In lots of teaching situations we focus on the right and wrong answers to things, which is a venerable paradigm for learning, but not the only one.
There is a less structured, curiosity-driven, paradigm which focusses not on what is absolutely right or wrong, but instead on what is surprising.
This is how most of us see learning and development.
That’s because the approach to training hasn’t evolved since Churchill was yawning at the back of a classroom. If the experience is fun, learners will stay curious and keep coming back for more. That’s not just a sneaking suspicion – it’s cold, hard, scientific fact.
You won’t be surprised to learn that the reason addictive drugs are addictive is that they hack the reward circuitry that dopamine is intimately involved in.
Perhaps the most addictive drug, cocaine, directly increases the amount of dopamine at work in your brain.When you learn a new thing, or get a surprise, there is a shot of a chemical messenger in your brain called dopamine.Dopamine is famous among neuroscientists for its involvement in the reward and motivation systems of the brain.The idea of fun in learning can be a hard one to grasp.Do you remember the last time you sat down just to learn something new or improve your skills at work?Often we will get blocked at a particular stage in our learning.A normal response is to try harder, and to focus more on what we’re doing right, and what we’re doing wrong.It’s a great way to introduce some exercise into the workday and it releases fun-inducing endorphins which reduce stress, improve health and make people happier. Our Engagement Engine Workbook is an interactive guide to help you find your fun, promote your values and culture, and create a tidal wave of behavioural change on all levels. This is not just a moral position, but a scientific one too.Rather than fun being a relief from learning, or a distraction from it, for most of our history, before school, learning had to be its own motivation.Brains that learnt well had more offspring, and so learning evolved to be rewarding.