From the desk of Dorothy McKinley Soressi
School Change Maker
Meeting the needs of students to change their future
Breaking The Code of Motivation
BREAKING THE CODE- What motivates Adult Learners? Motivation has a significant influence on adult learners because it enhances and mediates learning during instruction and is a consequence of the learning. Motivation can be defined as forces or drives that energize and direct us to act the way we do. The key to success for any adult learner program is a variety of teaching strategies.
From the teachers’ perspective, adult learners are increasingly diverse, from various backgrounds and motivation plays a large part in the learner’s ability to progress through a program. The classroom environment set the tone for learning and can make the difference between a motivated learner and a bored, reluctant learner.
There are both strengths and weaknesses of motivation in adult learning. Adult learners generally know their goals, needs and values. Most adult learners are highly motivated, self-directed and learn best from experience. These qualities make them easier to motivate. Adult learners that were taught in traditional classrooms may be uncomfortable with new technologies and advanced methods of instruction which may make then uncomfortable.
Stimulating the mind by creating opportunities for discussion and cooperative learning discussion groups.
Ask thought-provoking questions and offer problems that don’t have one right answer. Challenge learners to think about exceptions to a rule or to question conventional wisdom. Learners appreciate it when you respect their intelligence.
Create an active learning environment.
As a general rule, most learners are motivated by engaging in active learning events over passive experiences. Students’ motivation is increased when they have some autonomy and self-direction about the learning tasks they need to do. Students need feedback to assess their progress on tasks, a part of self-regulation of learning.
Provide immediate and constructive feedback.
Adult learners want to know how they are doing. Furthermore, if they are not doing well they want to know why, and they want to be pointed in the right direction. Allow learners to make decisions and guide them through the learning process. Never leave them hanging and always offer explanation or provide review of the material they did not understand
To motivate the adult learners it is necessary to accommodate individual interests and career goals. Each learner is a unique individual with his or her own goals. Empowering a person to work toward these goals through training is a powerful incentive to learn.
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