Interactive is not always Active – Active Learning in Apps
Active Learning is one of the key approaches and nowadays an absolute must when making educational apps or games for children. With the help of experienced educational advisors it is possible to create truly child-friendly environment that will engage children, and at the same time will allow them to extend their skills and learn more.
So what is Active Learning?
Active Learning, or Experiential Learning, is the learning that happens “in the meantime”. Children develop their skills and their knowledge and understanding of the world by being actively involved in a meaningful activity. Since Active Learning is fully process-oriented, it happens naturally and there is no need to shape the experience in any particular way to achieve desirable results. As much as kids do not really need adults for learning to happen, our key role is to support the process. Offering gentle guiding, role-modelling and preparing enabling environments for unrestricted yet safe exploration are the most important elements in Active Learning. Children will extend their skills while observing adults’ model behaviours, and by asking for explanation or demonstration any time they need. Given opportunities children will experiment with the environment in their own way expressing themselves as individuals, manipulating contexts as they wish and taking the experience in the direction that is best for them.
A Challenge for developers
If you are serious about making good apps for kids, you have to incorporate Active Learning into your concept. Unfortunately, too many games for kids offer ‘old fashioned” ineffective and demotivating approaches to learning by putting too much emphasis on the learning aspect itself and making it the “core” of the game. What happens is that the game instead of being an entertaining adventure full of inspiring contexts is either a mere test or it resembles a boring school lesson where you have to memorise things you don’t necessary need. Learning should happen “unnoticed” and the educational content you want to deliver needs to be “smuggled in”. And this “smuggling” is a real challenge – a test that still not many developers can pass.
Make sure you have an experienced education advisor at hand to help you with your Script. They should be able to effectively incorporate the principles of Active Learning into your game concept or Script, or will help you rebuild your already existing app and take it to the higher levels in Edutainment.
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