By Vikas Sharma
Name a tropical fruit which is yellow in colour and the king of its territory? The answer is mango. Name an activity which triggers interactive learning, tests knowledge and helps intellectual growth of kids? It’s quizzing.
The legacy issues
Our pedagogy has evolved over the years and with the intervention of technology, we have witnessed many new and innovative methods of learning. Yet, training-testing-repeat remains the primary method for learning and intellectual growth of an individual.
While reading books, newspapers and journals counts as one form of acquiring knowledge, it takes curiosity, a constant quest to add more to the knowledge base, and competition against peers that helps an individual push limits and excel. This is where testing becomes very important. Our schools and other educational institutes have designed learning modules, keeping room for tests and examinations. But, do we realise that tests and examinations evaluate only the textbook knowledge quotient of an individual? How about the ability to perform under pressure? How about diversifying the knowledge base while keeping the core strength intact? What about mapping the learning curve and making amendments to it?
Budding minds need room for an interactive form of testing which questions their knowledge and broadens their horizons. Quizzing has proved to be an innovative and informative activity for growing children. This helps in expanding a student’s knowledge and exploring new skills at an early age. It redefines the education system in a significant way and identifies gaps in knowledge. Quizzing helps students to learn more from the next study episode. Essentially, it reduces the tendency to forget, which makes the studies more effective. It organises knowledge by helping the brain sort material in clusters to allow better retrieval. It transfers the knowledge to new contexts as it brings it into application. Quizmasters have observed interactive quizzing as beneficial for growing children.
Triggering the DIY spirit
Students develop a sense of self-learning as quizzing encourages them to read more and from different sources to broaden their horizons. This could be related to an area of quiz or for general preparation. By taking a quiz, students self-predict their knowledge and chart their growth path. They become more confident about what they know and what they need to know. Quizzes also serve as a break from the monotonous learning habit, as it requires critical thinking and extensive research. This way, students get into the habit of innovative learning from an early age. Since the topics and areas touched upon in a quiz are generally beyond their academic syllabus, not only the playing teams but those in the audience also learn from the event (be it on ground or online).
Improving interpersonal relationships
Quizzes teach interpersonal skills, as most competitive quizzing is conducted for teams of two or more and teamwork is the only way to success. It promotes the act of sharing knowledge among kids, helps them learn about strategising, trusting their teammates and encourages taking risks, making them ready for life ahead. It is also a big support for teachers who are looking for interactive tools to assess the learning curve for each and every student. They can keep a tab on the progress of their wards without forcing the yardstick of tests and exams. They can also find students who are struggling or need more attention.
Develop a healthy competitive spirit
Be it a race or life, we love competition and winning small everyday battles. Learning is no exception. As students get a chance to apply their learning to compete against their peers, they tend to appreciate their studies more than ever. They wish to know more before taking the quiz next time. They can keep track of their past performance and want to build on it. This is also a chance for students to identify the gap areas and become a better version of them. This develops a healthy competitive spirit for the rest of their lives.
Moving away from rote learning
Ultimately, quizzes help students develop and improve participative skills. Even if kids do not know the right answer, they wish to take risks to find it and improve their repository of learning. The idea behind a quiz is not to win always; it gives them an opportunity to apply their knowledge and engage with like-minded people and share information on varied subjects. Practicing retrieval of something after learning it, for instance by taking a quiz or test, makes you more likely to retain it for the long term. Hence, retention of knowledge gained during the quiz is much higher. Teachers can incorporate this aspect of quizzing to make learning in class more engaging.
(The writer is AVP-Marketing, Eupheus Learning.)