Wednesday, December 1, 2021

How Boredom Can Help You Learn More Effectively

Do you find that you struggle to improve your grades and absorb exam content? Are your days packed full and your brain is overflowing with stimuli from the world around you? So many of us tend to fill each and every minute of our days with constant information and noise. We watch television while we eat, we engage in text conversations with our friends while on the bus and we listen to podcasts while we exercise. These days, we are simply not giving our brains enough time to rest or be idle. We intuitively avoid boredom at all costs. But what does that phenomenon do to our learning? Read on to discover how boredom can help you learn better and think in more creative ways, which will ultimately boost your grades and improve your score on a midterm or proctored exam

The State of Boredom 

Many of us fear boredom because we hope to stay productive and engaged all the time. But did you know that letting your mind wander and stumble upon new ideas and ingenuity? You would be surprised by the results. In a fascinating academic article on the function of boredom, educational researchers Shane Bench and Heather Lench describe how boredom can shift our focus to unexpected ideas and inputs. From their perspective, "boredom has specific and unique impacts on behaviour, cognition, experience and physiology." Allowing moments of boredom makes space for your mind to engage with alternate, atypical solutions that you may not have otherwise come up with. Bench and Lench push the discussion further to argue that "the pursuit of alternative goals and experiences engendered by boredom is likely to be reflected in shifting attention to novel stimuli." Simply put, when our minds have room to wander, they will engage with more interesting information and stimuli in our environments. 

Boredom in Moderation 

Boredom can inspire us in unexpected ways and push us to think critically and more creatively, which can be incredibly useful for learning. That being said, when you are chronically bored, particularly in your day job or academic studies, it may be an indication that you need to make a major change and focus on a more inspiring subject matter. Maybe you need to get inspired through continuing education or online studies in a subject area that interests you. Endless boredom does not help us achieve the ingenuity and unconventional thinking referred to by researchers Shane Bench and Heather Lench. When experienced in moderation, boredom "serves to encourage people to seek new goals and experiences." But when we are excessively or chronically bored, we may not experience the same motivation to think creatively. Give yourself permission to dabble in boredom and explore for yourself how it can positively affect your learning and exam preparation. 

Studying Motivation and Resources 

Need additional support or guidance before your big exam? You can also check out the Ultimate Exam Survival Guide from ATS, featuring a number of useful study techniques and recommendations for success. Beyond our safe and secure exam proctoring services, we are dedicated to providing you with the best resources and intuitive study tools to make your life easier. Head over to our YouTube channel for additional informative videos and helpful study tips. 

Written by CJ McGillivray

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