From: Videogames revolution and informal learning by Bronwyn Stuckey
"Can we claim to be learning because we are engaged?"
From: Debriefing "Just Three Words" Game by Ann Busby
in reply to my post questioning what was being learned from "Just ThreeWords". "I want learning to be fun, not drudgery"
From: various threads about how children learn vs adult learning I've been wondering "Doesn't it seem like kids have fun learning just about anything, any time, anywhere as long as it's not in school?" Plus, outside of structured teaching environments, I just haven't seen a significant difference between the way that kids and adults learn.
I believe that learning is fun, it's one of my strongest motivators. I also believe that most teaching and instructional methodology is designed to remove the fun I find in learning. Why? I have no idea. I know that people/rats/ etc repeat behavior that is rewarded. What the reward could be for ignoring decades of theories and observations that indicate that different people learn in different ways continues to escape my understanding. However, I have a strong suspicion that George Washingtoncan supply a piece of the puzzle.
Look at what passes for "fun" in most teaching/training environments- a game such as an ice breaker or a Flash simulation. What the training community is slowly learning is that the participants deem a game that isn?t tied into learning something about the topic a waste of time. Why isn't that reaction always reflected on the smiley sheets? I've eavesdropped on many coffee break and post training informal discussions for years and noted that even when the majority is dissatisfied with the "fun" that was imposed on them, they never notate it on the evaluation. Why? The reasons that I hear again and again are variations of "didn't want to make the trainer feel bad", "other people seemed to enjoy it", or "I've just learned to deal with it because everybody does it."
I've learned to redefine "fun" as "F.U.N." (Focusing onUnderstanding Needs). What does the learner need to learn? What need is motivating this learner to learn? When a learner is learning what they need in an environment that motivates their learning, that's when I'm having fun because I'm successfully applied "F.U.N."
I was just looking at the Maslow Hierarchy and trying to align different levels of motivation to what that level may consider a fun way to learn. It seems to me that externally motivated people are motivated by social recognition and belonging, internally motivated people have fun controlling their own quest for knowing. This closely aligns with how different personality matrix split personalities between task driven and socially driven types.
Looking at the different ways people are motivated to learn explains a lot to me about the different reactions from different types of learners to games andother training/teaching techniques. Try a nonsense game that's not tied to the topic with a classroom of engineers, programmers or successful salespeople and feel the room go cold. Those functions tend to attract task oriented people who are internally motivated. Try that same game with trainers as a audience and you'll feel the room go warm and open. I verystrongly suspect that's why trainers view sales, engineering and IT audiencesas "the toughest audience". Trainers tend to offer training based on the Golden Rule "Do unto others the way I want to be done unto" and that doesn't match the diverse needs and motivators of their learners.
I've always found it better to apply the Platinum Rule "Do unto others the way they want to be done unto". To me, the Platinum Rule encapsulates the essence of "F.U.N." and how it can be applied to support informal learning processes that meet the needs of many different definitions of "fun". I use it daily to continuously remind me that my definition of fun isn't the same as other people's definition of fun.