Updated: May 27, 2020
Most kids are very keen to ‘engage with a device in the name of learning’ – but how do you make sure this is as effective as possible, rather than predominantly just being an excuse for having more screen time? As with other online learning programmes, at VR Voom we have found that students are very interested in the topics we are teaching – in our case, 3D modelling and animation and virtual reality (VR) game design and programming. The challenge is to ensure that kids who start down the path of learning to create in a digital world are actually absorbing the steps in learning along the way, as opposed to speeding through the tasks to get to that reward of "making something really cool". Along with good study practices, such as; making space for learning, constructing a plan to limit distractions, having a schedule or routine for learning activity vs. playing time, to help kids stay focused and engaged in doing the work, it’s key for students to understand not just what they are learning, but why they are learning it – what the short, mid and longer-term goals are for the course they are studying. Once they can look into the bigger vision for the learning they are participating in, they are more willing to put in the work it takes to gain a deeper understanding of all the steps in learning we are asking them to go through. It’s amazing to see students who are really excited about what they are learning, put in extra time to repeat and experiment on work they are doing to allow them to develop more depth of skill and expertise, of the basics and the more challenging stuff, in order to be able to create for themselves and bring their own imaginations and individuality into what they can produce over time. Kids learn in different ways too, and to support this, we also ensure we represent the learning through different materials and options; downloadable PDF versions (that can be printed out and followed along).
Short tutorial type video sessions (that break down the lessons into smaller steps and allow those who learn by understanding each piece of the puzzle or need to repeat a step in order to then focus on the next step, the ability to do so on their own).
And live class/virtual class sessions (where we can go through the content with one of our experienced teachers and cater to those who learn well in an interactive environment and will master the little steps and are driven to grasp the bigger end goal and even go beyond the standard expectation of what needs to be covered in the class).
Lastly, encouraging the fun aspect of learning something new always helps too, and highlighting the sense of achievement that is gained by learning how to create in a digital format.