Tool 1: Find out what matters to the learner, what inspires and consumes them.

Tool 2: Use this natural source of inspiration to filter in the learning.

It doesn’t matter if the learner is 3 or 53, when naturally inspired by a topic they happily engage with it, learn about it, become even more inspired by what has been learnt and some even get a little obsessed by it.

Let’s face it, when something really matters to us we are absorbed by it! I like to think of it as a consuming passion. Consuming passions are wonderful and have an incredible impact upon us. They draw us physically in, impacting upon all our senses. They shift our thinking and perspectives, helping us see old things in a new light. Consuming passions get the creative juices flowing, giving us inspiration to innovate a little more. They also change our behaviour as our whole being is absorbed into the moment.

So to engage the learner, the idea is to actively begin filtering the new content or thinking processes into the consuming passion. As you do this ever so carefully and with a great deal of respect for the learner and their consuming passion you will discover that:

  1. The learner will create their own momentum around the knowledge as they assimilate the new content or thinking process into their rationale and creativity.
  2. The learner will end up talking about the new assimilated content or thinking processes as it becomes more important to their skill development.

A good example of new learning infiltrating a consuming passion is that of my 3 year old nephew needing to learn the password to access the iPad. He adores the iPad and the fun he has on it. So to introduce some literacy into his world we changed the password to his first name. Prior to this he was only mildly interested in reading and writing. We told him what the password was and offered ideas as to where he might be able to find it written down. We also showed him (once I might add) how to access the iPad when the correct letters were entered. We added a few other suggestions too which he found a lot of fun. In no time he was reading and writing his name. He was writing and typing it and using it to do the things he was passionate about on the iPad. We changed the password regularly and well lets just say literacy now matters to him A LOT.

Finally, a couple of important points to remember:

  • Your way of learning may not necessarily fit the learner, so be very flexible and gentle in your approach.
  • If new content or thinking is filtered in respectfully and purposefully the learner will hardly even notice the shift you hope to offer them.
  • The process and/or product might look and feel very different from what you experienced yourself growing up or how you learnt the skill– remember this is ok, simply be proud of the engagement and the development and declare it purposefully to the learner. This valuing makes a big difference to the learning being embedded.


Give it a try, it works!