Why Is Learning More Effective When You’re Having Fun?

Learning in a friendly, empathetic and lively atmosphere will fend off boredom, stress and anxiety … the greatest enemies of the learner. But why does time seem to fly by when we’re having fun? We’ve all experienced the phenomena of time seeming to crawl by when we’re engaged in a boring task and time rushing past as we are enjoying ourselves. Well, psychologists have discovered that we do indeed have a different perception of time relating to our mental state at the time and the activities we are engaged in. When you are enjoyably focussed on your task you don’t notice the time passing but when your mind is not fully occupied you ‘feel’ every minute passing.

Research into time perception has also demonstrated that being ‘enjoyably engaged’ is not the only factor. If you are also focussed on a goal then the excitement of the pursuit of that goal in a relaxed, fun way causes the perception of time passing more quickly and the learning to happen more effortlessly.

Your memory is also affected. Taking a holiday for example compared to the everyday, seems to be an occasion of time passing quickly but in retrospect your memory will reverse the trend and you will be able to retrieve many more memories from your enjoyable holiday time than you would be able to from your ordinary days when time seems to pass more slowly but there are less specific memories to retrieve. It may also be true that it’s easier to recall language that you have learned in a relaxed, enjoyable atmosphere than when taking a more traditional approach.

“an enjoyable way of learning without stress, frustration and boredom”

A study in the journal ‘College Teaching’ showed that when a lecturer delivered his lecture on statistics including jokes, his students had better recall of the facts than the students who heard the lecture without the jokes! And neurologist, Judy Willis has shown that fun activities in learning increases levels of dopamine, endorphins and oxygen all helping to consolidate learning. In fact, all the evidence that illustrates the links between enhanced learning and being relaxed have led to companies such as Linkedin to introduce ‘walks and talks’ instead of traditional meetings. Another large company introduced a learning game platform which saw their employees’ engagement and learning boosted so much that the following quarter was the most financially successful in the companies forty-year history!

So, it’s very important to choose your way of learning to incorporate as relaxed an atmosphere as possible as well as likeminded fellow students and your teachers alike so that you can fit into an enjoyable way of learning without stress, frustration and boredom.

No … what you want is to have fun and consequently, to learn faster!