July 25, 2020

Thinking beyond learning

When I was in school, I was no different from most kids – a participant of a school system that rewarded good grades and behavior. I outpaced my classmates in mathematics and passed my exams with flying colors. However, I did not know how to question why I needed to learn what I was being taught, or why I needed to compete. I was simply trying to keep up with a system that I had no control over but needed to be a part of.

During my preparation for a competitive exam, I realized that I hadn’t really understood some of the math concepts I had previously learned. Rather I had learned it with an intention of sailing through to the next grade, as I rushed to grasp the concepts at the pace that was taught in my school.  With the abundant tools available online, I decided to re-learn grade 1-12 mathematics. Of course, being an adult, I was able to appreciate and comprehend some of the concepts much better with the ocean of content available online. But there was still one question that lingered – “Why am I learning what I am learning?”. Tell me, when you learned mathematics, did you ever wonder when you were going to apply any of those concepts in your life? For instance, take calculus. So much effort goes into learning calculus, but where have you actually applied it?

I wondered what made me dig into grade 1-12 course material, 10 years after I passed out of high school. It was the desire to learn and learn right. Then I pondered over what created that desire to learn. You’d be surprised to see the amount of good quality learning material that’s readily available online. If that doesn’t trigger someone’s curiosity, what will? How could we possibly induce curiosity at each level of learning in school? Imagine how learning could be if we can help children Learn to Understand by connecting their schema of learning, identifying the gaps and fixing them. 

Several brainstorming sessions were dedicated to answering all those questions, which ultimately guided us in creating Eduzo, an Augmented Reality-based learning application for children of K-12. Along with researchers from Stanford University, we tried to understand the psychology of learning in children – what is the catalyst that makes children embrace challenges, obstacles and efforts. Children can be fast learners on some days, whereas on the other days, relatively slow, but that only means there’s a lot of work going on in building brain connections.

We developed a framework consisting of five modules – Think, Learn, Apply, Evaluate and Journey, with the awareness that children’s cognitive skills are constantly developing. These five modules form the core learning model of Eduzo.

Think

The why of learning. The magic connector. The curiosity builder.  The intent behind this module was to encourage kids to question more and be curious, which then leads to the desire to learn.

Learn

Let’s be honest. Nobody loves to learn facts without incentives. We are forced to learn in order to get the required credentials (grades). Let’s take an example. When asked what is the meaning of geometry, what do you answer?  You might say “Geometry is a study about shapes”. And then you wait to get the actual answer to know whether your answer was right or not. Now when we give an answer, you are curious to know whether your answer is right or wrong. That’s your incentive for knowing the fact. The Think module leaves your mind wondering about answers to the open-ended questions. And the Learn module gives you the answer – an incentive you get for your curiosity.

Apply

Thinking and learning might not help us retain what we learn. But reinforcing the same by applying it in different scenarios makes the neuroplasticity stronger in the brain, thereby improving the retention rate. Apply module does exactly that.  

Evaluate

For children, when someone says something wrong about them, they are not wise enough to know that it’s just someone else’s perspective. Rather, they grow up believing its true.  The Evaluate module is about building the right self-esteem and growth mindset. Going by the famous quote, ‘the pleasures of erudition are reserved for losers’, the more a person knows, the more things have gone wrong. This psychology is inculcated at the very beginning to create a safe environment where learning outcomes are achieved.

Journey

By the time the whole class moves on to calculus, there are some students who are still stuck in pre-calculus. Somewhere along the way, they vividly remember learning trigonometry, but they have no idea how that’s connected to calculus. This module ensures that students don’t miss that rung in the ladder. Every learning journey is important: the past, the present and the future.  The Journey module focuses on creating a mind-map for children based on pre-requisite, current and future learning objectives, acknowledging that every child has their own way of perceiving and storing information. 

There’s an ancient saying – “Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in your heart forever.” Think about the impact we could create if these five modules were tied together by a powerful thread – a story. Even more, how would it be if children could visualize this story? Eduzo’s augmented reality-based solutions helps children see, relate and be immersed in the experience of learning. Eduzo provides a highly interactive learning environment that encourages children to study at their own pace, by suggesting the right modules one after the other, and providing feedback at each layer of learning. Because children deserve it.  

The purpose of schooling is learning the fundamentals in a way that empowers children to be curiosity-driven, so that they have not only have fun in the process but also keep building on to their skills; so that they open their minds to new possibilities, thereby reimagining learning.

At Eduzo, we strive to keep designing and creating with passion, to really help children ask themselves, “How is this learning changing me?” That’s when they start learning to understand.

Kundavai Arivudainambi, Founder & CEO, Eduzo

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