LEARNING THROUGH PLAY

Some might question the difference between Learning Through Play and Learning By Doing. Although on the surface they might be very similar, they operate with two very different mentality. Learning By Doing implies that by doing something over and over again, we naturally adapt and learn. Which is true but I think it fundamentally misses the point of learning. Learning is not about repeating the motions of what has been done before but about discovering new ones. The difference between Learning Through Play and Learning By Doing is that Learning Through Play embraces change and discovery in the format of the pedagogy itself while the latter views discovery as an unnecessary add-on to their pedagogy. Learning Through Play is about the happy accidents that lead to new discoveries. Sometimes we might break the “toys” we play with. Sometimes we might discover nuances in those “toys” that we would not have if we used it properly. One of the most heard things in our learning years is that to repeat, is to learn. It is a standard fixed in education that experimentation or learning through playing and discovering is openly prohibited and even shunned. Deviation from the orthodox education is mostly intolerable and this leads to a student’s creativity and active thinking being repressed. We become puppets who enroll into universities and colleges to get difficult degrees and then we work 9 to 5 and that’s it. If there has been no more research done then our initiative to discover more will be automatically rejected and laughed at. Repetition has been integrated into society to such a substantial extent that the students of nowadays prefer to repeat stuff over and over again instead of understanding it and trying to do it in their own way to see what works for them best. 

A study found that repetitive learning helped in the increase of stuff you learned and the quality of how the reader learned it (Bromage and Mayer 274). You must be wondering after reading this: Why should I waste my time and efforts to activate my creative thinking and not just do it the way I’ve been told? Well, in the answer, I’d like to tell you that there is no problem with doing or learning something the way it has been told to you. However, our brains are very complex body parts and even more so is the curiosity that resides in it. Even though many people think that the age of research and discovery has long passed, that’s not true. We’re always in need of innovations, discoveries and research and we won’t get them unless we go out there and do it for ourselves. Learning through play is one of the most diverse methods you can teach yourself and your students. Suppressing a student's creativity can have negative side effects in their academic careers or practical life. A study was conducted on two different groups of students, out of which one group was tested to see the effects of unassisted discovery learning and the other group got explicit and clear instructions. It was revealed that students preferred explicit instructions under most conditions. This is because they have been told so many times from a young age to not experiment themselves that they’ve become helpless without guidelines that detail every step of A-Z. (Alfieri et al. 3)

And this outcome is not only for students. Humans of every age and mentality have become so dependent on help and not just any help but the one with detailed instructions, that they have stopped looking at things from a different and unique perspective. But how can you expect growth if you’ve limited yourselves and others to rote learning? And the answer is: we can’t. There won’t be any growth until and unless we start including different methods and accept the trial-and-error technique.

Alfieri, Louis, et al. “Does Discovery-Based Instruction Enhance Learning?” Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 103, no. 1, 2011,

pp. 1–18. Crossref, doi:10.1037/a0021017.

Bromage, Bruce K., and Richard E. Mayer. “Quantitative and Qualitative Effects of Repetition on Learning from Technical Text.”

Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 78, no. 4, 1986, pp. 271–78. Crossref, doi:10.1037/0022-0663.78.4.271.