Getting Your Learners to Take Accountability For Their Own Learning

Learning acts as a foundation for growth in all areas of life and is a practice that should be consciously prioritised in order to continue to develop and progress. Many people see learning, especially in the formative years, as a necessary evil that is essential to finding your place in the real world. As we get older, we begin to recognise the importance of learning and development, but new barriers appear. 

We all know how beneficial learning is in helping to achieve both our long and short-term goals. However, when you have a day job, hobbies, family commitments, a social life (and so on and so on) to maintain it can become a challenge to prioritise time for learning. 

So, how can we get better at prioritising learning and how can we help our learners get better at taking accountability for development?

Here's some key areas that you can focus on to make you a better learner. 

Growth Mindset

Let's start with the opposite to a growth mindset: the fixed mindset. Someone with a fixed mindset has the belief that you are either born with intelligence and talent or you're not. No matter what you do, you will never be able to improve the skills you are not naturally blessed with. In turn, those with a fixed mindset do not see the need to continue to push themselves to grow.

Those with a growth mindset prioritise their learning by identifying their weak spots and putting the time in to improve them. They realise that the more work you put in (not necessarily time) then the more that you get out. 

In turn, if you see learning as a chore (and something that no matter how much of it you do, it will never help you to improve) then it will most likely feel like one. If, however, you see learning as a stepping stone to something meaningful, you can enjoy the process and try to get as much out of it as possible.By looking at the bigger picture you can change the way you feel about learning and see that it’s all part of a curve that will result in a new skill or newly found knowledge.

By adopting a growth mindset, you can perceive problems as obstacles that can be overcome as oppose to permanent blockages. Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone will force you to face new things and thus learn from the experience. Even if the subject you learnt about is no longer relevant to you, having done it has given you that experience from which you would have learnt a lot about yourself.  

Key takeaway: Encourage your learners to adopt a growth mindset. It's not an easy feat, but once they're there then there's no stopping them!

Engaging with Feedback

Receiving consistent feedback is something that motivates learners hugely, because without this it becomes hard to gauge just how well you’re doing and in turn they may become demotivated and give up. Getting feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, can help you stay on the right track to achieving your overall goals.

Engaging with the feedback you’re presented with is key to improvement and combined with growth mindset can go a long way towards making the most out of your learning experience. If you are able to view negative feedback as specific areas that have been highlighted for improvement, then you can focus on this area and perceive it as a stepping stone towards a holistic understanding of the subject.

Key takeaway: Consistently provide learners with feedback and encourage peer mentoring within your class or organisation. A mentor program can be great for this!

Accountability and Empowerment

If you consistently engage with the work you have been assigned with a positive attitude, you begin to reap the rewards of the sense of achievement you get once that work has been completed. Once you recognise that your hard work is paying off and having a positive impact on your life, you will be more inclined to continue learning new things.

Courses that allow you to take accountability for your own work mould you into a person who is able to take responsibility for themselves. The realisation that you are the sole contributor to your success should encourage you to think more about developing skills in learning. Being a self-reliant individual is about being able to find the motivation and carry out the task at hand with the view towards expanding your knowledge.

Related: Are Your Learners Really Learning?

As a learning or training provider then you can do this by encouraging your learners to think about their future goals and how their learning will get them to where they want to be. Putting an action plan in place is always a helpful tool. 

Key takeaway: Empower your learners to be accountable for their own learning and results.

Getting Your Learners to Take Accountability For Their Own Learning

By helping your learners to develop a different mindset towards their work, then they find themselves becoming more motivated to own their learning. Encouraging a growth mindset, providing constructive feedback and empowering your learners is a winning combination to help your learners to take accountability for their own development!

As a learner, using the negative feedback given to you as a benchmark for improvement, as oppose to a cause for despair, can help you grow as an individual and by using positive feedback as an indication that you’re on the right path can help you continue being successful. Asking yourself why you are learning this particular subject should conjure up an answer that is in alignment with your long-term goals for success. With this goal in mind you can tell yourself that by learning this, you are progressing towards that goal.

Finding the motivation to learn is usually the hardest part but by looking at the bigger picture you can motivate yourself by thinking about the long term rewards.

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