Perseverance Is Crucial for Learning. “OK! but Can I Take a Break?”
In a study with 108 10- to 12-year-olds who used a digital educational game targeting history, we addressed the phenomenon of perseverance, that is, the tendency to stick with a task even when it is challenging. The educational game was designed to make all students encounter tasks they did not succeed to solve, at which point they were offered a set of choices corresponding to perseverance and non-perseverance. Methods used were behavioral log data, post-questionnaires, and an in-game questionnaire conducted by a game character, who asked the students about the reason for their choice. Overall, we found no differences between high and low-perseverance students as to their experiences of effort, difficulty, and learning, and neither in their self-reported motives for persevering – when doing so. With respect to performance, however, high-persevering students solved significantly more tasks at higher difficulty levels. Comparing high-perseverance students who tended to take a break directly after a failed test – before they continued with the same task – with those who did not take a break, we found no significant differences, indicating that taking a break is not detrimental to learning and perseverance.
KeywordsPerseverance Challenge Meaning-making Pausing Performance Teachable agent Educational software
This research was financed by Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation.
- 1.Dweck, C.S.: Self-theories: their role in motivation, personality and development. Taylor and Francis/Psychology Press, Philadelphia (1999)Google Scholar
- 2.Dweck, C.S.: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Random house, New York (2006)Google Scholar
- 4.Bass, H., Ball, D.L.: Beyond “you can do it!” developing mathematical perseverance in elementary school. Spencer Foundation, April 2015. http://www.spencer.org/resources/content/4/3/4/documents/bass_ball_mip_0415.pdf
- 5.Chase, C.C.: Motivating expertise: equipping novices with the motivational tools to move beyond failure. In: Staszewski, J.J. (ed.) Expertise and Skill Acquisition: the Impact of William G Chase. Psychology Press, New York (2013)Google Scholar
- 10.Blair, K., Schwartz, D., Biswas, G., Leelawong, K.: Pedagogical agents for learning by teaching: teachable agents. Educ. Technol. Soc. Spec. Issue 47, 56–61 (2007)Google Scholar
- 11.Biswas, G., Katzlberger, T., Brandford, J., Schwartz, D.: TAG-V: extending intelligent learning environments with TAs to enhance learning. In: Moore, J.D., Redfield, C.L., Johnson, W.L. (eds.) AIED 2001, pp. 389–397. IOS Press, Amsterdam (2001)Google Scholar