Perseverance Is Crucial for Learning. “OK! but Can I Take a Break?”
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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.
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