Raymond Wlodkowski, author of subject title, has several motivational strategies which enhances the adult learning experience.
In my insurance organization the Training Department delivers the knowledge, introduces the process and the skills; whereas, Coaches reinforce the skills, the process, and the knowledge but in a realtime environment.
Coaches hold debriefs with the learners in both group forums and individually, so to identify and collaborate the experiences they've had in the true working environment.
Here's a taste of what Raymond Wlodowski has to offer from his written works...
Strategy #15: Use Assisted Learning to Scaffold Complex Learning
Lev Vygotsky (1978), a pioneer in social constructivist theory, realized that a person could solve or master certain problems and skills when given appropriate help and support. Such learning often called “assisted learning,” provides scaffolding – giving clues, information, prompts, reminders, and encouragement at the appropriate time and in the appropriate amounts and then gradually allowing the learner to do more and more independently. Most of us naturally scaffold when we teach someone to drive a car or play a card game. The zone of proximal development (ZPD) is the phase in a learning task when a learner can benefit from assistance (Wertsch, 1991). The upper limit of the zone is the place where the learner can perform the task independently; the lower limit is the place where the learner can perform the task but needs assistance.
Most of us learned to drive a car with someone in the seat next to us who prompted and reminded us of what to do and when to do it as we navigated a road. In the beginning, this “coach” usually had to scaffold pretty intensely: “Check your speedometer”; “I think you’re speeding”; “Watch out for that car”; “If you don’t stop, we are going to have an accident.” We were obviously in the lower limit of our zone of proximal development for driving.
From a neurological perspective, scaffolding, the practicing and being coached to drive a car, resulted in new dendrites growing along the axons of thousands of neurons. Over time, with more practice and coaching, these new dendrites and their axons formed branches that created strong neural pathways and networks resulting in a speedy and efficient circuitry with multiple pathways. Now, biologically in the upper limit of the ZPD, we can drive independently.
Adults deeply appreciate the support that assisted learning offers because it tends to be concrete, immediate, and tailored to their obvious needs. The following are some of the assisted-learning methods that can be used to scaffold more complex learning (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1990; Tappan, 1998).
• Modeling. The instructor carries out the skill while the learners observe, or the instructor offers actual examples of learning outcomes.
• Thinking out loud. The instructor states actual thought processes in carrying out the learning task.
• Anticipating difficulties. As the learning proceeds, the instructor and learners discuss areas where support is needed and mistakes are more likely to occur.
• Providing prompts and cues. The instructor highlights, emphasizes, or structures procedural steps and important responses to help learners clearly recognize their place and their importance to the learning task.
• Using dialogue and discussion. The instructor engages the learners in a conversation where the understanding of concepts and procedures of the learning task deepens and becomes more organized. The give and take of these mutual explorations includes critique but in a way that alternates between serious and playful discussion (Brookfield and Preskill, 2005).
• Regulating the difficulty. The instructor introduces a more complex task with simpler tasks and may offer some practice with these.
• Using reciprocal teaching and practice. The instructor and the learners rotate the role of instructor; in that role, each learner provides guidance and suggestions to others.
• Providing a checklist. Learners use self-checking procedures to monitor the quality of their learning.
Developing Self-Efficacy for Learning
Goethe believed that the greatest evil that can befall a person is that he should come to think ill of himself. When it comes to learning, this aphorism is most relevant to the adult’s perception of self-efficacy. Some learners may not have a negative attitude toward their instructor or the subject, but they may judge that they lack the capability to successfully learn in the task at hand. Learners holding such perceptions have low self-efficacy for the learning goal or course. A learner with low self-efficacy might think, “I’d like to learn Spanish. The teacher seems great. But I just have never been good at learning other languages. I don’t think I’m going to do well in this course.” The learner is likely to give up easily when he encounters frustration or failure during the learning process: “I got a C minus on my first test. Maybe I should drop this course while I can get most of my money back and before I really do poorly.”
Albert Bandura defined self-efficacy as “beliefs in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given achievements” (1997, p. 3). Self-efficacy is a personal assessment of one’s capability to perform a specific task.
Adult self-efficacy is situation specific and, although future oriented, it is largely based on performance in past experiences. Self-efficacy beliefs are stronger predictors of adult behavior than are other self-perceptions such as self-concept and self-esteem, which are more global and have less specific meaning (Bandura, 1997; Bong and Skaalvik, 2003). Bandura’s ideas about self-efficacy and learning are relevant to understanding the motivation of adults because they account for the reciprocal influence of the learner and the environment on each other (Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner, 2007).
Many adults harbor doubts about their learning capabilities. They often underestimate and underuse their capacities (Knox, 1977). Their family members may reinforce their self-doubts by questioning their talent or the need for certain learning. Later adulthood and old age are periods when many learners are especially vulnerable to these sources of anxiety.
When adults begin courses or new learning activities, we can provide experiences from which they can derive higher self-efficacy and, consequently, greater self-confidence as learners. Bandura (1997) found that self-efficacy expectations are generally acquired through four sources. (1) Mastery experiences are direct experiences of success and failure in given tasks over a lifetime. These are probably the most powerful influences on adult self-efficacy beliefs and are stored as prior knowledge in our long-term memories.
(2) Vicarious experiences are situations in which we watch the learning task successfully performed by someone whom we view as similar to ourselves. The more closely we identify with the model, the more likely the greater will be that model’s influence on our self-efficacy expectations for the task. (3) We also acquire self-efficacy through social persuasion, when someone we trust encourages us to believe that we can, usually with greater effort, accomplish the task at hand. (4) Self-efficacy is promoted in situations where our level of arousal is supportive for effective action, such as when our limbic system processes feelings of relaxation, alertness, and enthusiasm for the task ahead.
Mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, and social persuasion will provide basic theoretical underpinnings for the strategies offered in this test to enhance adult self-efficacy for learning. Any strategy that supports a positive emotion for learning also supports a positive level of arousal.