How Tinkering Helps You Learn

Tinkering is often thought of a lot like doodling. Mindlessly playing around with things certainly can’t help you learn, right? Well, as research points out, tinkering might actually be really good for learning.

Tinkering, or figuring out how something works just by poking at it for a while, is a pretty time-honored technique.

Research(International Journal of Engineering Education) in the science of learning shows that hands-on building projects help young people conceptualize ideas and understand issues in greater depth. Experiments are a way of learning things. They require self-guided trial and error, active exploration, and testing by all the senses. Experiments begin with important questions, questions that make you think or that inspire you to create.” This process of exploring, testing and finding out is vital to children’s intellectual and psychological development. It involves a loose process of trying things out, seeing what happens, reflecting and evaluating, and trying again.

As pretty much anyone(like me) who has tinkered around inside a computer(and other gadgets) knows, sometimes you just have to poke at it until you understand what’s going on.

Doodle by @giuliaforsythe drawn during @grantpotter‘s presentation

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