References to the sense of curiosity can be found littered throughout our culture. The cartoon character from the late 90s and early 2000s, Curious George, and the clichéd proverb, ‘curiosity killed the cat’, are examples of how curiosity has been interpreted before. References to curiosity in ancient literature also convey how people of the time and place perceived the sense. Greek mythology’s Pandora, Eve from the Garden of Eden, and Lot’s wife from the episode of Sodom and Gomorrah, are some unflattering depictions of curious women pointed out by noted psychologist G. Loewenstein. These characters are contrasted by the intense and passionate philosophical curiosity best-represented by the Greek philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, on whose work the Western tradition of philosophising is built. As the evidence suggests, curiosity in a very general sense has been interpreted in the past to be a virtue, a vice, and even a complex combination of both.
Taking into consideration the significance of the quiz and its mechanics to Walnut, we decided to focus on just that – quizzing and curiosity. Our primary aim was to understand the impact of quizzing on children’s curiosity, i.e. if participating in quizzes could actually make children more curious.
Having recently completed the paper, here are some details about the project and our findings:
With these objectives in mind, our research hypotheses were narrowed down to:
(1) Quizzing as a single intervention does not increase curiosity.
(2) Mechanics used in Quizzing stimulate curiosity.
To prove or disprove these hypotheses, we designed an experiment in which a group of children would take a standardised curiosity assessment test (Children’s Curiosity Scale [CCS] developed by Dr. Rajiv Kumar), participate in a QShala-styled quiz immediately after, and take the same curiosity assessment test one week later.
With help from the Walnut team, we conducted a quiz at a South-Bangalore residential community for 26 children aged 9-14 years. 7 adults who observed the quiz contributed towards the collection of qualitative data. The quiz was conducted in the standard
format of a 20-question written preliminary round and a final round featuring the 6 highest-scoring teams. Prizes were given away to the top 3!
Our conclusions were that:
(1) Quizzing as an isolated intervention does not significantly affect curiosity, however, developing quizzing as a habit is likely to prove contrary
(2) Quizzing conducted regularly as a learning exercise is likely to influence children’s curiosity positively because of the effective mechanisms that it employs.
Here’s how Questions build curiosity!
(1) questions that are part of the material used in every class are like thematic probes prodding students to feel curious
(2) questions that are encouraged to be voiced by students allow them to express curiosity and the desire for specific knowledge on any topic that may have been referred to!
Research also suggests that children and adolescents go through a critical phase of cognitive development in which exploratory questions (how, what, why, etc) are central to their thought processes – QShala can give students a way to express these.
How do QShala Catalysts spark curiosity?
1) Designing sessions suited to every type of learner
QShala content creators are encouraged to pepper presentations with as much aurally and visually appealing media as possible – we think this is also a way to create novelty. A question is often thought to be as boring as an elongated statement ending with a question mark; you would find it difficult to point out one such example during a QShala class. To know more about the different learning styles QShala employs, read our blog here!
2) Use of interactive media
The idea of using media in the classroom has brought about a significant change in the way that children learn today. As a tool, media serves several functions in the context of learning. Apart from obviously making sessions more fun, visual media captures the attention of students in many ways that a human-being cannot. QShala also uses media to present consumable sized chunks of information to students effectively.
3) Learning is all fun and games at QShala
QShala is designed to be a gamified experience. What this means is that elements of game play – such as rules, teams, and point scoring – are used to maximise engagement, participation, and learning. Games like taboo or pictionary, for example, keep students engaged, curious, and are extremely fun ways to practice solving problems. By creating a fun and light environment in the classroom, these games can also help facilitators break initial ice and connect with students in a significant way.
As you can see, Tony and I were able to examine our paper’s hypothesis and develop a basic understanding of elements that connect curiosity and quizzing. We concluded that quizzing as a single intervention will not significantly impact curiosity; much like going to the gym only once will not make an individual stronger. Even quizzing regularly will not prove as beneficial as quizzing regularly with a keen understanding and implementation of the mechanics it involves. Here, a continued parallel can be drawn with our gym metaphor – even regular visits to the gym can be ineffective if an individual is not doing the right exercises. This is where we see QShala, an experienced personal trainer if you will, not only understanding the quiz’s mechanics effectively but also implementing them in a meaningful way!