Identify learners needs and problems
When learners have difficulty with learning it is very likely that it is caused by several factors that are controllable if the ETD Practitioner can identify the problems.
These problems are generally referred to as Blocks to learning.
Blocks in learning can be caused by:
a. The learning environment
• Noise, interruptions
• Not sufficient equipment
• Too warm; too cold
b. Physiological blocks
Poor hearing or vision.
Fear of humiliation and failure.
Fear of being too old to learn.
Problems with kids, colleagues, spouses, parents etc.
c. Lack of Motivation
‘Lack of motivation’ has an effect on all the stages of learning.
d. Unsuitable Work Environment
There are three aspects of the work environment that can create blocks to learning:
• The learner’s relationship with the boss or supervisor/ETD practitioners.
• The learner’s relationship with colleagues/fellow learners.
• The learner’s job itself.
In the working environment more issues are relevant.
With the boss or supervisor. The boss’s attitude to the learner or learners is as important as theirs to him or her.
Does the worker feel valued? If not, they may feel that the training is some sort of slur on their competence and capacity to do the job.
Do they feel important to the company, or mere appendages? If they do feel like appendages, then they cannot perceive that the training they are receiving is an investment in them.
Relationships with colleagues or workmates are important too.
• What are they doing?
• Have they had more or less training?
Although poor working relationships are damaging in themselves, good ones can also create problems.
As a Coach/ETD Practitioner you have a responsibility to create an environment with suitable resources for learning.
e. Inappropriate Subject Matter
The best-planned learning experience can fail just because it is or seems to be irrelevant to the learner.
f. Past Experience
The experience people bring to any learning event is important in several ways.
There can be potential conflict between past learning and what the ETD Practitioners are asking people to learn now.
g. Self Image
From the ETD Practitioner’s perspective, the learner’s self-image comprises two elements:
• the sum of their experiences
h. Inadequate Study Skills
The block to learning here is lack of study skills, or lack of skills appropriate to a particular learning experience.
Study skills mainly comprise of:
• reading in depth
• reading for information at speed
• answering questions
• taking notes
• examination routine
• planning time
• allowing time to study
Graduates may additionally be versed in:
• research skills
• questioning skills
For other, non-academic types, study skills may be comprised of:
• use of checklists
We’ve probably all met the situation where a learner has remembered with total clarity a few bits of a training session, but forgotten all the rest – often resulting in some major misunderstanding. This leads in turn to learners becoming suspicious of training – and with some justification.
• the first thing learned
• the last thing learned
• anything that seemed vivid or exciting