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Inspiration Episode #4: Learning Like Children through Play

Published 3/17/2015

Children learn at an incredible rate. They also play significantly more than the average adult. Many studies have shown the importance of play for children in the learning process - so the question is, why don't we practice "play" as adults?

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea name is Jonathan Cutrell and today is an inspiration episode I'm going to be sharing with you a quote about learning As you know, I am very interested in the concept of learning about learning and is meta concept of sorts Investigating how we learn Investigating the best ways that we acquire knowledge. There are so many different forms of research on the subject a lot of them not surprisingly have to do with children Because children are perhaps nature's most efficient learners if you think about it as a child You learn more within three years of your life than you do Possibly in the rest of your life. There's different types of learning obviously linguistic learning for example children are said to be able to learn about 63 or so new words per week which is an incredible number of words in fact I challenge you to learn even five new words a week you'll quickly find out that children are much more efficient At understanding new linguistics than you are and there's a lot of variables that go into that Some of which we do not have control over but there's a particular aspect about the way that children learn that I think we can learn from And start to implement in our daily lives especially as developers With day jobs with a lot of our time spent on deliverables and meeting objectives So the quote goes like this Children learn as they play most importantly in play children learn how to learn And we've talked about learning how to learn in the past on this show We outline a lot of different methods that you might Adopt when learning how to learn But one thing that we don't talk about very often is this concept that maybe we learn more like we used to as children And children learn through play And if you look back on your childhood or if you watch a child Especially newborns the way that they learn is by creating and constructing these miniature games That they play whether it's in interaction with another person or perhaps it's just interaction with them in an object Or even word games if you watch a child as they go about their daily life they are wired to learn And children have a natural tendency to play so if you think about it the fact that children learn way more efficiently than their adult counterparts might would learn Children also play a lot more than their adult counterparts might play and I'm not saying that necessarily There is a causal relationship there But it's certainly as possible Especially with all the research that has been done. So how do you incorporate play? Well first let's talk about what play is in the book Einstein never used flashcards Five elements of children's play are identified Number one play must be pleasurable and enjoyable So that means that the children playing the game must actually want to do so They must have a desire to continue doing so because they enjoy it number two Play must have no extrinsic goals. There is no prescribed learning that must occur In other words, you can't give a child the objective of learning math But then tell them they can make a game out of it They will still have that objective in their minds and then play can occur in a pure form Instead play must be entirely Exploratory it must be entirely Learning as a side effect of play So then number three is play a spontaneous and voluntary in other words you can't force Force play you must choose to play which which gives you a kind of a framework of when you might play You can't plan it into your schedule very easily when you are feeling like playing is when you go and play when a child wants to go play That is when they are most likely to learn from playing Okay, so number four is play involves active engagement on the part of the player Of course, you can't play without actually actively doing so This one is less applicable to us than it is to children because quite often Children may be disinterested and they may disconnect from a for example a social play atmosphere But if you are choosing to engage in play then obviously you have to actively engage in that So then number five is play involves an element of make believe now This is the one that is really hard for us to do What exactly is make believe for an adult in a play scenario? so one example might would be In our in video games so play in a video game provides a world for you It provides a situation that is not real, but you are suspending your reality and instead for a period of time adopting a new reality and that is make believe adopting the reality For example if you're playing the game monopoly you adopt the reality that you have limited resources and that you cannot Just reach over and grab money out of the bank because you're following the rules of the game And that construction that make believe is a world where you are learning you are learning to play by the rules of a world that doesn't actually exist And in that world you're exploring ways of exploiting those rules you're exploring ways In which your interactions have effects on the outcome of the game and your interactions with the rules how can you Uh exploit certain parts of the rules in order to get ahead these are always in which we learn when we are playing So do not underestimate the importance of play in your daily lives Especially as developers we often get caught up like I said in a world of deliverables So make it a practice to give yourself space to explore something that seems fun to you Create something that doesn't have a particular design Uh, or that doesn't have a particular plan in place for you to create Explore possibilities that are given to you by the constructed world Inside of your browser or inside of whatever it is that you're creating something for Thank you so much for listening to develop a tea. I hope you enjoyed this episode Let me know on Twitter if you did or if you didn't And at Developer Tea you can always get in touch with me at Developer Tea at gmail.com I love getting questions from listeners that I can answer on the show Uh, you can record those questions and send them to me as attachments and emails and I'll include them on the show Uh, as long as they are of a decent quality Thank you so much for listening if you're enjoying this show make sure you leave a review and iTunes Uh, it's the best way to help other developers find Developer Tea and finally if you are enjoying this show And it is providing value to you. Please consider becoming a monthly supporter at developertea.com front slash donate Until next time enjoy your tea