Learning, Boredom and Fun Analysis

Executive Summary

This survey experience was very interesting and made me really think about my learning experiences growing up as a kid as well as my experiences as an adult. I first browsed through the summary results and noticed the following. As already discussed, there were more female than male responses. I noticed that over 92% of respondents were required to listen when surveyed about a boring experience and not required to be very actively involved. Those who described a fun experience indicated that they were engaged in several different types of learning and activities during that experience. In browsing through the responses I also noticed the following:
• A majority of the experiences in a boring setting took place in a high school or college course
• Boring experiences included mostly lectures and memorization with no active learning
• These experiences were described as sitting and listening, non-engaging, non-thought provoking, not hands-on or real world experiences
• Fun experiences took place on field trips, business trips, events and training seminars.
• Fun learning experiences were described as real world learning, hands on, memorable, exciting, engaging

I noticed a trend in the surveys that when asked about the boring experiences, respondents seemed to want to forget them and not discuss them in detail, whereas when respondents described the fun experiences they were glad to discuss them and had many good things to say. The experiences were in more detail because they were memorable.

What makes learning boring

After reviewing the data as discussed above I can make the following conclusions:

Learning is boring when it is in a lecture form, and does not involve the learner in the process. It is not so much the content although some did state that the content itself was just too boring. What made experiences most boring were when students sat and just listened or watched content.

As one respondent stated: “I had to sit still for almost an hour without talking and moving. The class takes place at a fairly early time for a Sunday, and I am not a morning person! I had to watch a man speak on a video, who was NOT extremely animated or energetic. There was very little interaction in class that day. When the video was over, our small group leader lectured for awhile, but we had very little opportunity to talk or ask questions.”

This was stated over and over again, “the instructor was boring and we had little opportunity to interact.”

What makes learning Fun

I was able to make the following conclusions after reviewing the data under fun learning experiences. Respondents who described fun experiences described those that were engaging, that had the learner thinking, interacting, discussing, listening, watching and not just sitting and listening. The experiences described were usually real world or field trip type experiences or even “virtual field trips” inside of classrooms. When asked why or what made the experience fun, many respondents stated that it was “interactive” or “the professor was lively and engaging.”

One respondent stated about his experience:

“It was in the evening, and I'm a night person. It's very casual, so I know that I don't have to sit still for too long. The instructor is very interactive, lively, and easy to talk to. I'm amongst friends, so I feel comfortable stepping out of my comfort zone and sharing. I know that someone will say something to make me laugh every time I attend, and I feel valued, because they make time to hear what I have to say.”

Implications

I think this research has many implications. It really revealed quite a bit of information about what makes experiences boring and what makes them fun. What would be even more interesting would be to conduct a study with two professors teaching the same material. One instructor would teach in lecture, monotone format with no student interaction. The second instructor would teach in several modalites with an extreme amount of interaction among learners, real world experiences and field trips. Then assess both courses using a common assessment of content material, and see who actually learned more about the content. I am sure this has probably been conducted, and I have a strong guess that the second class would be able to do much better when asked about the course material. To sum up the study, when students are actively engaged they learn more and are able to recall more information.