Surprise and learning

The right amount of surprise is a great catalyst for learning.

Think about it. Have you learnt anything new when you were not surprised? If you are not surprised by something, you are either already familiar with it, or it doesn’t interest you enough. Either way, you haven’t learnt anything new from it.

Of course, this surprise needs to be just the right amount. Too much surprise leads to disbelief. Too little leads to boredom. That is why cliches don’t work.

To teach somebody, we need to present information to them that is surprising enough for them to be interested, but familiar enough for it to not seem absurd.

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