One could argue that a side effect of finding information is learning. So surely this means that the problem is not Wikipedia but that learning needs to evolve and we need to shift from a pedagogy of answers to a pedagogy of questions (and here I wanted to shout out ‘open learning and teaching practices’). In reality Wikipedia is a gift to education as it encourages people to learn how to think.
Noun-phrasing is strategy used by psychologists to influence certain (desired) behavior, for example going to vote. Simply said, the effect of asking someone to go voting is much less effective than using the noun-version: asking this same person 'how it feels to be a voter'.
The same approach has now been applied to children, and rather than asking them to vote, they were asked to help them.
The experiment involved discussing the topic of helping with three groups of children: 1 group discusses that ‘some kids are helpers' and the other group discusses that 'some kids choose to help’, and a third group did not discuss anything about helping. These groups were then put into a situation similar to home (surrounded by toys), and 4 different ‘help tasks/situations’ (put away toys, open a container, clean a mess and pick up spilled crayons) were simulated and the researchers counted the number of occasions of kids actually helping. Of course, this was done experimentally, so two groups were tested, one of which used noun-phrasing, the other one just ‘asking kids for help’.
The outcomes, as you would expect, indeed show that kids respond much better to the noun-condition than to the verb-condition - 29%. There was no difference between the two other groups, making the noun-based intervention even more significant.
Why does this work? The basic hypothesis of these two studies are explained below: