on January 26, 2000
"Before people can learn, they must be motivated to learn." This is the main thesis of the book that I enjoyed to read and discuss for our Class AHE 581, Enhancing adult motivation to learn: A comprehensive guide for teaching all adults, by Raymond J. Wlodkowski(revised edition in 1999). I selected this book because I am very interested in a number of theories about the learning process and a model of motivation in action what are relating to my Human Services worker at the American Red Cross and Puget Sound Community.
As a Red Cross instructor, I must look for some ways to enhance or maintain students' motivation to learn. I need to motivate learners to acquire new information, remember it, and apply it. When disaster strikes they must know how to come through the disaster safety and be equipped to cope with such an emergency. Therefore, people need to understand the worth of a subject and be motivated and ready to learn. "Effective learning does not occur without motivation" (Wlodkowski, 1999, p. 3).
First at all, and most important, throughout his book Wlodkowski provides us with a wide variety of detailed strategies for increasing learner motivation so that instructor can choose from among them based on the subject being taught and the learning situation. Wlodkowski is an extraordinary individual. For me, the more I read and learn about the book and his life experiences, educational challenges, and cultural background the more I respect his efforts and desire to become an adult educator.
Next, Wlodkowski also provides us the eight chapters in his book with an understanding of the important ideas and information about the learning process and styles of learning in which includes three types of learning: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor (motivating skills).
1. Cognitive: Chapter One through Three are organized to describe the cognitive as the first type of learning: facts, concepts, and application skills. Facts and concepts are taught and learners are provided opportunities to apply these information. They also present the theory and research supporting how motivation contributes to competent adult learning.
2. Affective: Chapter Four through Seven discuss the comprehensive treatment of major motivational condition: attitudes as they affect behavior. These chapters can help people examine attitudes that affect behavior and change attitudes that may result in undesirable behavior, which regards human experience, intelligence, and communities as ever-evolving mechanism.
3. Psychomotor: Chapter Eight explains two methods of instructional planning and guidelines for assessment of learner motivation. It is emphasized the unity of among worth, meaning, and joy in the process of learning. Learners can go through decision-making steps before beginning their learning and its consequences. One step is to make a decision about what they want to learn.
Learning can be defined as a process of change through which people acquire new knowledge, skills, or attitudes as a result of some type of study or experiences. Learning occurs over time and should be considered a lifelong process or experience. The objective of learning is to replace or enhance some of the ways we think or act with new ideas, attitudes, or behaviors. Wlodkowski stated, "The learning objective remains a top priority because without it, the motivation of the learners has no direction," (p. 303).
But people differ in the way they accept change. Some people may become anxious when they are expected to perform new skills or to be tested on new knowledge. They may try to reduce their anxiety by holding on to familiar ways of thinking and doing things. This is true since poor performance is obvious to other group members and could cause personal embarrassment. (See Strategy 14, p. 139). Giving learners an opportunity to talk about old and new behaviors in a supportive, positive environment will help them in accepting new information.
Learners need to feel free to share their first attempts in expressing new ideas or in performing new activities. Adults, who have been away from the class for some time, especially if they did not like school, may find it harder to take risks and to share their ideas with others in the class. (See Strategy 17, p. 145). Providing support and encouragement and being positive will help them to be more relaxed and open in the learning environment.
Part of learning also may involve aking mistakes. (See Strategy 18, p. 150). Help learners to understand that few people do everything right the first time they try. Support, encouragement, and corrective feedback will help motivate learners to continue the learning process by sharing with others.
People learn things in difference ways and different speeds. (See Strategy 54, p. 267). Teaching methods need to accommodate these differences when possible. One-way to find out whom is having difficulty learning. We can do this by asking questions, by observing, and by encouraging learners to ask questions. A learner who learns quickly or who enters the course knowing many of the skills that we are teaching may be paired with a learner who learns more slowly.
The ways people prefer to learn may differ; someone will want a lot of direction from you, while others will want little direction. Some are more visual learners, others learn better by listening or by using their kinesthetic sense. Generally, a learner will learn and remember better when instruction fits his or her style. We may not be able to know learners beforehand or determine their learning preferences; however, using the Motivational Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching will help us more closely meet different learning preferences.
In this book, research shows that the higher the level of education obtained, the more motivated students are to learn and to seek out new learning experiences. Educational level also is important because "the learning is connected to who they are, what they care about, and how they perceive and know," (p. 74). If learners read a level that is significantly below the reading level of the standard courses material, we may have to provide these learners with an outline of major course ideas and an overview of key words and concepts to support them in reading the course material. These learners may benefit if ideas are illustrated by examples taken from their own experiences and knowledge.
Each learner has had a variety of experiences during his or her lifetime. Lear