Evoking Optimal Learning Engagement

Optimal engagement for learners is when they enter a state of consciousness called the flow state1. In flow, one’s mind and body are completely absorbed in the learning at hand, all distractions fade away. Learning becomes so enjoyable that it is pursued for its own sake. The conditions to enter the flow state, according to Dr. Csikszentmihalyi, are: clarity, commitment, centering (concentration), choice, and challenge. The table below outlines how an Agile Classroom evokes flow for your classroom

Agile Classrooms Evokes Optimal Engagement
Clarity: goals, expectations, and the process to achieve them are highly visible.
Connectedness: learners, in teams, interact and support one another throughout their learning. They are connected to the context and meaning behind their learning.
Commitment: shift from pushing learning to pulling learning. Students increasingly have a say in how to learn and how much to commit to.
Choice: opportunities grow to make decisions in their learning and interactions.
Concentration: chunking time, goals, and tasks into into small increments decreases the cognitive load so learners can center on the learning at hand. Making learning visible at all times enhances focus.
Challenge: goals are differentiated to match perceived abilities. As learners’ skills evolve, the environment becomes more challenging.
Continuous Feedback: learners work within a predictable and rhythmic feedback loop, while visible artifacts radiate progress.
Confidence: celebrating small wins more frequently, learners self-agency grows.
1. Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper & Row, 1990. Print

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