Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Learning by Context

Education is not the simple direct process people think it is.

When you give a kid 10 encyclopaedias, he/she doesn't learn them all by heart. People, including children learn and remember by context. By memorable information. 

I had over a dozen encyclopaedias and general knowledge books reference books when I was younger. I simply used look at the pictures and read a little of the text if the pictures looked interesting enough. That's a lesson for learning designers. Focus on visual information and cues as much as possible. As little text as possible.

But that's not all. You still have 500 pages in your book full of information that the reader really has no reason to be interested in. Which is why that information has to be put in context that's interesting to the reader. My books were full of information about dinosaurs, but I had no reason to remember this information until I began playing Top Trumps card games about dinosaurs. It was the same with animals, cars, bikes and football. Playing these card games gave me a reference point for these topics. Browsing through my humongous books now became a slightly more productive exercise, as I'd stop to read and learn a little more about dinosaurs, animals cars or bikes when a picture caught my eye.

This is why children need to be exposed to as many specific stimuli as possible. Let them develop their own likes and ideas. Then back these up with a lot of easy reference material. Both of these are essential for building knowledge. Just one is not enough. A person is more apt to learn about Ancient Greek mythology when they have watched a film or cartoon about it and then a book or Wikipedia. Wikipedia itself would be next to useless. Because there's no motivating factor in studying a lot of information. The film provides context, and reference points that the book builds on.


1 comment:

Melvin Dsouza said...

Which is why sex is looked up so often on the internet.

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