Interactive learning is more effective because you’re having so much fun playing with the application you don’t even realize you’ve just learned something. In order to learn something and retain it, the information needs to be delivered in a way the audience finds engaging. That makes sense doesn’t it? Just like when you were little and your parents snuck vegetables into your food without you knowing about it. Oh, you didn’t realize there were peas and carrots in the tuna casserole?
Traditional classroom learning, especially during the public school years of Kindergarten through 12th grade, is marked by a given set of curriculum. There are certain things you have to learn before the powers that be will let you move on to the next level. That is true with everything you do in life. You can’t skip a level or a step and expect to be very successful, unless you’re a bonafide genius and let’s face it, we can’t all be Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking.
In the United States, the grade school through High School curriculum is basically comprised of Math, Science, Social Studies, English, Health, and sometimes there electives thrown in like Art and Music. Because our brains are not all wired the same, and because no two people experience the world the same way, we do not all have an aptitude for all of the course work that is thrown at us during our formative years.
This is where Interactive Learning comes in. Let’s say you’re really good with Social studies but not so good in Math. Rather than sitting in your chair and watching your eyes glaze over while picturing your GPA heading south for the winter with the blue jays, you can purchase an educational application that deals with Algebra, or Geometry, or any other form of Mathematics which will help you learn and retain the how to of the math problems in a way that you will be sure to love because its a game. It is a challenge.
What if you’re really good at Math and Science but not so good with remembering names of people who were alive six thousand years ago and what they did when and where? There are applications for history too, which put you in the Ancient or Medieval or Renaissance world. Experiencing a different world is why people travel to foreign lands. You’re traveling in a much more cost effective manner from the comfort of your living room, and you don’t even have to pack.
Given a choice between sitting through a painfully boring classroom lecture or sitting at home with your laptop playing an RPG, what do you think would be the student’s choice? The difference between some video games and educational applications is only what the objective of the game is. The more engaging the graphics, the music, the goal, and the challenge, the more you or your student will learn and retain from the educational application.
Example: Dungeons and Dragons. If you’ve ever met someone who was really into this game, and never understood what the draw was, consider this: Dungeons and Dragons, the table top version, is full of different characters, different worlds, different rules, books and books full of rules, and several sets of dice with different number totals on them.
When D and D people get together, they play for 6-8 hours at a stretch. What is D and D really? It’s 6 plus hours of Math and Statistics with a little bit of Fiction thrown in to keep things interesting. And they do this willingly, and they memorize all of the rules, all of the dice, what each set of dice is for and what you are and are not allowed to do with each characters strengths and weaknesses.
Educational Applications aim to achieve the same effect as D and D, with its consumers so entertained and engaged by the app/game, that the consumer is able to memorize, over time, every facet of the app. That is the goal. To learn, and to enjoy. Take that Study Hall!