Make learning sticky, fast and fun

Abigail introduces our readings to a fun and interaction application that develops thinking skills through collaboration. Learn more about FaceBoard in this article.

Illustration by Cayla Basson

John does not like workshops. In fact, he hates workshops. For him, training means endless powerpoint slides, boring lectures and questions that put him on the spot. He can’t think quickly enough, so he feels stupid, becomes anxious and is even less able to answer.  The only thing the day has achieved, is to leave John feeling inadequate and frustrated, feeling as though he has learnt nothing.

In many ways, we are all like John. His experience reflects the reality of most training interventions which ignore the fact that we learn and like to express our learning in different ways. With our diverse backgrounds and levels of literacy, we learn best in a stimulating environment that allows competition through collaboration and fun. Most importantly, through answering key questions, John will discover he knows more than he thought he did, and what he doesn’t know, he can learn from his teammates.

Witnessing John’s plight first-hand motivated Lenore Zietsman to create the FaceBoard game. With her background in teaching, training and the neuroscience and psychology of learning, she has ensured that FaceBoard’s methodology is based on sound brain-friendly principles resulting in maximum and meaningful learning. FaceBoard’s framework takes the boredom and pain out of learning.  It is designed to excite and stimulate while developing thinking skills.

The brain is a social organ, so working in groups, receiving immediate feedback while participating in intellectual and social activities has benefits for brain function. The brain’s pleasure circuits are activated, inducing the release of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, which contributes to the acquisition of new information and skills. In addition, by discussing topics with others in a stress-free, fun environment, John is able to empathise and consider topics from different viewpoints, helping him gain a deeper understanding.

The FaceBoard journey began as a learning board game that has now evolved into a blend of digital and social learning.

Original FaceBoard board game; Image supplied
Blended digital and social learning; Image supplied

The FaceBoard app equips education professionals to create, customise and collaborate on any content by plugging their knowledge and skills into the intuitive framework. No coding skills are required. Alternatively, the public library is filled with pre-developed games that can be played or customised on demand. It gives the learning professional peace of mind that their content will be brain-friendly and engaging. 

FaceBoard app; Image supplied
FaceBoard Blast; Image supplied

The Blast, a recent innovation, is an add on gizmo that enhances the FaceBoard app. It allows multiple devices to connect wirelessly without internet, and gives John and his teammates direct control of the game dynamics. 

The effective use of gamification in learning appeals to John. He leaves the workshop feeling stimulated and empowered. For him and his teammates, it has not been a waste of time.

Abigail Meaker

Making Learning Sticky, Fast and Fun

Illustration by Liani Malherbe

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