Session 2: Sucker-Punching the Interest-Based Learning.

Learning Creative Learning -MOOC’s second session is happening today. It’s about Interest-Based Learning.

By this point I should’ve read the articles and reflect my thoughts on them. Haven’t done that. Been busy.

Instead of reflecting the articles, I’ll do this blog post the other way round. I’ll write my thoughts on interest-based learning, from kids’ perspective, and I’ll revise my thoughts after reading the articles.

In other words: from this point onwards, I’ll take a sucker punch to psychology of learning: it’s IMHO time.

First: it all comes down to id, ego and superego.

Id is the animal in us. Instincts and reflexes, wants and needs. Ego’s of knowing the self and organizing its needs, it’s about decision-making and self-awareness. Superego’s the moral, ethical self which reflects to the society around us.

The id, as in need of food, sleep and comfort, is something that’s there from the first breath. Ego and superego do start to develop early, but they can’t control the id during our early lives.

In other words: the kids are more about id than the grown-ups.

Since the kids are more about id, the learning processes are and should be tied to just that. The kids learn by satisfying their senses, and, vice versa, kids are effectively taught by giving them sensory satisfaction.

And here we come to interest-based learning. Kids’ interests are tied to sensory satisfaction: when kids are interested in something, it means that the interesting thing is satisfactory to kids’ senses. In teaching and learning, this can and should be turned the other way round: we should make teaching processes satisfactory to senses, since doing that gets the kids’ attention.

It’s clear that kids are less able to overcome unsatisfying sensory conditions than the grown-ups, whose egos and superegos can overcome the id-animal in us. And, again turning this the other way round: I think the learning processes of grown-ups should be tied to interest, sensory satisfaction and id more often.

Summa summarum: the interest-based learning is closely tied to classical conditioning:

  1. Learning should satisfy kids’ senses. Bright colours? Nice pictures? Physical objects that are nice to touch? Sweet tastes? Good smells? Bring them on!
  2. When a thing is learned, a reward should satisfy kids’ senses. Rewards should be thought in a broad manner. A reward is a piece of candy. It’s the satisfaction when two pieces fit together. It’s the compliment, it’s a hug, it’s a pair of nice shoes.
  3. Grown-ups too should and could learn through interest i.e. sensory satisfaction more often. While ego and superego can force grown-ups to learn by reading dull scientific articles, it might be efficent to make learning processes that satisfy also the id.