Boost Learning in Presentations and Games

For those teachers who use games for learning and review, it's apparent the rise in engagement that they bring to the classroom. But, does this engagement and enthusiasm always lead to learning? According to research by neuroscientist Paul Howard-Jones, adding an element of chance can help further increase the chances of learning. It's just a matter of adding it at the right time.

For instance, the addition of a simple 50/50 chance of losing all points associated with a correct answer leads to more effective learning. But where in the process does the learning peak? I asked Howard-Jones via email and it turns out that the following sequence works well:
  1. student/team answers question
  2. student/team is given a 50/50 chance to "double or nothing" their points
  3. correct answer is revealed
It turns out that even if they lose points or answer incorrectly, the learning is still at a peak because of the state of mind of ALL the students involved. Good or bad, even those who are not answering have heightened awareness because they apparently enjoy watching their classmates lose points. Which is probably better than enjoying them getting no points because they answered incorrectly.

There are many ways to offer the chance, from coin flips to die rolls to online tools. The chance element can even be added to a typical presentation as Howard-Jones teamed with a gaming company to create a way to gamify a presentation using called Team Play.

It turns out that to increase the effectiveness of learning in (and out of) the classroom, students need to take a chance.

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