Director of Schools – For generations, learners have been asking the questions, “Why do I need to know this?” and “When am I ever going to use this?” I am convinced that if we wish to engage our learners, we need to start by considering these age-old queries.

Recently, I had the opportunity to take several lessons related to some new software tools that I will need to become proficient with. The Office 365 modules included One-Note, Sway, Groups and SharePoint. Frankly, I admit that I was not prepared to delve into these new programs with zest and zeal. As you may surmise, I am quite comfortable using the tools that I have become familiar with.

I remember asking the instructor specific questions about how I may be able to use each of the programs for various facets of my work. Once I understood how these tools could be useful, I became much more interested in trying the programs and learning more about them. The importance of making real-life connections to the concepts being learned cannot be understated.

Simon Sinek, one of my favourite authors, states, “Start with why.” Essentially, his message is that people may be inspired to action if they understand the why. Similarly, learners solving real-world problems and learners who can make life connections to the outcomes they are studying will be far more engaged and will develop deeper, more thorough understandings than learners studying concepts that have little or no meaning for them. As educators, our challenge is to ensure that we make learning meaningful for each and every individual!

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