Have you noticed that the things that interest you usually stay in your mind longer than things those you find boring? The highest-level cognitive learning is making of connections and putting these together in new ways. These “aha” moments happen in an atmosphere of excitement and joy where students of all ages retain their child-like joy of learning.
But is there science to back up this viewpoint? Brain research suggests that fun is not just beneficial to learning but, by many reports, is required for long-term memory. Neurologist and educator Judy Willis’s book “Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning: Insights from Neuroscience and the Classroom, Revised and Expanded Edition” is one of many that have highlighted the learning benefits of fun. For example, when you learn something new, or get a surprise, there is a shot of a chemical messenger in your brain called dopamine. (Dopamine is famous among neuroscientists for its involvement in the reward and motivation systems of the brain.)
Likewise, it is important to focus on the learning aspect of training, making learning sessions fun and engaging. If training is interesting, then acquiring new knowledge or a new skill will become a positive experience, and employees will look forward to their next session. Fun and interest can inspire learners to more deeply explore learning materials, and increase overall participation. On the contrary, if training is drudgery, employees will not learn or change their behaviors.
Finally, learning is greater when doing active participation, rather than just reading or listening. “The more we are actively involved, the more our brains’ hardwiring is fired-up and the more we learn”, Andragogy Principles by Malcom Knowles. For technical topics, like security awareness training, that can seem dry or uninteresting, engagement becomes all the more critical.
In Security Mentor Security Awareness Training, we create fun learning experiences by incorporating high quality, compelling graphics and animations, real-world content and stories, gamification and critical skill building games. We believe when employees actually want to take training and learn by doing, it creates authentic learning experiences.