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Motivation comprises the direction and energy that guides behavior. When we are motivated, we engage more in what we are doing, and therefore we learn more. Most adults have greater Motivation for learning when they can see how it applies to things that matter to them, be it their personal and family lives or their work and career.
For adults, Motivation to learn is centered around their goals. Due to many competing pressures, adults must continually adapt their goals over their lifespan. They can select and pursue goals to optimize the benefits and minimize the costs. Thus, the process of adult learning may involve the following:
The role of individual agency is critical in adults' Motivation to participate in formal or informal learning. Adults may choose to pursue education for many different reasons including self-improvement, supporting their children, or obtaining a better job. It is common for learners to be driven by motivations that are both intrinsic, or the inherent desire to learn and accomplish goals, and extrinsic, or the desire for external rewards, certificates that open other opportunities, or for recognition.
Motivation for learning can also vary by content area and in different learning contexts; for example, learners may have different levels of Motivation for online versus in-person learning depending on their life circumstances.
When annotating, learners engage deeply with a text and make their thinking visible while reading, which supports Foundational Reading Skills.
Experts can answer questions and provide vocabulary, processes, feedback, and scaffolds to help learners deepen their understanding.
Audiobooks allow learners to hear fluent reading and experience books in a flexible format.
When adults can connect and communicate with authentic audiences about their interests and values, learning becomes more personally meaningful and relevant.
Case studies support authentic, active learning experiences centered around real world situations that present an account of a particular set of circumstances for learners to engage with.
Beginning meetings with check-ins and maximizing opportunities for informal check-ins, whether live or online, can foster a sense of Belonging while building Social Supports.
When designing instruction for adults, expectations and goals should be clearly outlined to help learners focus on the material and make plans for success.
Adult learners can self-organize into groups called communities of practice to engage in longer-term examination of a topic to build deeper understanding.
Competency-based learning is self-paced, focused on mastery, and centered around demonstrating learning outcomes and skills rather than where or how they were attained.
When learners process and express information visually, they are activating more cognitive processes while Problem Solving.
Understanding adults' lived experiences and cultural backgrounds and connecting them to instructional practices helps all learners feel like valued members of the community.
When preparing for and executing a debate, learners analyze, form, and express verbal arguments, fostering their critical thinking skills, an essential component of Problem Solving.
Analyzing errors is especially beneficial in helping learners develop a Learner Mindset and critical thinking skills, which are a component of Problem Solving.
Networking and supporting adult learners in expanding their social networks provide access to additional resources and Social Supports, which can impact their trajectory and Motivation.
Experiential learning is learning by doing, which may include self-directed learning activities.
In an increasingly digital world, adults who struggle with using technology can benefit from direct instruction for an array of digital tools.
Teaching learners how to effectively search the internet is critical for helping them learn how to find accurate and relevant information and aids in developing information literacy.
Adult learners who are struggling with Foundational Reading Skills, including decoding and phonemic awareness, can benefit from explicitly learning phonics skills in an educational setting.
Seeing and using new words repeatedly and across contexts is critical for vocabulary acquisition.
Formative assessment is "assessment for learning" rather than "assessment of learning".
When adults are aware that learning involves effort, mistakes, reflection, and refinement of strategies, they are more resilient when they struggle.
Game-based learning is an active learning experience with clear objectives and measurable outcomes designed to be intrinsically game-like.
Setting overall goals with actionable steps for achievement can help learners feel more confident in their abilities and help minimize procrastination-related behaviors.
Visualizing how ideas fit together helps learners construct meaning and strengthens their recall.
Visual reading aids, such as handouts and online guides, help learners to maintain Attention and serve to support the learning process.
Immediate feedback can improve a learner's confidence, self-awareness and enthusiasm for learning, which leads to increased Motivation.
Inquiry-based learning is centered around open-ended questions posed by instructors and/or the learners themselves and fosters a Learner Mindset.
Adult learners benefit from knowing there is an instructor available to provide support as needed, especially during asynchronous learning.
Journaling allows learners to reflect on their thinking and feelings, process their learning, and connect new information to what they know and their practical experiences.
Intentionally incorporating voice and choice into adult learning experiences is critical for making learning meaningful and relevant.
Giving learners the opportunity to share their knowledge, skills, and understanding with others strengthens learning and increases Motivation while also building Social Supports.
Metaphors and analogies can support learners by helping to form connections and to notice patterns and similarities that promote learning, self-concept, and higher order thinking.
Mindfulness is a practice to create internal balance and a sense of being present in the moment.
For adults, the Composition process can become more robust when learners can express ideas through multiple media, which includes visual, audio, and digital production.
Instruction and training presented in multiple formats allows learners to activate different cognitive skills and Background Knowledge that are necessary to remember procedural and content information.
The opportunity to observe peers or experts in action or participate in shadowing can provide a unique and authentic learning experience that often involves questioning, metacognitive thinking, and Problem Solving while providing Social Supports.
Learning in social contexts has been shown to have significant effects on comprehension of material and retention of new information into Long-term Memory.
When learners provide constructive feedback on each other's work, they reflect on their own understanding, learn to give relevant suggestions, receive specific ways to improve, and engage in Metacognition.
Perspective seeking is different from perspective taking as it involves communication with the purpose of gaining insight into the nuances of alternate views.
Making space and time for physical activity, through brief movement breaks in the classroom or workplace and incorporating it into daily life, has benefits for the body and mind.
Positive self-talk can support self-efficacy, optimism, Self-regulation, and a Learner Mindset.
When instructors ask questions or have learners create questions before introducing a text, they activate interest, increase Motivation, and help them assess what they already know about a given topic.
Problem-based learning (PBL) is a learner-centered multidisciplinary approach focused on real world applications using active learning methods.
Process-based writing focuses on how learners brainstorm, outline, draft, and revise their writing and is most effective when paired with feedback, especially for English language learners.
Reflection can take place throughout learning, supporting critical thinking and Problem Solving skills when learners actively question assumptions, and after learning experiences to support Metacognition.
When instructors are able to provide context, and connect math concepts to an adult learner's world, math can be seen as relevant and applicable to their daily lives and work- a core aspect of adult Numeracy.
When adults monitor their comprehension, performance, and use of strategies when learning they become more invested in their work, build their Metacognition, and actively participate in the process.
Simulations and immersive virtual environments provide authentic learning at a level that can spark curiosity and deeper understanding by engaging multiple senses in exploration.
Skills sprints are focused, real world learning experiences for teams in which participants learn new skills while directly designing, developing, or delivering something to their organization.
Learning and studying information across multiple sessions that are spaced, or distributed in time, can promote learning and long-term retention of both basic and conceptually complex facts and concepts.
Speech-to-text takes the input from voice recognition and produces text.
Bringing learners' everyday literacy practices such as text chats into instruction provides regular, low-stakes practice communicating with authentic audiences.
Analyzing short video clips, replays of important aspects, and videos of oneself applying what has been learned can improve Metacognition and Long-term Memory while fostering a Learner Mindset.
Analyzing and discussing solutions to problems helps students develop a deeper understanding of Problem Solving processes and Numeracy skills.
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