Motivation in Adult Education

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As adults, what motivates us to learn ? This is something I have been asking myself for a while as I struggle to find the motivation to write this blog post ! Yes, it is late and yes I have the holiday season as an excuse (sort of). But now it’s crunch time and I have set a goal that I need to see through. As students in the PID program, we have a common goal to learn how to effectively teach a skill set that we have been passionate about for some time. At times it can be a challenge to push through on your own but the reward is well worth it as you improve on yourself during the process.

I am typically not drawn to the top ‘however many’ list style articles but Get Your Audience Pumped: 30 Ways to Motivate Adult Learners has many great strategies. Without getting too deep and philosophical about motivation, this article by   

Here are the top 3 that stood out for me as ways to motivate that I could use as an Instructor.

1. Create useful and relevant learning experiences. Adult learners appreciate immediate relevancy. It’s a great incentive when training is immediately valuable and helpful to one’s work or personal life.

2. Build community through social technologies for learning. Implement a social media strategy as part of a learning experience. Use social networking applications and services to build groups with a common interest or goal. Sharing knowledge and experience through informal networks is a motivating and natural way to learn.

3. Create an experience, not just a course. What can you do to make a course unforgettable? Create an online and offline learning experience. Market your course to the audience to create buzz, get buy-in from key people, throw a related event, incorporate sophisticated activities to enhance learning, provide personal support for those having difficulty and provide follow-up.

What I have gathered from this list of suggestions as a whole is that it is important to make learning an experience rather than a chore. When students are engaged and actively learning, motivation comes naturally. As an Instructor I will need to develop methods to make regular course material lively and interesting. It will be crucial to keep the audience captivated therefore motivated and coming back for more.

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