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The 10 Most Effective Ways to Help Students Love Learning

As a teacher, it's a safe bet that you love learning. The idea of it, the processes, and the moments it happens for your learners are deeply meaningful to you. Teachers love learning, and deep down, they want their learners to love it. So the question is, how do we make that happen?

In today's rapidly changing world, having a passion for learning is essential to keep up with the latest trends and developments in various fields. However, not all learners are motivated to continue learning once they complete their formal education. There are also decades of evidence to suggest that learners have not always enjoyed their school experiences for one reason or another. Nevertheless, the point of power is in the present moment. Every day is a chance to do something differently.

How do we help our learners love learning in a way that results in them harbouring a passion for it throughout their lives? It comes down to the quest for learner agency. We help them learn how to own learning through the gradual gifts of autonomy and responsibility. 

Let's explore seven highly effective ways teachers can help learners develop a lifelong passion for learning. But first, let's consider who's in your corner.

Your Greatest Allies

In the quest to teach our children the knowledge they need to thrive, your greatest allies are the learners themselves. You can start building on what works by observing them closely and recognising behaviour patterns and circumstances in which engagement occurs.

Teachers have extraordinary power in the classroom, turning learners into lovers or haters of what they are meant to learn (Axelson & Flick, 2010). Teachers have a much easier time getting their learners to internalise and build on lessons with an increased level of agency if those learners are actively engaged in the material and eager to discover more. And arguably, the most effective educators are the ones who make their lessons easy to love.

Through the following strategies, you can showcase enjoyable, meaningful, and thoroughly engaging learning for your learners in everything you teach them. 

1. Cultivate Purposeful Questions

Since the days of Socrates, we've known that the best way to learn about the world is to question it (Cifone, 2013). To illustrate this process, imagine that you're watching the film The Wizard of Oz as part of a history lesson. For example, one of your learners might ask, "Why does the movie start in black and white, then change to colour, and then return to black and white?" In response, you might say, "That's an excellent question; why do you think that is?"

You can then use additional questions to guide them toward forming their own opinion or conclusion. If any other learners have insights or experiences to share, invite them to jump in. Here are some examples:

  • Have you seen any other movies that are black and white? 
  • What about them impacted you visually? 
  • What was most memorable about the story?
  • Some find the contrast of black and white more stirring and emotional compared to films in colour. What do you think?
  • Are these films "classics"? What has made them so timeless? 

This method accomplishes two things. First, it helps learners realise the potential complexity of a topic and how different types of knowledge interrelate. All they have to do is connect this knowledge to new questions as they arise.

2. Encourage Self-Directed Learning

Self-directed learning is the process where learners take charge of their learning journey. It empowers learners to set goals, identify learning needs, and choose the best resources to achieve them. In addition, teachers can encourage self-directed learning by providing learners with various learning materials, including books, articles, videos, and podcasts, and allowing them to choose the ones that suit their interests and learning preferences.

How do we help our learners love learning in a way that results in them harbouring a passion for it throughout their lives? It comes down to the quest for learner agency. 

Self-directed learning requires learners to be responsible for their learning process, which includes setting objectives and evaluating their progress (Knowles, 1975). In this way, teachers can help learners identify their strengths and weaknesses and choose the best resources to meet their needs.

3. Provide Active Learning Opportunities

Active learning involves learners participating in the learning process actively. This could be through group discussions, case studies, simulations, and hands-on activities. Active learning helps learners develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills and enhances their engagement in learning.

Studies suggest that active learning effectively engages learners and promotes their understanding of the subject matter (Bonwell and Eison, 1991). By encouraging learners to participate in group discussions and hands-on activities, teachers can help them develop a deeper understanding of the subject while enhancing their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

4. Pursue their Passions

We know now that leading learners to ask questions can help them feel more passionate about the topics they're exploring in class. However, these same learners already have their own passions and interests, which they are eager to learn more about. So the better you are at finding out about those interests and incorporating avenues leading to them into your lesson plans, the more engaged your learners will be from the moment each lesson begins.

For example, say that you're a science teacher presenting some basic facts about chemistry. Instead of lecturing them about those facts, you might start the lesson by asking what some of your learners' favourite foods are. Then, as you write those foods down on the board, you analyse them as a group to see if there are any common themes. For instance, if one learner mentions pizza, another says macaroni and cheese, and a third lasagna, of course, the common theme is cheese.

From there, you may ask them why they think cheese tastes so good. As you all discuss this, you provide a great jumping-off point to talk about the chemistry of cheese and how different chemicals react with each other to make their favourite ingredients taste great.

Besides asking questions to find out what your learners are interested in, you can often tell just based on what they say and do. As another example, say that you find a learner exploring insects with a magnifying glass. You can use this as a jumping-off point for lessons about insect variations and habitats, what they obtain for food, which insects are beneficial and should be protected from harm, and many more related topics.

Consider bringing one or more insects inside to place in an insectarium and observing their behaviour. Odds are learners will be surprised and excited by how insects look, move, and behave and will want to learn more. 

5. Elevate Hands-On Experiences

Learning is always more fun if it's hands-on. So at every opportunity, you should give learners a chance to apply what they've learned in practical ways. In science lessons, this is easily done by providing safe but enjoyable experiments learners can perform, such as mixing two chemicals to see how they react. But you can also apply other kinds of knowledge in practical ways.

Learners have their own passions and interests—the better you are at incorporating them into your lesson plans, the more engaged your learners will be.

For example, if you're teaching a history lesson, have learners create skits where they act like the historical figures you're studying. Not only do these activities help them feel more connected to what they're learning, but they also make the lessons easier to remember. After all, it's far easier to recall something you did than something you were told.

6. Promote Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning involves learners working together in groups to achieve a common goal. It helps learners develop teamwork skills, communication skills, and interpersonal skills. Teachers can promote collaborative learning by assigning group projects, facilitating discussions, and encouraging learners to share their ideas and opinions.

Collaboration effectively promotes learner engagement and enhances learning outcomes (Johnson, Johnson, and Smith, 2014). By working in groups, learners can share their knowledge and skills and develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

7. Use Technology to Enhance Learning

Technology has transformed the way we learn. It has made learning more accessible, engaging, and interactive. Teachers can use various technological tools, including videos, podcasts, gamification, and virtual reality, to enhance the learning experience.

Technology can enhance the learning experience by providing learners with access to different learning resources and enabling them to learn at their own pace (Siemens, 2005). Using technological tools, teachers can also create interactive and engaging learning experiences that promote learner engagement and enhance understanding of the subject matter.

8. Provide Mindful Feedback

Feedback is one of the most powerful tools for enhancing learning outcomes (Hattie and Timperley, 2007; Crockett and Churches, 2017). Feedback is essential for learners to know how well they are progressing towards their learning goals. Teachers can provide regular feedback by mindfully assessing learners' performance, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses, and providing suggestions for improvement.

We suggest using the following approach to generate the most effective feedback possible to strategise for improved learner outcomes and maintain your learners' enthusiasm. Ensure all your feedback is:

  • Timely: Our learners cannot learn, change, and develop if our teaching ends when they receive their feedback. We must provide feedback often and in detail during the process.
  • Appropriate and reflective: Feedback must reflect a learner's ability, maturity, and age. It must be understandable. Different learners mature at different rates, so feedback should be an individualised process based on each learner's social and intellectual maturity.
  • Honest and supportive: Feedback can be devastating to someone who has invested a considerable amount of time and energy into a task only to receive a critique that identifies only the work's weaknesses. We must provide feedback that is both honest and supportive. Our input must provide encouragement to continue and guidance on achieving the desired goals.
  • Focused on learning and linked to the task's purpose: The feedback must be descriptive. It should also link to the big picture and the specific aspects being assessed. The clarity and descriptive nature of the teacher's feedback are crucial to its effectiveness.
  • Enabling: Receiving feedback without the opportunity to act on it is frustrating, limiting, and counterproductive. Learners must be able to learn from our formative assessments and apply the feedback and corrections.

(Churches, 2017)

9. Create a Positive Learning Environment

Creating a positive learning environment involves providing a safe and supportive learning environment where learners feel comfortable and confident to ask questions, express their opinions, and share their ideas. Teachers can create a positive learning environment by promoting a culture of respect, encouraging diversity, and recognising learners' achievements.

Learning is always more fun if it's hands-on. So at every opportunity, you should give learners a chance to apply what they've learned in practical ways.

A positive learning environment is essential for promoting learners' intrinsic motivation and enhancing their learning outcomes (Deci and Ryan, 2000). Teachers can help learners feel valued and motivated to learn by creating a safe and supportive learning environment.

10. Foster a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is the belief that learners can develop their abilities through hard work, perseverance, and dedication. Teachers can foster a growth mindset by encouraging learners to embrace challenges, view failures as opportunities for growth, and celebrate their successes.

According to Carol Dweck (2008), learners with a growth mindset are more likely to persist in their learning efforts and achieve their learning goals. By fostering a growth mindset, teachers can help learners develop a positive attitude toward learning and become more engaged in the learning process.

Make Passion Your Purpose

In conclusion, helping learners develop a passion for learning is crucial for their personal and professional growth. By encouraging self-directed learning, providing active learning opportunities, promoting collaborative learning, using technology to enhance learning, providing regular feedback, creating a positive learning environment, and fostering a growth mindset, teachers can help learners become lifelong learners.



Axelson, R. D., & Flick, A. (2010). Defining student engagement. Change: The magazine of higher learning, 43(1), 38-43.

Bonwell, C. C., & Eison, J. A. (1991). Active learning: Creating excitement in the classroom. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Reports, 1-12.

Cifone, M. V. (2013). Questioning and learning. Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue15(1), 41-55.

Crockett, L., & Churches, A. (2017). Mindful assessment: the 6 essential fluencies of innovative learning. Solution Tree Press. 

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The "what" and "why" of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11(4), 227-268.

Dweck, C. S. (2008). Mindset: The new psychology of success. Random House.

Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81-112.

Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., & Smith, K. A. (2014). Cooperative learning: Improving university instruction by basing practice on validated theory. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 25(3&4), 85-118.

Knowles, M. (1975). Self-directed learning: A guide for learners and teachers. Association Press.

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 2(1), 3-10.