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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.
Developing empathy in educators and in learners is an iterative process that requires taking the time to understand and honor others' perspectives.
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.
Developing cultural awareness as an educator is an ongoing process that includes building empathy for diverse learners, intentionally recognizing how one's own identity intersects with learners' identities, and creating an awareness of how the environment can impact learners' Sense of Belonging.
Discussions about race can range from celebrating the importance of diversity to understanding the impact of racism from the perspective of those who have been historically marginalized.
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.