important because children soak up knowledge like a sponge.
Teachers become partners in educating our children and sometimes we are lucky to have some very innovative ones in their lives. I remember one of my daughter’s teachers in particular that was an outright gem. She engaged the students with extra activities to reinforce the ideas she was teaching in her Grade 3 class. One such activity, when teaching the topic of archaeology (I know…a little heavy for Grade 3!), gave the students a try at excavating fossils. To simulate an actual dig, the teacher gave each student a chocolate chip cookies and some little plastic utensils, toothpicks, and paint brushes. Their task was to act like an archaeologist and excavate the chocolate chips, without damaging them, as crumb-free as possible. They learned how difficult the task was, but they also learned patience, concentration, and a healthy bit of competition. Of course, some kids didn’t learn restraint, as they managed to eat the archaeological site!
Engaging and interactive activities help to reinforce knowledge that may otherwise go “in one ear and out the other”. Somehow, as we grow older, however, our fun and games from elementary school falls by the wayside and learning becomes much more rigid and dull. How many lectures have you endured with a “death by PowerPoint” approach? Who says that we have to quell the inner child and regiment our learning? As adults, we still love fun and games. At the very least, the annual sale of video games in the billions of dollars supports this fact.
At HSI®, partnering with Dialectic Strategies, we have successfully created eLearning modules that have brought back the fun and games for learning important information. The immersive, interactive nature ensures that gaining knowledge is not like bumping into an activity board at night. Instead, it deliberately creates mental pathways to store knowledge in our computer-like brains that have grown from the active sponges of our youth. It’s adult eLearning at its best.