Development Teaching Tools

Episode 84: How To Make Learning Fun Again Part 1 – Piaget

Rekindling the Joy of Learning: A Look at Piaget’s Cognitive Development to make learning fun again

Jean Piaget
Image via Wikipedia

Embarking on a Journey of Youthful Discovery

Do you remember the sheer joy of learning as a child? The thrill in discovering new things? Our mission in this episode is to bring back that feeling. Dr. Eugene Geist explores Jean Piaget’s theories, revealing our inquisitive nature. From our earliest words to complex concepts, our lives are a quest for knowledge. But in adulthood, how can we make learning fun and keep that childlike zest alive? This is our quest.

Piaget’s Philosophical Foundations

Renowned Swiss cognitive psychologist Jean Piaget once noted, “Education’s main goal is to shape individuals to innovate, not just replicate past feats.” This isn’t mere words; it’s a deep insight into education’s purpose – not just rote learning, but nurturing innovation and creativity.

A Deeper Dive into Piaget’s Developmental Stages

1. Sensorimotor (0-2 years):

This foundational stage is when infants begin to grasp the concept of object permanence, understanding that things exist even when out of sight. It’s fascinating to observe as they navigate ‘confusion disequalibrium’ – that sense of surprise or confusion when the expected doesn’t happen. It’s here they learn the art of assimilation, connecting new experiences to existing knowledge. Conversely, they also learn accommodation, crafting new mental compartments for unique experiences. This continuous process of learning and adapting is the crux of constructivism.

2. Pre-operational (2-6 years):

Welcome to the era of wonder. Children in this stage are guided more by intuition than by logic. Their world is full of symbols, from toys representing real-life entities to scribbles signifying words. As they near the end of this phase, they start moving out of their self-centered world, becoming more aware of others. And yes, magic is real for them, be it in the form of Santa Claus or tooth fairies. Their minds, though expanding, still grapple with concepts like volume and mass, making conservation tasks a tad tricky. Our goal? To make learning fun amidst their natural sense of wonder.

3. Concrete Operations (7-12 years):

Children transition into craving more logical and detailed explanations. They benefit immensely from hands-on learning, where they can manipulate objects to understand concepts. Their thinking, while predominantly logical, occasionally dabbles in the abstract. Yet, the realm of hypotheticals is still a bit out of reach.

4. Formal Operations (12+ years):

Entering the teenage years, there’s a noticeable shift. Thought processes become more sophisticated, abstract thinking takes center stage, and hypothetical situations become comprehensible.

The Heart of Piaget’s Teaching

To wrap up, Piaget’s belief system revolves around one core idea: children are not mere passive recipients of information. They are curious, active learners, constantly interacting with and trying to make sense of the world around them. They don’t just learn because they have to, but because they are innately wired to.



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  1. Avatar


    January 19, 2009

    As a way to support the podcast, I put all of my mnemonic videos and images into my new app for iOS and Android. It’s a couple bucks but there are over 60 mnemonics in the app and it’ll be really helpful. Here are the links to the Psych Mnemonics app:



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    January 19, 2009

    Your mnemonics are great! I have my Psych exam tomorrow and have been watching your youtubes since yesterday, so helpful. I was wondering where I can find the images you said would be on your website for Piaget’s theory of cognitive development?

    Cheers, Kinta

  3. Avatar

    Charley Gihiala

    January 19, 2009

    I have tried combining it with mind castle and it I was happy with the results. It was truly fun visualizing sets of pictures on the front door, TV screen, dinning table, fridge, bathroom etc…. 5 entire units of econ stats done….
    Thanks again. You rock!

  4. Avatar


    January 19, 2009

    Thank you so much for your comment. Very interesting that the mnemonics for Piaget stayed with you for so long. There are a lot of episodes here which demonstrate how mnemonics can be applied to psychology. Try doing a search from the homepage on the term mnemonics and you’ll get a list of all of them. I wonder if the mnemonics worked well for you because they employ mental imagery – a typical right hemisphere specialty?

  5. Avatar

    hayley fuller

    January 19, 2009

    I have an acquired brain injury on left frontal lobe and have just recently found your blog. I watched the piaget mnemonics show and have learnt something new – I have not forgotten the 4 stages and their particulars. until yesterday I thought this was not possible for me. thank you. Now a first year uni student studying psych I at least feel hopeful..

  6. Avatar

    Charley Gihiala

    January 19, 2009

    Thank you for this very useful learning tools. You are very creative. Thumbs up.

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    January 19, 2009

    Meghan: glad to hear it! Thanks for the comment.

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    January 19, 2009

    I just found this tonight before my exam tomorrow and it has been so incredibly helpful! 20 minutes and I have something memorized that I’ve been reading and writing all night….thank you!

  9. Avatar


    January 19, 2009

    Janie: thanks so much for your comment! Mnemonics are really helpful – especially for tests, so go into the EPPP with a fighting attitude!

  10. Avatar

    Hi Michael!

    January 19, 2009

    Hi Michael! Guess what…I am taking the EPPP in 2 weeks and your podcasts have been a wonderful and HELPFUL study tool; especially the great Erikson mnemonics! I am using them for everything (kinda hard with Piaget; but it works). You remind me of my undergrad abnormal psych prof that got me hooked on psychology in the first place!

    Janie Black, Ph.D.
    Austin, Texas

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    January 19, 2009

    I am taking psychology as a college student and you site is extremely helpful. Thank you!

  12. Avatar


    January 19, 2009

    Great! Glad to hear that the podcast has been helpful. Good luck on that test Wendy! – Michael

  13. Avatar


    January 19, 2009

    I am going for my re-certification for Child Life and these tools have been so refreshing. Thank you for the new ideas and ways for me to learn.

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