Strategies for Developing Learning Activities
The following information is provided to give you introductory strategies
and resources for developing learning activities for learners. This information
could also be used when providing training to paid staff and volunteer
Adults learn best when they are motivated to do so. Motivation
may come from within, a critical event may trigger
it, or it may be encouraged by family, friends, a social agency, etc.
You will, on occasion, meet
learners who do not seem to be motivated. So what can
you do? One way to capture their interest in learning
is to help them see the relevance
of what they are learning. You can also try to ensure
that they experience some success right from the
start. When this happens, adult students will
start to gain confidence in their abilities and recognize
To encourage learner motivation, the first and most important step is
to find out what the learner needs and wants to learn while in the literacy
program. In Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) agencies in Ontario, programs
use a learner-centred approach based on a goal-directed assessment process. Using this
type of an assessment process can help with learner motivation.
Another thing to think about is learning styles. We all have a preferred
learning style and keeping this in mind when developing
learning strategies can make learning more relevant and therefore more
motivating. You can
read more about learning
the Assessment Module of this series.
Variety is also important. Where possible, try to incorporate a mix of
reading, writing and speaking/listening activities into each learning
session. And don’t forget to add in a bit of fun! One excellent
resource that you may find useful is Writing Out Loud which you can find
Adult learners like to know why they are learning something, i.e. will
it help with their future employment prospects or will
it meet some other need? In the goal-directed assessment process, you
will identify some
gaps in learning and together with the learner, you will
determine which gaps should be addressed by the literacy program. Keeping
learning relevant to the learner’s needs will also help keep the
Success generally leads to success. Be sure to build in opportunities
for success when developing learning activities. One way to do this is
to set goals that are achievable in the short-term. This will help learners
become more confident in their abilities and encourage them to continue
learning. As learners gain confidence, you can set longer-term goals.
Remember to keep the learner involved as much as possible. A goal-directed
assessment process is a good place to start and sets the groundwork for
the learner to continue to be an active participant in the learning process.
Knowing that you have some input can be very motivating!
A good source to learn more about motivation is John Keller’s model
of ARCS (Attention, Relevance, Confidence and Satisfaction). You can learn
about it at www.e-learningguru.com/articles/art3_5.htm.
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