The following assignment discusses motivation, learning activities, organisation of information, communication and feedback. The theories of psychologists will be referenced to the examples given for motivation and the organisation of information. Theories include those of Abraham Maslow, Jerome Bruner and David Kolb.
Students attend Learning Resources IT training on a voluntary basis, and are therefore highly motivated. These students are intrinsically motivated. Borich & Tombari describe this type of motivation as follows “intrinsic motivation influences learners to choose a task, get energised about it, and persist until they accomplish it successfully, regardless of whether it brings an immediate reward” (p210). This description closely matches how our learners behave. Our students have recognised that they would benefit from improving their IT skills, have sought out and identified a resource to help them achieve this, and are happy to attend a programme that does not award a certificate.
Some students are extrinsically motivated, as there are external factors for responsible for their attendance. An example of this if they are referred by academic staff for additional IT support, or if they are experiencing problems with an assignment involving IT. Social learning theorists such as Albert Bandura believe that observing peers shapes learners’ behaviour and that the social environment can influence personality Zimbardo, McDermott, Jansz & Metaal (p460). This could explain why some students attend because their peers are already competent in using a computer. If friends and family are IT literate then the learner feels they should be too. As more people become adept in using IT, then more people will follow this behaviour. Whatever the motivation factors, when a learner attends a learning programme it is the responsibility of the tutor to maintain their motivation. The learning environment
A tutor’s first consideration is to establish and maintain an effective learning environment. Learners need to feel secure and emotionally safe. As the humanist psychologist Abraham Maslow’s (1962) Hierarchy of Needs shows, physiological and safety needs must be satisfied before a person can progress. These needs can be applied to a computer workshop as discussed in Reece & Walker (p101). To satisfy physiological needs the tutor must ensure that the room is not too hot/cold, the chairs meet health and safety regulations, and learners have adequate breaks. Many students feel insecure and apprehensive about learning IT, to ensure they feel emotionally safe it is important that the tutor show empathy. Computers must be regularly maintained and software properly installed to ensure the learner does not have to struggle with technical difficulties.
The Humanist psychologists believe behaviour is unique to each individual. We are not all motivated by the same things and we all have different aims and expectations. Borich & Tombari describe the humanist theory as follows: “It is called humanist because the primary focus is the inner thoughts, feelings, psychological needs, and emotions of the individual learner” (p285). The Humanistic approach should apply choosing teaching methods and planning learning activities.
Learning activities must be structured to meet the needs of all learners. This can be a challenge as some learners expect formal instruction and the tutor-led approach, while others want to work independently, requesting help as required. Learners can become frustrated and de-motivated if the workshop is not at an appropriate level and/or the teaching methods and activities inappropriate to their needs.
Psychologist Carl Rogers stated that the learner should be placed at the centre of the learning process through active self-discovery. He also stated that “the job of the teacher, in his view, is to