Joyful Learning: Creating meaningful learning experiences

Last week we covered lesson planning: how teachers design teaching and learning in lesson planning in Finland. But what are the factors that can support the learning process with children? What we strongly promote is joyful learning. Joyful learning is not only the fun in learning but all the emotions and aspects connected to the learning process: curiosity, activity, interest, pride and even confusion.

There are several factors that speak on behalf of joyful learning. They include for example:

  1. Improving the quality of learning. The joy of learning has many effects on the quality of learning: it makes the child invested in the learning process, increases the versatility of thinking and improves problem-solving skills and logical thinking. The emotion of joy develops also social and communication skills.
  2. Increasing child agency. In learning, the child should be at the centre of activity. The smaller the child, the more s/he needs activity, communication and guided play to learn ­– and, to learn, the child needs joy and freedom. Playing is not time spent away from learning. The child structures his/her environment through play and, thus, it is a meaningful part of learning.
  3. It’s not about the goal but about the journey. Joyful learning is not the goal of teaching or the learning process – fun is a side effect of activity. Fun in learning is a long process in which it is experienced during or at the end of the process. Experiencing joy comes from skills that are developed with practice; joy is generated by the child’s own achievements.

In short, the experience of joyful learning is built of a meaningful context, a suitably designed challenge and a secure environment. It entails curiosity and interest from the child so that s/he will have an active role and an experience of capability. It also requires social interaction that is constructive and supportive.

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Joyful learning and many other topics will be discussed during KOULU Group’s EduVenture event in September 2017. Learn more and join us at www.koulugroup.fi/eduventure. During the summer, we publish blog articles related to EduVenture topics. Next week’s topic is ICT in education, stay tuned!