Learning Should Never Be A Chore

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Whatever our reason for learning something new – we want to travel, switch careers, or simply read the menu at the local Chinese restaurant – we all face the same challenge: sticking with it.

Starting is easy. We buy a bunch of textbooks, find a tutor, maybe even sign up for a class. We eagerly start learning. But then life gets in the way. Over and over we’re left with the same question: how am I supposed to find time for this?

The answer is usually discipline, and lots of it — which is why, despite our initial enthusiasm, learning soon becomes a chore, something we force ourselves to do. Like cleaning the gutters. Or eating brussels sprouts.

But does it have to be like this?

The problem of motivation

A few years ago, Jesse Pickard (our CEO) was trying to learn Spanish before a trip to South America. He was excited to learn the language, but was struggling to find the time — and motivation — for tutoring, flashcards, and desktop software. One day in the subway, he noticed that everyone around him was immersed in their phones, most of them playing casual games like Angry Birds. It was at that moment that he realized educators could fix this problem by making learning mobile, casual and fun.

Jesse’s idea was to combine what we love (games) with what we find challenging (education). Games engage us, motivate us, and we’ve been playing them throughout history. If humans love gaming, Jesse asked, why not combine this activity with something useful? Just imagine if those little Angry Birds could teach us Spanish!

The natural approach to learning

MindSnacks was born with the goal of serving tasty, bite-sized snacks for your brain. The mobile game format makes studying possible not only at our desks or in class, but really whenever and wherever we want: be it on the bus, waiting in line, or taking a coffee break. This, in our view, is the best approach for learning just about any kind of subject. If you break education down into smaller pieces, it will fit better in your daily schedule, which in turn will increase the regularity & frequency of your practice. Learning can happen anywhere, anytime.

More to snack on

Education is in the middle of a profound transformation. New technologies and practices have started to change the way we understand learning. We’re excited to discuss some of these trends — and hope you are as well.

In the coming posts, we’ll cover many topics including game design, education technology trends, and the Leitner Algorithm (one of the learning techniques that we’ve incorporated into our games).

Until then, though, we’d love to hear from you. Are there any topics you want us to cover?

About

James Landau is an edtech enthusiast, lover of all things digital, and (some might say) an obsessive reader. He completed his M.A. in English Literature at New York University and is in the final stages of his Ph.D. in Contemporary Literature from the University of California, Los Angeles. If you ever see him walking down the street while reading his Kindle, please don't be offended if he walks right past you -- and into a telephone pole.

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