The Four F's of Distance Learning: Fun
There’s few better ways to engage students than by making learning fun. Of course, that’s easier said than done! How do we make dry or difficult content into something that students feel motivated to do?
Fun versus work
Often we think about fun as being the opposite of work. We think of it as something that’s free from thought or conscious effort. But in practice, fun goes hand-in-hand with learning. When we have fun, our brains release a powerful dose of feel-good endorphins. We come to associate that action with positive enjoyment, and this makes us want to repeat it. Learning requires concentration and repetition, so making the learning process enjoyable is a great way to encourage engagement and enhance learning acquisition.
Try to include one fun activity per week with your students. Not only do fun activities improve memory-retention and promote self-learning, they also serve as an effective motivator, helping to sustain interest and boost student participation. Even better, incorporating fun activities will incentivize your students to do the not-so-fun activities!
Fun learning in practice
Fun activities don’t necessarily have to be a game. They could be something hands-on, like a craft project or science experiment (using materials found around the house). Your activity might involve your students taking photos or recording a video of themselves completing a project. On video conferences, you can use breakout groups for interactive or team activities such as quizzes.
Look for opportunities to gamify learning. Challenges, teamwork, competitive tasks, regular feedback and completion rewards are all great ways to incentivise students. When tasks are personalized and interactive, they’re likely to be much more memorable and productive.
For big incentivisation pieces, consider taking a virtual field trip or scavenger hunt. Draw up a checklist of challenges to complete (with rewards for the students who complete them all successfully). Or, create a list of materials for students to gather across a week - these can then be used for an art or science project. Or else you can make use of digital tools. Museums, planetariums, zoos and nature parks offer virtual tours. Give your students a treasure trail or quiz to complete and let them explore!
Fun activities are a great way to incentivise, motivate and engage students in their learning. Look for creative ways to incorporate hands-on or interactive activities, and remember to make use of completion rewards and digital tools.