How Tinkering helps you Learn

Doodle by @giuliaforsythe drawn during @grantpotter‘s presentation

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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.

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Learning new and unfamiliar skills improves Memory

It’s no secret that if you want to improve your memory (or any brain function), you have to work at it. A new study, however, shows that specifically learning a new skill(unfamiliar to you) that required engagement of working memory, long-term memory and other high-level cognitive processes actually helped preserve memory and can have a marked improvement in memory.

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When you are inside your comfort zone you may be outside of the enhancement zone.

It is not enough just to get out and do something–it is important to get out and do something that is unfamiliar and mentally challenging, and that provides broad stimulation mentally and socially.

While everyone can benefit from learning new skills and simultaneously improving memory, the researchers emphasized that as a person gets older, trying new things is an essential part of ensuring a healthy mind.

When was the last time you learned something by tinkering? let us know in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “How Tinkering helps you Learn

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