Learning Theory Case Study
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This paper examines the learning difficulties that a learner is facing through the lens of learning theories. Learning denotes both the acts of acquiring and modifying, as well as boosting preferences, values, skills, behaviors, and it involves manufacturing different forms of information (Leonard, 2002). Learning should be seen as a process, and it is influenced by different factors such as prior experience, environment, emotions, and cognitions.
What are the concerns that the learner is experiencing?
The learner in question is having difficulties with two things. First, the living or home environment is not supportive enough. It is putting her under intense pressure that seems to be causing her to lose concentration. Secondly, the learner is having difficulties forgetting her difficult past. She indicates that she lost her husband, and since then, she has not come to terms with that loss. She is still grieving. For that matter, there is a need to address these underlying problems if the learner has to concentrate on class work. In order to solve these challenges, it would be prudent for the tutor to collaborate with the student’s academic counselor.
There are a number of approaches that can be used to solve the underlying problems. First, the learner needs a helper at home and company. She should be advised to move in with her immediate family. Her family will not only provide companion and emotional support, but also help her to take care of the baby while she is away. Secondly, it is important for her to go for psychotherapy. She needs assistance to overcome the loss of her husband and difficulties she is facing. At school, the tutor should not impose pressure on the learner, but offer a listening ear.
Eventually, the learner will get over her husband’s loss. The presence of her immediate family will give her company and emotional support, and this will help her to heal faster. In short, she should be guided to think less about her troubles, but focus on her studies. This goal will only be attained by having understanding people around her. •Who would be able to provide information about the learner?
There are two key informants who can provide information about the learner. The immediate family of the learner should be able to provide information about the learner while at home. In this case, they should report how the learner behaves or copes up with different situations in the home environment. On the other hand, the learner’s tutor is best placed to provide information about the learner. The tutor should be able to provide crucial information about how the learner copes up with class work. Both informants can help the therapist offer the best guidance to the learner. •What learning theories might help in understanding what is happening with the learner?
Different theories of learning have been proposed. With respect to behaviorists, learning is an aspect of conditioning. This means that it creates a system of targets and rewards in education (Merriam, 2007). Cognitivists focus on the complexities of human memory and that learning cannot be seen as a change in behavior (Merriam, 2007). For constructionists, what learners’ already know or understand, shape their ability to learn; for that matter, learning must be individually tailored (Merriam, 2007). Besides, transformative learning theory emphasizes the need to mold a learner’s preconceptions into better ones. Moreover, humanism concentrates on the educators’ traits. Educators who are caring, have empathy and are genuine always motivate their students and register successful results (Merriam, 2007).
The transformative learning and constructionist theories will help the learner to understand her challenges. In terms of the constructivist theory, the learner will be influenced by others such as their tutor or academic counselor. On the other hand, transformative learning theory will help in molding the learner’s perceptions into better ones. •Is this learner more intrinsically or extrinsically motivated for the learning task?
It is evident that the learner is intrinsically motivated. Intrinsically motivated students tend to perform better than those that are extrinsically motivated because they are driven by an inner desire to succeed. The learner’s tutor has confirmed that the learner has a great potential to succeed. On top of that, the learner has revealed that she has always wanted to become a nurse someday and that she wants to be a good example to her daughter, Sophie. She also aspires to have a better life. These factors are a clear indication that the learner is intrinsically motivated for the learning task. •How can intrinsic motivation be encouraged?
In order to motivate a learner intrinsically, there are five basic needs that must be full filled.
Physiological needs: such needs include food, shelter, air and clothing. Those whose physiological needs have been met will be intrinsically motivated.
Safety needs; this requires the person to have control over certain things in their lives or environments such as certainty and health. These needs must be provided in order to boost intrinsic motivation.
Social needs; denotes having a sense of belonging or love. The learner is lucky to have her immediate family nearby.
Esteem needs: These are desires for achievement and strength or recognition.
Self-actualization needs. Luckily, the learner has the desire to be a better person.
These needs must be fulfilled and nourished if the intrinsic motivation of the learner has to improve. The first four needs are provided by the external environment. The tutor and academic adviser of the learner ought to monitor the learner’s needs and ensure that they are met. •What ethical standards might apply in the case?
In this scenario, there are a number of ethics or ethical standards that ought to be observed. The challenges that the learner is facing are not easy, and she is justified to react that way. In this case, the tutor should ensure the following. First, he should keep the learner’s challenges private and confidential. In other words, the rest of the class must not know that their classmate is having personal problems; otherwise this would aggravate the matter. Secondly, the tutor should not scold or punish the learner for not following instructions. If the tutor opts to punish the learner, he will be aggravating the issue. In other words, the learner will even be scared of coming to class. Instead, the tutor should listen to and try to understand the learner’s challenges. He should offer guidance and counseling.
Critical Analysis: Insights from Literature
Stuart and Campbell (2008) outline how the motivation of freshers can be motivated by pedagogic practices, as well as highlight best policies that encourage students’ motivation. First-year students face numerous challenges as they seek to familiarize with their new learning environment. At times, their challenges could hamper their learning capabilities leading to poor academic performance. In line with this, Stuart and Campbell (2008) state that getting the first year right involves impacting the right behaviors and skills in the undergraduates. These researchers give three important motivational aspects: expectancy, affective and value. Expectancy component deals with students’ beliefs and their perceptions of academic tasks. It is important to instill positive beliefs. On the other hand, affective components deal with the emotional aspects. Moreover, task value stipulates the significance of undertaking a given task. The learner under discussion can be motivated by instilling in her positive expectancy, affective and value learning components.
Similarly, Froiland, Smith and Hirchert (2012) contend that if cultivated, intrinsic motivation to learn can lead to improved academic performance among students. Teachers, according to Froiland, Smith and Hirchert (2012) are continuously challenged to improve the intrinsic motivation of their students. In fact, many students tend to lose intrinsic motivation as they move up the academic ladder, and that is why teachers come in. Froiland, Smith and Hirchert (2012) cite intrinsic goal setting and provision of an autonomic learning environment at the school as the major ways of boosting the learners’ instinct motivation.
In conclusion, this paper has evaluated a student’s learning challenges. Her motivation can be boosted by satisfying different physiological, social, safety and esteem needs. In addition, the competency, affective and value components of motivation should be addressed if the learner’s intrinsic motivation has to improve.
Froiland, Smith and Hirchert (2012). Intrinsic Motivation to Learn: The Nexus between Psychological Health and Academic Success. Contemporary School Psychology, 16, PP.1-10. Retrieved from http://www.casponline.org/pdfs/pdfs/intrinsic_motivation.pdf
Leonard, D. (2002). Learning theories, A to Z. Westport, Conn: Oryx Press.
Merriam, S. (2007). Learning in adulthood a comprehensive guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. (Merriam, 2007)
Stuart, L., and Campbell, H. (2008). Student Motivation: Premise, Effective Practice and Policy. The Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 33(5), 1-10. Retrieved from http://ro.ecu.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1494&context=ajte
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