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Mar 2012

Motivating Children to Learn


What Can We Do To Motivate Our Children’s Interest in their Education?

I have just completed a period of research into the education market in India and was extremely impressed about just how motivated such a large percentage of both children, and their parents, are towards their own education and learning.

My research revealed two interesting facts.

A recent research survey in the last 12 months indicated that parents across 16 of the largest cities in India, saw education and learning being such important that the monthly expenditure on their children’s education ranked just second on their list of spending priorities. Only their monthly spend on Groceries and food shopping came ahead of their child’s education. In most Western countries, the monthly spend on education would be considerably less important.

Then I discovered that approximately 20 million students in India have a private tutor even though they attend school on a full-time basis. That number equates to just under half of all the children studying at school in the United States. 

So what is it that motivates children in India to take such and interest in their own education.

In an effort to find out more about this I have spoken to many people in India. They have explained that both children and their parents realise that education is the only way that they can hope to fight their way out of poverty.

Many also explained that because of the sheer number of people in the country the competition to get into the better schools and universities was fierce, and to succeed students really did have to achieve their best.

Others explained to me this motivation towards education was simply part of their cultural beliefs and their approach to life in the same way that the respect children have for their elders is so different to that in many countries in the West.

I suspect that there is another factor too. With the exception of periods like the Great Depression of the 1930’s, and maybe also the years during World Wars I and II, most countries in the West have never really ever experienced times of real hardship, or oppression. As a result we have bred generations of people that have a reasonably “soft” life. It is well known that hardship and adversity bring out the best in a person’s nature, yet for most of us since the 1960’s life has become easier and easier.

We now live in a generation were the range of social security and support facilities provided act as a “safety net” for those that are unemployed, or don’t want to work. Loans and credit is made available to virtually everyone by the banks, whether people can afford to repay it or not. In many ways the recent generations have never had it so good. In fact many would suggest that today’s students and children expect the world to come to them, rather than having to go out and earn whatever they want. Many students expect success to be handed to them on a plate rather than having to earn it.

So with this air of “expectancy” being part of many children’s lives, is it any wonder that few place any importance on learning and their own education.

Then we have today’s system of education that is largely falling apart. This is hardly surprising when you consider that it was originally designed back in the time of the Renaissance. How many other products or services that originate from so long ago are we still attempting to use in our daily lives, and expecting them still to be successful?

But enough of the doom and gloom. While the fact remains that there may be all those contributing factors towards why so many children are lacking the motivation towards learning and the value of education, one of the ways that we can overcome this problem is by making the effort to ensure that how we educate and teach our children is vibrant, interesting and stimulating.

One of the most powerful ways we can do this is by the use of Visual Learning.

Technology today means that we no longer need to rely on those textbooks designed to deliver information in the days before radio and television.

Talk to any adult about their hobby, interest or sport, and then offer them a book with your left hand or a DVD with your right, don’t be surprised if 9 out of 10 take the DVD as their first choice. Why is this? Well it’s simply because most adults prefer the stimulation of Visual Learning, yet at the same time we expect our children to be different.

Zane Education is a company that many teachers, schools, parents and Special Needs caregivers are turning to because they provide a service that delivers the best of both worlds.

Zane’s online learning service provides a powerful and affordable style of Visual Learning by using the world’s largest library of fully subtitled online educational video developed specifically for teaching the K-12 curriculum.

By using online video students are set free to study at their own speed and thereby achieve their greatest potential, but what is even more valuable is that those students have the option to learn by watching, listening to, or reading each presentation.

Video is a powerful teaching resource not only because it is a compelling medium that attracts children’s interest, but also it introduces and element of enjoyment that maintains the child’s attention for longer periods of time.

However video offered on a standalone basis, has a limited value. It must be accompanied by the range of support services that Zane Education has been realistic enough to provide. Interactive video study tools that enable the student to investigate each topic thoroughly, online testing with multiple-choice quizzes designed to continue the learning process, and downloadable Lesson Plans are just some of the features that make Zane Education’s online subscription service so attractive to the education community.

Zane’s approach to affordability is also unique. They have deliberately offered their service to the education market at a price that enables Teachers, Parents of students at school, homeschoolers and Special Needs children at a price of under $200 per year – regardless of the number of children in the family. And one of the reasons for this is that at these prices this same curriculum content can be made available to those same children in India that value their education so much.

What else do you think we can do as parents and teachers to restimulate our children’s interest in their education?

FOOTNOTE: For those readers that are aware of the educational benefits of Visual Learning and subtitled online education video, please see the results of this recent comparison of online educational video services and the features they offer.

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12 years ago

It’s funny – the school systems in the western world are set up to accept mediocrity. You can pass classes with only 50% on exams, and almost anyone can be accepted to university. Not to mention, that in many subjects, you can re-take exams until you get a high enough grade. It still only has to be 50% though. No wonder our kids don’t work that hard, when it’s handed to them on a plate. But I also know for myself, I excelled in classes I enjoyed – and I enjoyed classes because of great teachers, and great assignments. And… Read more »

Aja Klahn
6 years ago

I was curious if you ever considered changing the structure of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

6 years ago
Reply to  Aja Klahn

Thank you for your comment and feedback. Yes, you are absolutely correct and we are also looking at upgrading to a full HTML5 compliance. So we are currently looking at options and possible development partners. We own a lot more online learning content than what is currently available on the website and need to find the right solution.