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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1992 Apr;62(4):625-33.

Effects of fantasy contexts on children's learning and motivation: making learning more fun.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Stanford University, California 94305-2130.


Two studies examined the effects of embedding instructional materials in relevant fantasy contexts on children's motivation and learning. In Study 1, Ss showed marked preferences for computer-based educational programs that involved fantasy elements. In Study 2, Ss worked with these programs for 5 hr. One program presented purely abstract problems. Others presented identical problems within fantasy contexts. Some Ss chose among 3 fantasies; others were assigned identical fantasies. Tests on the material occurred before, immediately after, and 2 weeks after the experimental sessions. Ss showed significantly greater learning and transfer in the fantasy than in the no-fantasy conditions. Having a choice of fantasies made no difference. Motivational and individualization strategies for enhancing interest and promoting learning are discussed.

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