Gamifying Education [7 ways to make learning fun]

Have you ever noticed how people slog away on a single level of a game like Candy Crush?
Many of these same individuals don’t consider themselves as persevering and won’t slog away in similar fashion in their academics or real life.

Why is that?

How can these games make someone work so hard even though they don’t consider themselves a hard worker?
How can we use some of these principles to design better learning experience?

Here are some of the...

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Positive reinforcement vs negative reinforcement

If your child got a C+ on his test, what would you say to him?

What if he usually gets D minus? That’s progress, right?

You can scold and scoff at them for getting poor grades.


You can say, "Well, this is an improvement. I am glad you worked hard to improve your grades. Is there anything I can do to help you further improve this?"

The first option, i.e. making them feel bad, may work. It might also have the side effect of them trying to avoid...

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Curiosity, Carrots, and sticks

Learning is primarily driven by Curiosity, Carrots, and sticks. Self-image and expectations also play a big part, and it affects all three.

Sticks Sticks refer to verbal or physical punishment for the work not done.

While popular, it doesn’t work all that well, leaves physical and mental scars, and is bad for long-term motivation.

Since this motivation is coming from the outside. As soon as the sticks stop or stop to be a threat, we see a sharp decline in...

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What did you fail at today?

Ask your child "What did you fail at today?"

Sara Blakley is the founder of Spanx, and a Billionaire.

In an interview, she told how her father encouraged her to try new things without fear of failing.

My father gave me an unusual gift growing up. He encouraged me to fail. So sitting at dinner table with my brother, he would ask " what did you fail at this week?" and if we didn’t have something we failed at, he would actually be disappointed.
And I can remember coming...

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Reappraise emotions to perform better

If you are feeling anxious, tell yourself that you are excited and you will perform better. Telling someone else that you are feeling excited is even better.

The way you think about your feelings, and how you label them, affect those feelings.

When you feel anxious, your focus narrows, you become hyper-vigilant and it harms performance on many tasks. 

When you feel excited, it helps your performance. It raises your energy, level of effort, and enthusiasm. 

If you can...

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Rebuke the action, not the actor

Don’t say "you are a bad boy". Instead, say "Good boys like you do not behave like that."

Our actions are consistent with our self-image i.e. we behave according to how we see ourselves.

If you think you are an honest person, you may still lie but it would make you uncomfortable and you would want to avoid it as lying is inconsistent with how you see yourself.

In the early years, parents and teachers can help shape the positive self-image of a child by carefully choosing...

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