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Adult Learner > Strategies > Foster Growth Mindset

Foster Growth Mindset

Overview

When adults are aware that learning involves effort, mistakes, reflection, and refinement of strategies, they are more resilient when they struggle. Learners may view failure and having to put in effort on a task as a sign that they lack ability (i.e., "fixed mindset") rather than viewing failure and effort as useful and necessary for learning (i.e., "growth mindset"). Showing learners that instructors must also persist through challenges when learning new skills, such as Digital Literacy, models the importance of continuous growth. Research has shown that a growth mindset is particularly helpful for learners with math anxiety when learning Numeracy skills.

Use It In Your Learning Environment

A critical way to embed growth mindset is to frame assessments as opportunities for learners to show what they know and can do versus a test of their ability - a mastery-based approach. Research has shown this strategy is particularly effective in reducing the impact of Stereotype Threat on performance. A related strategy is to have learners do an expressive writing task before an assessment to help them reappraise their negative Emotions. Instructors and edtech developers should frame feedback to learners in the form of continuous follow-up and growth, acknowledging the progress they have made, rather than simply praising immediate achievement. Products can also provide open tasks that have more than one answer so learners focus on process and strategies. Letting learners set individual goals and create study plans also encourages Motivation and Self-regulation and builds a Learner Mindset.