Monday, September 29, 2008

Factors Influencing Learning (Part II)

Our group discussion was very helpful for a couple of reasons. First, it solidified in my mind that the two factors I have chosen to focus on (motivation of the learner and authenticity) are critical in the learning process (although I admit that my view as them being the "top 2" isn't necessarily gosepl truth). As we talked about each of our individual views, we kept coming back to the same theme--differences among individual learners and the context that the learning is taking place in. I also realized that we had a lot of the same ideas, but that we sometimes used different language or terms to describe those ideas.

At times we discussed particular strategies that would lead to effective learning and attend to the factors that we believe are most influential (e.g. if we believe that emotion has an influence on learning we should do things that bring the learners emotions into the process); without fail, we would think of times when a particular strategy would not be effective or even detrimental. Usually these "catches" had to do with situations in which a particular strategy would not be effective for a particular learner. I am realizing more and more that it is nearly impossible to design a learning environment or learning activity that is a perfect fit for each and every learner. It seems like part of the challenge of a designer is "satisficing" or deciding what strategies will be an adequate fit for the majority of the learners (given that this is some sort of group learning environment like a class or seminar).

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