Why do people lose enthusiasm for learning

Enjoyment of learning - experts demand more joy in learning

Child loses the fun of learning | © iStock.com/ejwhite

Those who enjoy learning save new knowledge much more easily and get better grades - this connection is obvious to everyone. Because what you like to do, you usually do well. But do teachers and teaching really motivate them sustainably these days and lay the foundation for good performance? We wanted to know how much fun it is for students to study for school and at school. To this end, we had 860 schoolchildren and 1,005 parents surveyed by independent market research institutes. The result of our study: Most children enjoy learning at least sometimes. But the reluctance to learn grows with the age of the students.

Only a third of the students enjoy learning

The vast majority of the students surveyed, namely 52 percent, have mixed feelings about the Ox. The positive and negative effects: Only a third of the students said that learning was always fun for them, while 15 percent did not enjoy learning for school at all. In general, the longer children go to school, the less they enjoy learning. While only eight percent of the six-year-olds “rarely” enjoy learning, the figure is 27 percent among the 13-year-olds. A frightening result for us.

No fun means less success in learning

It makes sense that not every child has a smile on their faces when solving math problems or the like. “Having fun” in learning doesn't necessarily mean having fun and laughing, “rather the term means motivation and enthusiasm”, says Daniel Bialecki, managing director of scoyo. And both are essential prerequisites for successful learning.

The educational entrepreneur Béa Beste, founder of Tollabox, compares the phenomenon of learning fun with a kind of flow feeling “that arises when we pursue an activity that is just below the limit of excessive demands. We are interested, we can achieve something, we are good at it and we deepen ourselves in the activity. ”But the joy decreases the longer the children go to school. The consequences are fatal: “In many families, the term learning has a negative connotation,” says Bialecki. It is not uncommon for parents and children to quarrel, which is anything but conducive to the children's motivation to learn.

The assessments of the experts

But should learning in school be fun at all? Or is learning generally rather unpleasant? We confronted five renowned learning experts and practitioners with the results of the study and asked them to give their opinion.

For Michael Fritz, learning researcher at the ZNL Transfer Center for Neurosciences and Learning in Ulm, the Fun is one of the most important requirements for effective learning: “Learning that is not fun in the long run is pointless. Learning situations should therefore be designed in such a way that at least at the end they give the learner the feeling of success, of ability and thus of joy and fun. "

This positive mood is neglected at school these days, says Prof. Dr. Martin Korte from the Department of Cellular Neurobiology at the Institute of Zoology at the TU Braunschweig. For Korte, the main problem lies in the pressure to learn and the tight schedule of the schools: “If everyone has to learn under pressure because the teacher has to get through the material, but the students pant after the material and the parents no longer follow it properly, then one loses the fun of learning. "

Elsbeth Stern, psychologist and professor of teaching and learning research at ETH Zurich, also confirms that this situation is frustrating. Children lack the competence experience: “They do not make any progress and that frustrates them.” Now it is the turn of the teachers, whose task it is to “structure the material and the tasks in such a way that the students make progress in their learning. That motivates students, even if they don't find the material overly interesting, ”says Stern.

The education system as a “brake on fun” - what do the teachers say?

Research therefore ascribes an important success function to having fun in learning. But how do the teachers who work with children every day see this? For the grammar school teacher, author and education expert Michael Felten, it is particularly important that learning progress is recognized: “Learning should not only be thought of in terms of the learner's current feeling, but also of his or her individual and social goal. So should be strived for The joy of exploring, the pleasure of tinkering, the desire to bite through and perseverance as well as the luck of being able to do so. ”And this is exactly where teachers should start.

The educational entrepreneur Beste takes a critical look at the educational structures in Germany. She even describes the education system in Germany as a system of brakes on fun. Beste would like the potential of the individual child to be placed more in the foreground and encouraged with positive experiences: "What is missing is the prospect of opportunities - to see where I can tease out the best in people, and how they feel joy."

Pressure and frustration instead of fun and motivation

What is alarming about our study is that the fun of learning decreases the older the students get. Neurologist Michael Fritz confirms that this result is no adolescent grumbling, but corresponds to the living and learning world of children: "The younger children are, the more often they have a sense of achievement and perceive their surroundings as being benevolent." But it increases with age Druck: “From grades 5 and 6 at the latest, more and more children experience more and more situations in which their surroundings tell them: You can't do it. That demotivates and frustrates, makes listless and, above all, no fun. "

The learning researcher sees the causes in the pressure of the curriculum to fulfill the curriculum instead of setting up time for encouraging and supporting the individual: “The conditions do not take into account the performance, the initial situation and the development of the individual. The brain then learns that exertion is not worth it. ”So the focus is not on the children, but on external factors.

Multimedia learning - modern and motivating

School learning therefore moves in a field of tension between fun and duty. Where can the solution lie, what kind of learning would children prescribe for themselves? We asked: “What would have to happen to make learning more fun?” The answer: Almost 45 percent of all children say that they prefer to learn using electronic media. A third of the students stated that they retain the learning content best if the learning material is integrated into a exciting story or narrative packaging. This statement runs through all age groups.

The older the children are, the more they value group work: many say that the best way to learn is by explaining the subject matter to others. For school, they would like more project weeks (40.7 percent), no more grades and no more homework (40 percent). Boys in particular are enthusiastic about digital learning and would like to "solve more tasks with the computer" (40 percent). The desire for more computer use tends to increase with age.

Daniel Bialecki has been observing the enthusiasm for digital forms of learning for many years across all age groups and raves about the diverse possibilities for designing learning material digitally: “Digital media are dynamic and not static. With animations and sounds, they address several senses at the same time. With a digital medium, for example, you can fly around the world, observe strange animals, etc. Experience shows that something that appeals to the senses is more fun.

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Motivation to learn - the key to school success

Learning without frustration and having success - that is the key to lasting school success. Professor Korte expressly emphasizes the fun of learning and sums up his research findings as follows: “The moment you enjoy learning, it works by itself. It has you Experience character. Then the brain can remember more easily, and that has a positive effect: the children have to rework less, they work better, the whole classroom atmosphere is different. In this respect, the importance of having fun learning cannot be emphasized enough. "