10 Simple Rules for Learning

By AJ Juliani, 5 comments

1. Learning starts with attention. It’s almost impossible to learn if you aren’t paying attention. And whatever you are giving attention has the ability to turn into learning.

2. Attention happens for two reasons: Necessity and interest. Nature uses necessity to drive quick learning feedback loops. When we try to manufacture necessity (think: you must learn this because of a pop quiz tomorrow) a culture of compliance follows. When we allow for interest to drive attention, commitment to the learning process follows.

3. Relationships directly impact attention, and therefore, learning.

4. Learning happens inside our head. Understanding is demonstrated outside our head.

5. Technology is a byproduct of learning + creativity. Both must be present for technology to exist.

6. Learning has nothing to do with innovation. But innovation has everything to do with learning.

7. Intrinsic motivation will always outperform extrinsic motivation when it comes to learning.

8. Worms are better than strawberries and cream.

“Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: “Wouldn’t you like to have that?”

Dale Carnegie said this, and I believe it to be exceptionally true when thinking about engaging and empowering our students. What do they prefer? Start with that.

9. Learning doesn’t have to be meaningful and relevant. But, relevant learning experiences draw students in, and meaningful learning experiences stick with them. If you have the choice to make learning meaningful and relevant, you should go the extra mile every time.

10. Learning is wild, it’s messy, it’s free. Rules don’t often apply, including these ten.


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