The Will to Learn

Learning is one of the most important activities in which humans engage. It is at the core of the educational process. For many years, philosophers and psychologists have sought to understand the nature of learning, how it occurs, and how one person can influence the learning of another person through teaching, educating, facilitating, call it what you will.
Adult learners are different to other learners. An adult has responsibility, experience, and wisdom…..all of which needs to be considered when preparing a training session.
Many theories of learning have been suggested, and these differ for a variety of reasons. Most current theories of learning presume that the goal of education is to develop the ability of learners to understand the content and to think for themselves, presumptions that are consistent with the majority of modern-day training trends. What many institutions and providers of Education and Training forget is the will of the learner.
Learners have to want to learn. Nothing can help the person who does not want to learn. But nothing can stop the person who really wants it. A fabulous illustration of this is the boy scout story:
  • A boy scout gets home at the end of the day and says to his mother:
    “Wow, but I had a hard job doing my good deed today.”
    Mother: “Why was that?”
    Scout replies: “I helped a blind man to cross the road.”
    Mother: “But why was that so difficult?”
    Scout: “Because he did not want to go.”
Learners who are not motivated will not learn effectively. They won’t retain information, they won’t participate and may even become disruptive. While motivating learners can be a difficult task, Triple E Training has learnt over the last 24 years in education and training, that there are various reasons for unmotivated learners. Some may be personal and some relatively easy to solve. Sometimes the solution is far more challenging. The point is that the Triple E Training Educators take the first step in getting the learners excited about learning:

Encouragement

Triple E’s Educators encourage open communication and free thinking and make the learners feel important. They encourage learners and recognise them verbally and clearly for their contributions.

Involvement

If adults are involved in the decisions of the training and given responsibility this sense of ownership allows them to feel accomplished. This encourages active participation in class.

Rewards

Offering learners incentives makes learning fun and motivates them to strive for success. This does not have to be financial and is actually more effective when it’s a group event, bring and braai, recognition as the top Mathematician for the week etc. If it doesn’t then perhaps you have that learner who really doesn’t want to learn.

Creativity is Key

If educators are boring, ill-prepared, and predictable (same old every day) learners will simply drop out. Creativity from the Educator is key. They should play games (yes with adults, we all love games), use different ice-breakers, ask the learners to bring pictures and personal items in … whatever fun it takes to make sessions creative.

Make it REAL

If a learner does not believe that what they’re learning is important, they won’t want to learn. Demonstrate – and better still get learners to relate how the activity or skill is used everyday by “real” people.
Learnerships such as Business Practice are successful in motivating adults because they are full qualifications and also relevant to all working environments.
Whether it is actually possible to make a learner want to learn or not, Triple E training sees firsthand on a daily basis how the attitude of the learner has a huge impact on success……or non-success. It is clichéd to say that positive attitudes bring about positive outcomes, but when it comes to learning there is absolutely no doubt. The learner who wants to learn and who feels supported, rewarded (in recognition) and capable, is positive about his/her studies. A positive learner is a thriving learner.

Sources

NQF 1 Business Practice http://allqs.saqa.org.za/showQualification.php NQF 1 GETC Manufacturing, Engineering and Related: http://regqs.saqa.org.za/showQualification.php http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/09/02/six-ways-motivate-students-to-learn/ http://www.joe.org/joe/2006december/tt5.php