Theories in motivation and learning

One theory is that there is this period of development where a child wants to take things apart and see how they work. If they are aloud to do this and taught about the things they take apart, their interest in those things will grow, but if they are not aloud to take them apart or if they can’t figure out anything about it afterwards the interest may fade. Just an idea. In addition to this is my idea that that interest doesn’t go away completely but remains as dormant interest that can only be rekindled in the proper environment where things can be taken apart and understood.

Notice schools mostly don’t work this way. For the most part school relies on teaching kids about individual components and only at the very end do they learn how things come together in maybe on or two applications. This is the reverse from a childhood motivation which is to seem many completed devices and wanting to work their way down to see how they work.

This leads me to my next idea. That maybe I could create a learning environment for myself based on things that are whole, completed things, that I then take apart.

Beyond this is the idea that it doesn’t necessarily have to be like, a whole computer, just the basic functioning component. What I mean is, if you hand me a capacitor I wont be intrigued. Sure you could hand me a whole computer, but really if you just handed me the smallest application of the capacitor and let me look at that whole thing, I would also be intrigued. By application I mean something where I see a visible or audible effect. Something that has an effect on my physical world.

So this is another theory I want to think about. Are we more intrigued by things we can actually see, hear, touch, and even more so by things that we can see having a mechanical/automated effect on the environment. If this were true it would mean the difference between learning computer programming by just writing code for a long time vs purposely compiling and running that code every minute just to get that hit of dopamine when you see your program have an effect on the screen.

You know how people say, ” I loved programming from the first time I got the computer to print words out to the screen.”, ya? So this must be a pretty important idea. Maybe critical to the enjoyment of learning programming. Being able to see often, the results of your work. This could be hard in some cases when you have a lot of errors etc, but  guess the whole point would be to create a system of learning that keeps errors to a minimum, but also if possible is not predictable in what comes to the screen.

I notice a strong paralell between this and learning a language where learning just hanzi in chinese has become actually painful, and I would much rather learn sentences which are actually functional.

I’m already in school for psychology, I might as well see if it’s possible to create the kind of system that makes learning anything fun.

Are you the type who likes someone to teach you how to play a game first, or do you like to learn as you go along? I feel most people would rather get right into the fun of the game. To me that is the difference between learning about components and learning about simple applications.

In fact, even a capacitor is more fun if you hook it up to a dmm and see how current reacts to it etc. But a small application hooked up to that dmm would be more interesting.


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