Student Engagement – The Product of Motivation and Active Learning

Venn Diagram figure 1.1

from Barkely’s “Student Engagement – A Handbook for College Faculty” (2010 Jossey-Bass) pg. 6

As illustrated by the diagram above, student engagement is the product (not the sum) of active learning and motivation.

As there is no single technique to engage students, the educator must try several techniques to see what works for them.  Chapter 6 of Elizabeth Barkely’s “Student Engagement – A Handbook for College Faculty” (2010 Jossey-Bass) focuses on examples set forth by experienced adult educators. Some common denominators include reflections on technology in the classroom, expectancy, value, choice, participation, and community building. The educators cite examples of student engagement that they experienced, discuss what worked (and what did not), and reflect on some of their conclusions.

 

Motivation

The educator must ask him/her self “What can I do to motivate the students to learning?”

The graph below illustrates 8 aspects of motivating adult learners in higher education.  An inspiring video on this subject has a link here. (recommended by classmate Suzanne Carlisle).

MOTIVATING ADULT LEARNERS

The 8 aspects of motivating adult learners are:

  1. Quality instruction
  2. Quality curriculum
  3. Relevance and pragmatism
  4. Interactive classroom and effective management
  5. Progressive assessment and timely feedback
  6. Self directedness
  7. Conducive learning environment
  8. Academic advising

Quality Instruction:

The educator must constantly self assess, adapt and improve where necessary.  Taking workshops, seeking feedback from peers and students, and staying in touch with the latest technologies are some things to consider.

Quality Curriculum:

The course materials should be revised periodically for relevance and accuracy.  One of the main complaints from my student’s feedback is that the course material is old, and at times, outdated.  This is on my short list of things to strive to improve in my department

Relevance and Pragmatism:

The course material should not go off on unnecessary tangents and stick to the facts

Interactive Classroom and Effective Management

The classroom should be a balance between learning theory and learning practice. The classroom should be managed for time, demonstrations, and audio visual equipment.

Progressive Assessment and Timely Feedback

The student needs to know how he or she is doing through testing and assignments grades

Self Directedness

The student needs to be able to read ahead, interact, or be in charge of his or her own assignment.

Conducive Learning Environment

A traditional classroom should be a clean, bright, quiet place to learn.  Avoid overcrowding and interuptive behaviors.

Academic Advising

Students need a resource to help make decisions on programs, credits, and careers

 

Active Learning

Active learning is when students take the theory and put it into practice.

As Yogi Berra once said “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice.  In practice there is.”

Instructional designers focus on teaching theory in the lecture classroom.  The theory is then put to practice as an integral part of the learning.  In order to engage the students, the educator should make the learning as interesting and relevant as possible.

 

principal based practices

from Bryson’s “Engaging Adult Learners: Philosophy, Principles and Practices” (2003)

 

So the key for the educator is to find his or her style of teaching that will promote active learning. Understanding the students is paramount.  The educator should consider; diversity, motivation, barrier removal (real and imaginary), technology (and technology dependency), learning styles, and student anxiety. Barrier removal is key, and is an opportunity for the teacher’s skill development.

Personal Observations

The active learning often takes place outside of the lecture classroom, in the labratory.  As a trades instructor, I have seen it many times where a student who was struggling with the concepts in the lecture have a greater understanding of the theory after completing his or her lab assignment.  During the labs, the student has an “Eureka” moment where suddenly the theory makes sense.

Conclusion

To truly promote student engagement, the educator must find the way to combine proper active learning with the student’s motivation.  Engagement cannot occur without both active learning and motivation.

Double helix model of student engagement 2

from Barkely’s “Student Engagement – A Handbook for College Faculty” (2010 Jossey-Bass) pg. 8

 

 

The Digital Divide

Computer-mediated communication, CMC, may be viewed as potentially offering equal learning experiences for global learners if open, free and accessible to all.

George Orwell famously wrote in his politically satirical novel “Animal Farm”, “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”. 

Internet access is not equal globally. Referring to the Table 1.1 on the following page, it can be noted that the percentage of people with no internet access in Democratic Republic of Congo (97.8%) is almost equal to the percentage of people with internet access in Norway (95.1%)

This disparity of equal internet access may take time to address, as did other infusions of technology into world society (telephones, automobiles, water treatment systems), as infrastructure takes time and money to develop.

It can also be seen from Table 1.1, the economic situation of a country has a direct correlation to its infrastructure, and hence its population’s access to the world wide web.  In 1995 0.4% of the global population had internet access. Today that number is 32%.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has launched Internet.org, with the intention of bringing internet access to 5 billion people globally, and hence narrowing what has become known as the “Digital Divide”.  Zuckerberg believes that internet connectivity is a human right, much like clean drinking water

digital divideCondensed from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_Internet_users#cite_note-ITU-PeopleUsingTheInternet-10

Instructional Strategies – Technology in the Classroom

 

As a new instructor, I want to find out how the trends of technology are impacting student engagement in the modern classroom.  My goal is to explore the roles of the teacher and of the student.

 

The Technology Context

  • Technology not just a tool, as “plugged in” life has infused much of society
  • The Internet has changed our relationship to accessing and utilizing information
  • Much is to be considered when framing this in context with learning. How to manage the technology?  What are the impacts on teaching? What is the Digital Divide?

Adult Learning in the Digital Age[1]

  • Technology is a major variable affecting adult learning
  • Learners are turning to the World Wide Web
  • Ability to access information has facilitated learning in a way that is particularly meaningful to adult; it is just-in-time, relevant, and self-directed
  • It can also be overwhelming, inaccurate and misguided
  • First image of the digital learning context may be to picture a formal online course.
  • Yet the vast amount of adult engagement online is informal[2]

Distance Learning – In the Past

  • Distance learning began with correspondence courses in 19th century England and the United States. In Canada, as recently as the 1980’s and 1990’s, (before eLearning became the standard), distance education was accomplished by offering courses by mail. The method was simple: design a hard copy course materials package that was sent by the postal service to the student to read and do assignments.  The students completed the assignments and returned them in the mail to the instructor.  Programs varied from public school K-12 to accredited institutions.  Enrollment was small compared to traditional classroom learning. Educators created ways to reach learners who were unable to attend the educational institution, with learners and educators often never coming into personal contact. Additional media used were phonographs, television and radio. Am not sure if there are many courses delivered in this manner today!

 Demand for eLearning

  • The demand for eLearning is evidenced by increasing online learning enrollments[3] in higher education
  • With the internet, the potential for eLearning available “on demand” is real. Access to information (for those with internet access) virtually instantaneous. Online learners are engaged in everything from informal surfing to formal educational courses
  • However, “The computer as a learning platform is proving to be an ineffective and boring medium” (Sonwalker 2008)[4]. Sonwalker notes that university online teaching may be subject to poor course management systems for information exchange
  • Some reliable institutions with online credit courses include:

– UBCSFU,VCCUVic and BCIT in British Columbia

– University of Calgary, McGill University, University of Toronto,

University of Regina also have online resources

Not all courses are available online. For example, the program that I teach is not available online in British Columbia.  The students are trades apprentices, and the program has a mandatory attendance policy.

 

 

Challenges for the Educator

In James Bryson’s “Engaging Adult Learners: Philosophy, Principles and Practices” (2003), he states that his 4 core beliefs for teaching adults are:

  1. TEACHING IS DIALOGUE
  2. LEARNING IS ENGAGEMENT
  3. GROWTH IS DISCOVERY
  4. KNOWLEDGE IS APPLICATION

Bryson believes that while a perfect level of “barrier free learning” is not entirely attainable, continuous improvement of providing education to a diverse population is attainable.  Therefore, continuous improvement should always be considered.

Bryson also notes that some learners have introduced imaginary barriers for teachers to overcome.  These learners:

  • Are reluctant readers
  • Have become technology dependent (obsessed? addicted?)
  • Are transactive (do not memorize, rather they learn to find online etc.)
  • Prefer passive learning to active learning
  • Have limited capacity for sustained focus
  • Are not proficient to higher order thinking
  • Are dependent on teacher provided resources
  • Find expressing ideas challenging (verbally and in written form)
  • Use transactive rather than explicit memory
  • Are anxious about the labour market

Bryson goes on to say that each barrier is an opportunity for the teacher’s skill development.  

 The challenge moving forward will be to adapt the technology to the most effective learning environments.  This adaption should involve continuous assessment and improvement

Personal Observations and Reflections on Technology in Society

In today’s society, technology is everywhere:

  • Travel by bus or aircraft, and you can’t help but notice that most people are busy using their ubiquitous smart phones
  • At work and in our personal lives, most of our non-verbal communications is delivered through some form of computer (email, text messaging etc.)
  • Handwritten or typewritten letters, newspapers and libraries are becoming much less commonly used in modern society
  • Information is now available on-demand 24/7. Some of it, I am told, is reliable
  • We are so bombarded with information that it becomes difficult for many to manage it all

My personal observations include seeing pre-teens texting at a bus stop to infants using a smartphone in public restaurants.  And I’ve also observed people become edgy when they are cut off from internet service.  Or worse, when they lose, break, or forget their mobile device at home. To think that a mere decade ago, a smartphone was a luxury item. Today it has become a necessity for many.

Personal Observations and Reflections on Technology in the Classroom

Where my son goes to university, all the students are encouraged to bring a laptop to classroom lectures.  These are lectures with dozens of screens on, tuned to dozens of websites and applications.  I am skeptical about this.  I wonder how students can focus on the lecture when they have a billion other bits of information (and misinformation) at their fingertips?  Aren’t they distracted?

Mr. Craig Lovell, my assignment partner, noted that as information is available everywhere, the technology can be overwhelming. Information is available anytime anywhere.  With so much information available, when doing research it is easy to get off topic and go down tangential rabbit trails. As he gives presentations, older adults are more focused on the learning than the younger adults.  The older adults come to class with an outcome in mind.  The younger adults come to class for general interest.

Mr. Lovell postulated one way to reach out to the younger students would be to make a game out of learning.  For an on-line learning example, if students were to earn credits, tokens, or other certification while learning, there would be more satisfaction at achieving progressive levels and tasks.  He theorized that “gamification” would increase satisfaction in the learning.

It has been my observation that younger students are more comfortable with using electronic devices than older students.  They have always been around technology, take information for granted, and are adept at finding out what is relevant (and what isn’t).

As a trades instructor, we introduce and demonstrate theories, and the students demonstrate the learning via exams and lab assignments.  After 10 weeks, they either pass (they require 70% or better) to the next level, or they must repeat the term.  This is similar to Mr. Lovell’s idea, whereas we give credits (marks) and certifications to the students who have been successful at learning.

Software in the Classroom

In their presentation “Engaging Adults Learners with Technology“Saint Mary’s College of Minnesota suggests the following software for using technology in the adult classroom:

more links here

How to Move Forward?

I believe it is my role as a teacher to:

  • Identify and mitigate barriers to learning ” And each time we find ways to reduce barriers to student learning, we reduce barriers to our own enjoyment and satisfaction as teachers” (Bryson 2003)
  • Accomodate diversity (the students aren’t going to change so I should)
  • Embrace technology (if you aren’t moving with the times then you are standing still)
  • Continuously make improvements

Moving forward as an institution, I believe we should be constantly looking at ways to improve.  Something simple (oh it is NEVER simple) like updating all of our booklets (new illustrations, page numbers, indexes and a table of contents would be very helpful!), making videos of lectures, and improving our library of powerpoint (or prezi!) presentations would be a start.

As an caveat, however, it is not my intention to suggest offering our entire course online.  Testing and exams must be done face to face.  We are certifying these students to become journeymen, and an incompetent journeyman has the potential to wreak havoc, even death, in an industrial environment.  Hence our standards are strictly governed by regulations.

Stay tuned.  I will be covering this topic in future blog post updates.

 

 

[1] Adult Learning – Linking Theory and Practice – Ch. 10 page 190- 211, (Merriam and Bierma, Jossey-Bass 2014)

[2] King, K.P. (2010).  Informal learning in a virtual era.  In C.K. Kasworm, A. D. Rose and J.M. Ross-Gordon (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 421-429). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

[3] Going the distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011 (Allen & Seaman 2011) Babson Park, MA: Babson Survey Research Group

[4] Adaptive individualization: The next generation of online educationOn the Horizon, 16 (1), 44-47

US presidential election prediction

March 31 2016

The GOP

Donald Trump.  Ok there I said it.  Just once because for the rest of this narrative he is going to be called whatshisname.  Enough has already been said about whatshisname.  whatshisname says he will make America great again. Personally, I did not think America was not great. Now or ever.

Jeb Bush was the initial favorite. whatshisname took over and that’s been about it, you know the rest.

Ted Cruz. Not sure if this guy is presidential material, him being batshit crazy and all.

John Kasich. The dark horse? Nah, this guy wants to be vice president, so will stick it out. Probably the sanest of the three Republican candidates left.

The Democrats

Bernie Sanders is maybe too far left of center for the United States right now.  Don’t think you should rock the boat too hard: You do not want to shake up the rednecks and establishment.

Hilary Clinton seems to have the right resume for the job, but some of her past seems a bit shady. While it would be refreshing to finally have a woman as the POTUS, I don’t think she should become president simply because she is a woman. Is she the best woman for the job?  Without a doubt, she is certainly the most qualified.  The best person? Possibly, but isn’t she a lawyer?

My Prediction

whatshisname is too old, has the biggest mouth, talks without a filter and can lie like a bastard. A serious candidate for sensitivity training. He is blowing smoke up our collective asses when talking about a southern wall on the border with Mexico. Do the math for the engineering, land costs, materials, logistics and maintenance.  And expecting Mexico to pay, which is laughable.

But whatshisname wants to balance trade, wants universal health care and is a natural leader. And whatshisname is not, to the best of my knowledge, a lawyer.

I predict whatshisname will win the 2016 Presidential Election.

This is not  an endorsement for whatshisname.  But he makes me laugh. Out loud.  Seriously, the guy is a comedian.

Finally

As for becoming POTUS, it must really takes a lot of time, money, and luck (?) to get the most stressful job in the world.  I wonder. Maybe it’s for the free vacations on Airforce One or the free rent and meals at the Whitehouse. Or maybe thinking long term: writing a book (“I Bucked the Odds and Survived 8 Years in the Whitehouse” seems like a good title), or the speaking engagements after your gig is up.

Disclaimer

As a Canadian, I cannot participate in the American election.

Distance Learning – Self Reflections

In less than 20 years distance learning has morphed from mail based correspondence to electronic delivery, teaching just about anything. Today, thanks to eLearning, many on-line courses (accredited and otherwise) are available for a variety of programs from a number of institutions worldwide.

“Correspondence”

Back in the 1980’s and 1990’s, before the dawn of widespread eLearning, distance education was accomplished by offering courses by mail. The method was simple: design a hard copy course materials package that was sent by the postal service to the student to read and do assignments.  The students completed the assignments and returned them in the mail to the instructor.  Programs varied from public school K-12 to accredited institutions.  Enrollment was small compared to traditional classroom learning.

I took high school French by correspondence in the 1980’s.  In the 1990’s, I took  AutoCAD and instrumentation courses through SAIT by correspondence.  At both times I was in a remote community with no local learning center for adults. Correspondence education was one of the few options to learn without leaving the community.

Am not sure if there are many courses delivered in this manner today!

eLearning Experience Today

I am enrolled in the Vancouver Community College as an on-line student for PIDP 3100 and PIDP 3250. These are credit courses for the Provincial Instructor’s Diploma Program. My goal is to complete the diploma in about 12 months.

 

In my home province of British Columbia,  UBC,  SFU, VCC, UVic and BCIT all offer credit courses online. Other major online resources:

University of Calgary

McGill University

University of Toronto

University of Regina

Not all courses are available online. For example, the program that I teach is not available online in British Columbia.  The students are trades apprentices, and the program has a mandatory attendance policy.

PIDP 3100/2 – The Impact of Technology on Student Engagement

california2007 359

John Powszedny 2007

As a new instructor, I want to find out how the trends of technology are impacting student engagement in the modern classroom.  My goal is to explore the roles of the teacher and of the student.

In today’s society, technology is omnipresent.  Travel by bus or aircraft, and you can’t help but notice that most people are busy using their ubiquitous smart phones.  At work, much of the communication is delivered via email.  In our personal lives, communications between friends and loved ones has changed from handwritten letters to telegrams to telephones to emails to instant messaging. Maps have gone from carefully scaled specialized documents to GPS based ones and zeros that make virtually anyone an able navigator. Information was once only available after a careful search in a library .  Today, virtually all the knowledge accumulated in the history of mankind is available to the user by merely making a few clicks on a mouse or taps on a mobile screen. We are bombarded with information, in virtually every language known to man (including Vulcan and Esperanto).  OK, maybe not every tidbit of info is available in Vulcan.  Yet.

Don’t even get me started on the topic of social media.

My personal observations include seeing pre-teens texting at a bus stop to infants using a smartphone in public restaurants.  And I’ve also observed people become edgy when they are cut off from internet service.  Or worse, when they lose, break, or forget their mobile device at home. To think that a mere decade ago,  a smartphone was a luxury item. Today it has become a necessity for many.

 

April 30 2012 import photos 236

John Powszedny 2010

Trends and Roles: Technology and Students in the Classroom

In James Bryson’s “Engaging Adult Learners: Philosophy, Principles and Practices” (2003), he states that his 4 core beliefs for teaching adults are:

  1. TEACHING IS DIALOGUE
  2. LEARNING IS ENGAGEMENT
  3. GROWTH IS DISCOVERY
  4. KNOWLEDGE IS APPLICATION

 

principal based practices

from Bryson 2003 page 14

Bryson believes that while a perfect level of “barrier free learning” is not entirely attainable, continuous improvement of providing education to a diverse population is attainable.  Therefore, continuous improvement should always be considered.

Bryson also notes that some learners have introduced imaginary barriers for teachers to overcome.  These learners:

  • are reluctant readers
  • have become technology dependent (obsessed? addicted?)
  • are transactive (do not memorize, rather they learn to find online etc.)
  • prefer passive learning to active learning
  • have limited capacity for sustained focus
  • are not proficient to higher order thinking
  • are dependent on teacher provided resources
  • find expressing ideas challenging (verbally and in written form)
  • use transactive rather than explicit memory
  • are anxious about the labour market

Bryson goes on to say that each barrier is an opportunity for the teacher’s skill development.   

In their presentation “Engaging Adults Learners with Technology“Saint Mary’s College of Minnesota suggests the following software for using technology in the adult classroom:

I am pledging to give these a try.

Russia 155

John Powszedny 2007

Personal Reflections

The classroom where I teach hasn’t really changed much from when I was a student. Yes, the chalk board is now a whiteboard, the overhead projector is now a document camera, and the film reels have become powerpoint presentations and youtube videos.  But the format is the same; read the textbooks, discuss the theories, do examples on the document camera, and use animated powerpoints to demonstrate the theories with the class.

Smartphone use in the class is not permitted.  It has been demonstrated to be a distraction; not only for the smartphone user, but for the entire class.

Where my son goes to university (SFU), all the students are encouraged to bring a laptop to classroom lectures.  These are lectures with dozens of screens on, tuned to dozens of websites and applications.  I am skeptical about this.  I wonder how students can focus on the lecture when they have a billion other bits of information (and misinformation) at their fingertips?  Aren’t they distracted?

Mr. Craig Lovell, my assignment partner, noted that as information is available everywhere, the technology can be overwhelming. Information is available anytime anywhere.  With so much information available, when doing research it is easy to get off topic and go down tangential rabbit trails. As he gives presentations, older adults are more focused on the learning than the younger adults.  The older adults come to class with an outcome in mind.  The younger adults come to class for general interest.

It has been my observation that younger students are more comfortable with using electronic devices than older students.  They have always been around technology, take information for granted, and are adept at finding out what is relevant (and what isn’t).

Mr. Lovell postulated one way to reach out to the younger students would be to make a game out of learning.  For an on-line learning example, if students were to earn credits, tokens, or other certification while learning, there would be more satisfaction at achieving progressive levels and tasks.  He theorized that “gamification” would increase satisfaction in the learning.

In my own personal experience as a trades instructor, we introduce and demonstrate theories, and the students demonstrate the learning via exams and lab assignments.  After 10 weeks, they either pass (they require 70% or better) to the next level, or they must repeat the term.  This is similar to Mr. Lovell’s idea, whereas we give credits (marks) and certifications to the students who have been successful at learning.

july16-2007 030

John Powszedny 2007

How to Move Forward?

I believe it is my role as a teacher to:

  • Identify and mitigate barriers to learning ” And each time we find ways to reduce barriers to student learning, we reduce barriers to our own enjoyment and satisfaction as teachers” (Bryson 2003)
  • Accomodate diversity (the students aren’t going to change so I should)
  • Embrace technology (if you aren’t moving with the times then you are standing still)
  • Continuously make improvements

One idea I have is to make the lectures available online, and make a textbook  mandatory reading.  Then if a student wanted to review a lecture, she could simply watch it at her leisure.

I believe in barrier-free learning, however, I do not believe that my entire course should be taught online.  Testing and exams must be done face to face.  We are certifying these students to become journeymen, and an incompetent journeyman has the potential to wreak havoc, even death, in an industrial environment.  Hence our standards are strictly governed by regulations.

What and how to move forward?  I believe we should take a blended approach.  A good start will be updating all of our learning materials.  Something simple (oh it is NEVER simple) like updating all of our booklets (new illustrations, page numbers, indexes and a table of contents would be very helpful!), making videos of lectures, and improving our library of powerpoint (or prezi!) presentations would be a start.  Stay tuned.  I will be covering this topic in future blog post updates.

Please post your comments on this topic.  It would be great to have a variety of observations and opinions here!

 

cropped-april25-2007-025.jpg

PIDP 3250 – Assignment 1 Reflective Writing

oDSC_0432

What Is Student Engagement?

According to the Glossary of Education,

In education, student engagement refers to the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught, which extends to the level of motivation they have to learn and progress in their education. (February 18, 2016)

In Barkley’s “Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty” (2010 p.3-8), she begins to describe the importance of engagement, describing in comparison to a teacher’s passion to a student’s apathy.  The teacher wants the students to have the same enthusiasm for the given subject being learned.

She stresses the importance of avoiding dis-engagement, and why teachers must find ways to sufficiently engage students (in face to face classroom settings, and also online).

Engaged students want to learn.  They are motivated to learn. They have passion and excitement about learning.

Venn Diagram figure 1.1
From Barkley’s “Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty” (2010 p.6)

As illustrated above, Student Engagement is the product of Motivation and Active Learning.  It will not occur if either motivation or active learning is missing.

Other Definitions of Student Engagement

Engagement, in terms of the National Survey on Student Engagement (NSSE), is measured and defined as the frequency of participation.  The 2 key components, according to the NSSE, are:

  1.  Amount of time invested in learning by the student, and
  2.  Institutional organization and resources.

To paraphrase Pascarella and Terenzini (1991), “the greater the student’s involvement or engagement in academics, the greater the knowledge acquisition.”

 

However, in Bowen’s “Engaged Learning: Are We All on the Same Page?” (2005 p.3) – “An explicit consensus about what we actually mean by engagement or why it is important is lacking.”

 

 

Double helix model of student engagement 2

Personal Observations About Student Engagement

Active Learning and Motivation work together synergistically in a double helix model of student engagement. (“Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty” Barkley 2010 p.8).  See figure 1.2 above.

Reflecting on my personal experience and observations, my students are motivated by:

  • their employers (continuing their apprenticeship is directly linked to their success in my classroom)
  • their personal interests and aptitudes (why they were selected to be an apprentice by their employer in the first place)
  • competitiveness with their fellow students
  • job security and greater earning potential

My students experience active learning in my classroom when:

  • During lectures, students participate by following along the lecture and doing the physics and math problems involved in electronics
  • During laboratory time, they perform experiments and measurements, drawing conclusions based on their observations
  • being tested in exams and quizzes

My students also experience day-to-day active learning on the job.  They have to, they are being motivated by their employers!

Student Expectancy 

Students must have the correct attitude to be motivated, they must believe that they can learn a task successfully under stable and controllable conditions.

Behaviorism theory suggests teachers develop motivated students by reinforcement of successful learning behavior (class participation, attentiveness on assignments, etc.)

Self efficacy theories suggest that students believe in their ability to succeed in learning is more important than their actual skill level.

Attribution theory of expectancy suggests that students’ failure or success comes from internal or exernal, permanent or temporary, controllable or uncontrollable sources.

Self-worth models suggest that individuals are motivated to preserve their sense of self-worth.

Value

Students must be able to value learning if they are to become successful at the learning.  Teachers must be able to reward student’s coursework with grades, praise, etc.  Employers reward apprentice students with higher pay and with the greater job security of becoming a journeyman.

TABLE 2.1

Student’s Responses to Tasks Related to Expectancy and Value Perceptions

 

If a student expects to succeed and…

If a student does not expect to succeed and…

… Values the Task The student will probably engage in the task, eager and happy to focus on developing knowledge and skills by seeking to discover meanings, grasping new insights, and generating integrative interpretations. The student might dissemble and make excuses, pretend to understand, or deny having difficulties, focusing more on protecting the ego than on developing task-related knowledge and skill
… Does Not Value the Task The student might evade the task by doing the minimum that is required to get the task done, but his or her heart and mind won’t be engaged in it; attention will be scattered, drifting to competing interests. The student will probably resist or reject the task. If the task is required, the student will do it resentfully, angry at being coerced into a perceived unpleasant, pointless activity that may also prove to be embarrassing and reinforce negative self-perceptions of low ability.
Source: Based on J.E. Brophy, 2004, Motivating students to learn (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum), pp. 19-20.

Kohn (Punished by Rewards 1993) criticizes these approaches, saying that they are bribing the students and shifts the focus away from valuing the tasks to valuing the consequences of completing the tasks.

Csikszentmihalyi (1993, 1997) says the concept of “flow” describes states of deep intrinsic motivation, hence deep engagement.  When flow is experienced, awareness is merged with action, making the learner more absorbed in the task, and the activity becomes worth doing.

Wlodkowski (2008) says helping students achieve flow can be achieved by:

  1. Making goals clear, allowing learners to focus
  2. Giving immediate, relevant feedback as the activities continue
  3. Balancing skills and knowledge

Student Expectancy and Value Conclusion

The teacher must find the balance between engaging students while avoiding apathy  if he is to be successful in making the students successful.  Understanding the complex theories of motivation will takes a lot of planning and commitment.  A teacher is a leader, and the students, seeing the leader’s passion, can be guided to increasing eagerness to learn, and thus, engagement.

 How Does This Affect Me?  Where Do I Go From Here?

As a newbie to the world of being an adult education instructor, I must educate myself on how to educate my students.  I must give the students the tools they need to succeed as learners.  Adult students of today have grown up playing video games, using the internet, and using mobile telephones.  They expect the modern classroom to be able to keep up with their short attention spans by capturing their interest using a variety of techniques and technologies.

When I began my new job, I noticed that the course material was almost exactly the same as when I took the same program nearly 20 years earlier.  The same notes I learned from were scanned onto PDFs and reprinted.  When teaching in the classroom, my students lamented that the course materials were old and needed improvement.

Based on this feedback, I have learned from my students.  The same old drawings and old photocopies that were probably decades old when I was a student are even older today.  Today’s students prefer animations, colors, and modern fonts in the graphic design of the course material.  Needless to say that the chief instructor is old school, and might be resistant to change.

As I pledged to the students, I am trying to put a new perspective on the same old material.  I plan to update all my material by supplementing the old notes with new examples.

I have created animated power point presentations to illustrate the same concepts, and have had some positive feedback.  I try to explain the basic concepts using the old notes, and compliment them with my power points.

Based on feedback from the students, I have decided NOT to use Youtube video examples.  It turns out that is too cheesy, and could easily be done on their own time.  I will, however, continue to recommend Youtube videos that I found helpful, and pass on video html’s from other students.

Just goes to show that learning is dynamic and interactive.

Rome wasn’t built in a day…

Cheers

Resources

Elizabeth Barkley “Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty” (2010 p.3-15)