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Learning to Learn Interactively

Posted January 24, 2022 in News

Written by Jason Kelley, Xpanxion Technical Writer

E-Learning computer screen


The time has come to learn how to learn!

Learning seems like an innate skill that we all pick up at a young age, and that is true. Infants start to learn before they even record their first memory. From then on, we never stop learning, even in the most subtle ways. But it’s never too late to improve the way we learn. New processes and studies help us understand how learning works, where it comes from, and how we can train our minds to learn better. 

Technology has the capability to allow us to improve anything we want, if we have the patience to change our bad habits. One of the best ways to start improving your skills is to first improve the way you learn and retain information. But what is the best way to do that? There are so many educational opportunities available in the information age. Physical attendance, adult learning, and online courses are all great options, but which one is right for you.  

You may have heard that some people are visual learners or that they learn better by doing.

There may be some debate as to whether learning styles like this are supported by science or just personal preference, regardless of whether you have a preference or not, certain educational options have a “my way or the highway” approach. Traditional educators have their style of teaching, and that can be frustrating for people who have a preference. We’ve all had the teacher who would lecture for an hour as you sat quietly taking notes at hurricane pace. Students can often lose interest during lecture-style teaching. When they can interact with the material it creates an atmosphere of participation and promotes attention. A study from Carnegie Mellon University has shown that watching and listening to educational content was 6 times less effective than taking an active role in the learning process. 

There are so many ways to incorporate interactive learning into your education. It can also be as constructive for online courses as it is for in-person training. Students and teachers alike are gravitating towards interactive class participation because of its superior ability to give feedback as you learn, allowing you to correct errors before they become bad habits. In the case of physical or job-related activities, interactive learning incorporates practice into your education. This helps create reflex memory where reading and lecture education fall short. 

So, let’s talk about the interactive options that the information age provides. Isolation and quarantine due to covid has really introduced the general public, especially kids, to this kind of learning technology. We’ll separate them into two categories, interpersonal and technological. 

Interpersonal 

When you’re taking a course of any kind, be on the lookout for some of these interactive activities. 

  • Think – pair – share: This is a cooperative learning activity where your instructor will pose a question. You will then be given time to THINK about the answer. Next, you will be directed to PAIR up and discuss your answer with another student or students. Finally, your group will SHARE what you discussed to the entire class. With this method, you get the time to think about your answer and have it peer reviewed on the spot, creating a learning environment that encourages high-quality responses.  
  • Brainstorming: You will have heard of this one. Brainstorming is when a group of people work together by pitching ideas. Together they create a quick list to collectively find a solution to a specific problem.  
  • Jigsaw: Albert Einstein said, “If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.” The jigsaw method puts that to the test by dividing students into “Home” groups. The group is assigned one aspect of a topic to research. Then, each person in your group will go to other groups to teach your subject, while they teach their subject to you. Each group is given a piece to the puzzle, and as all the groups understand their own subjects, they bring all the pieces together.  
  • Competitions: Reward incentives can be a powerful motivator and teaching tool. A competition, like a trivia game, can turn a dry topic into a more interesting and even fun experience, with a high information retention rate.  

Technological 

Technology enables students to learn asynchronously.

That is, it can enable students to work without an instructor present and on their own time. When working at your own pace, you should seek out software that teaches you the way you want to be taught. Engaging material will help keep your attention when there is no one around to keep you on track. Today’s technology offers unprecedented game-based learning. Learning to play is as innate an ability as learning itself. Educational games are specifically designed to teach using interactive content based on the subject matter. Games can be the best way to practice skills and retain information. There are games to teach all kinds of subjects, some of the most useful are: 

  • Typing 
  • Programming 
  • Language learning 

These games are popular as they offer the ability to set and achieve goals and keep track of progress. Playing educational games incentivizes practical use of the material you’re learning. The entertaining nature of this type of learning encourages repeated use and information retention. 


VR Woman playing games


Some companies are adopting virtual reality and augmented reality technology due to the interactive experience it adds to training.

It helps workers visualize the task they need to preform and enhances their understanding by presenting manipulatable 3D models of these concepts. Mechanic apprentices can take a car apart without ever having touched a wrench, and architects can take a virtual tour of a house design before they print the blueprints. VR is bringing a kind of physical learning back to online platforms where practicing may have been previously difficult. 

There are so many more types of interactive learning principles, but the important thing in any type of education, is finding the one that works best for you. In the past, the people who had access to education were still limited by the type of education available. Today, the sky is the limit, and those who want to learn have the option to learn on their own terms. That's why we created Step IT Up Self Study Program on IT fundamentals. A self-study, self-paced online program designed for individuals who have no IT education or experience. See if Step IT Up is right for you, here. 


Xpanxion

About Xpanxion - Solving business problems with technology. We are software product engineering experts with over 20+ years of experience delivering the technologies, software architectures, processes and people critical to delivering success. As a trusted partner, we focus on business solutions and alliances that provide end-to-end value to solving our customer’s problems. We focus on providing best-in-class solutions by developing custom solutions with modern technologies or by delivering industry recognized off the shelf solutions.

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Media Contact: kchristianson@xpanxion.com

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