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HR and L&D

The Importance Of Intrinsic Motivation for Students

What motivates students?

And further, what motivates them to be engaged at school to master the objective you’ve chosen for them?

The answers here vary dramatically and can have a huge impact on each and every student.

Let’s start with the obvious line of answers. “Everyone goes to school,” or “everyone needs an education in this day and age.” Though there is a certain amount of truth to these cliched responses. But if one of these “‘cuz everyone does it” answers is the best reason a young person can present for attending school, it’s no wonder these same kids do not engage and simply do school because school is the done thing.

Senior students often invoke the mantra “I have to do well at school in order to get into university” when asked about reasons for attending and doing well. This can be a genuine motivational factor, especially in families where the expectation is academic and career success. But is this the answer we really want when we pose that question?  Doing well simply to get to the next level is fine when playing video games, but it hardly seems inspirational as an educational goal for a secondary school student.

There are myriad other reasons students give for attending school, all of them valid. As with any question around motivation, answers to this question can be divided into two categories: intrinsic reasons for attending school and extrinsic reasons. Anyone who’s read Dan Pink’s book ‘Drive’ or viewed the related TED Talk, understands that extrinsic and intrinsic motivations are not equal.

Prevalent assessment practices are the most obvious example of how we rely too heavily on extrinsic motivators. As long as we evaluate more than we assess–and as long as we provide grades more often than we provide feedback–student motivation will come from the collection of this ‘currency’ that we call marks. Those richest in this currency will be afforded the best opportunities come to the end of high school, an unfortunate fact. The students we label ‘mark sharks’ are simply the ones who have truly taken to heart our message that good grades (i.e. extrinsic rewards), as opposed to quality learning, are the primary goal of our educational systems.

Extrinsic motivators don’t get students truly engaged in their learning, they make school analogous to a job–something that has to be done. If we want our systems to be as strong as they can possibly be we need to explicitly foster an intrinsic motivation in each of our students.

Only students who are intrinsically motivated to be engaged in school will end up truly challenged, enriched, energized, and ultimately fulfilled by their experience. Yes, it’s an ideal–but it’s worth keeping in mind.

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HR and L&D

Why Public Schools Should Continue To Use Remote Learning

This is a quick, simple post. It’s late Tuesday night and my kids need a bath–and, well, this isn’t complicated: public schools in the United States need to continue to use remote learning in the 2020-2021 school year.

I know it’s not that simple. As I wrote late last week in Teachers Are Suddenly On The Frontlines In The Fight Against COVID-19, teachers are now in a kind of morass. As COVID-19 rages in the United States with no signs of easing up soon, Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos have recently begun an aggressive push to open school buildings in the fall.

While the negative effects of remote learning have been well-explored, few things are all bad. We’ve mentioned that the long-term effects of remote learning have some benefits. Mark Siegel, Assistant Headmaster at Delphian School, talked about how remote learning can give parents a closer look at what their children are actually learning.

“There’s a potential benefit, too, in that many parents now have a chance to better and more fully understand their children’s education–what they’re being taught and how they’re doing in basic subjects. After going through all this, they might feel more confident taking the reins of education in their children’s lives. And as parents reclaim the role of teacher, at least to a degree, children might look again to their parents for direction and knowledge.”

Again–I’m just exploring one side of this. There’s simply so much to consider. But while I do believe that re-opening school buildings in the United States in the fall of 2020 is dangerous in terms of COVID, this post isn’t about the epidemiology. Rather, it’s about the existing momentum–in lieu of the often significant failures and shortcomings–that’s been created with remote learning so far.

So, a few statements.

7 Reasons Schools Should Continue To Use Remote Learning In The United States

I. The near-future of learning is almost certainly blended learning–a mix of digital and face-to-face instruction.

II. By moving to remote learning, schools have had to take stock in resources–and resource deficits–necessary to meaningfully integrate eLearning in pursuit of remote learning.

III. This process has forced curriculum (what’s being learned), instruction (how it’s being taught), and supporting resources (e.g., Zoom and Microsoft Teams) to be designed–and re-designed–to work together.

IV. This process has been slow and clumsy and likely resulted in ‘learning loss.’ But ‘loss’ compared to what? Being in a safe physical space–one that won’t likely exist for 6+ months?

V. In that respect, it’s possible to consider what we’re doing as part of an ‘implementation dip’–a temporary loss before a larger gain.

VI. Of course, no one knows what will happen in the future with COVID-19 or with remote learning and its long-term effects. I am not championing it as particularly effective or innovative. What I’m suggesting is that we’ve already experienced the loss and have begun to adapt.

And considering that the near-future of learning is likely blended, it just might make sense to continue down this path even if school buildings can safely re-open in the fall (which seems unlikely). These buildings can still support students who need the support of these spaces and the resources of the schools and the socialization of their peers–it just doesn’t have to look like the school they remember.

VII. I know this is all unlikely to occur but I thought it should be said: The near-future of learning is blended and we’ve spent a century developing the brick-and-mortar spaces.

Maybe we can spend another six or eight months developing the digital ones, too–and not as an aside, but as the focal point of a more personalized learning experience.

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HR and L&D

The Definition Of Synchronous Learning

Short version: As a general rule, Synchronous Learning occurs when students learn the same thing at the same time–online or offline.

In The Definition Of Asynchronous Learning, I offered that asynchronous learning was when students learned the same thing at different times. Obviously there’s more to it than that but that’s the gist of it in most digital classrooms and related learning environments. The big idea is ‘together’ (an idea that often implies ‘same’).

What Is Synchronous Learning?

What is synchronous learning? Synchronous learning is when students learn the same thing at the same time–through a lecture (online or in-person), for example. Synchronous learning is a kind of ‘group learning’ that happens in a way that’s unified by time and space–that is, students generally learn the same or similar content at more or less the same time and generally the same place.

As opposed to asynchronous learning, synchronous learning is characterized by the theme of togetherness and all of the pros and cons that a large group of people doing something together brings with it. If you think of these as features or constraints–namely time, place, and pace (that is when learning happens, where it happens, and who controls the pace of that learning) is a matter of how you frame it all–your biases and experiences and so on. But in a nutshell, that’s the definition of synchronous learning.

Synchronous Learning Online Or Off: eLearning vs In-Person

Traditionally, asynchronous and synchronous learning are thought of as types of eLearning, but most physical, brick-and-mortar classrooms that feature lecture, group discussion, and collaborative activities are all technically ‘synchronous.’ This is in contrast to a self-directed learning environment where students learned ‘independently’ of one another–especially the same content, which would technically be asynchronous.

Wikipedia explains that “students watching a live web stream of a class, while simultaneously taking part in a discussion. Synchronous learning can be facilitated by having students and instructors participate in a class via a web conferencing tool. These synchronous experiences can be designed to develop and strengthen instructor-student and student-student relationships, which can be a challenge in distance learning programs.”

While historically, most eLearning was necessarily asynchronous, the growth of computer technology–including bandwidth, video streaming, messaging and chat, social media, and more–has allowed online learning to become more synchronous. This places it more in line with the face-to-face instruction occurring in most schools and districts in K-12 today. Online synchronous learning has disadvantages (which include new dynamics for student engagement, classroom management, and personalization of learning), but also advantages including new definitions for community, new possibilities for backchannel discussion, and the ability to record and replay learning experiences over time.

We will follow up on examples of synchronous learning in a follow-up post but a few include quizzes, most classroom activities, classroom lecture (online or offline), face-to-face group discussion, in-person, collaborative project-based learning, debate, Socratic discussion, timed learning sessions or formal assessment-as-learning (testing), and more.

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HR and L&D

4 Ways We Can Avoid Workplace Burnout

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Acquire global knowledge and build your professional skills. Turpis in eu mi bibendum neque egestas congue quisque. Sed elementum tempus egestas sed…

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HR and L&D

Leading Your Workforce Through Uncertainty

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Acquire global knowledge and build your professional skills. Turpis in eu mi bibendum neque egestas congue quisque. Sed elementum tempus egestas sed…

Massa tempor nec feugiat nisl pretium. Egestas fringilla phasellus faucibus scelerisque eleifend donec. Porta nibh venenatis cras sed felis eget velit aliquet. Neque volutpat ac tincidunt vitae semper quis lectus. Turpis in eu mi bibendum neque egestas congue quisque. Sed elementum tempus egestas sed…

Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laboruLorem ipsum dolor sit amet datat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laboruore Duis autem vel eum iriure dolor in hendvelit esse molestie consequat, eu feugiat nulla…

Nam liber tempor cum soluta nobis eleifend option congue nihil imperdiet doming id quod mazim placerat facer possim assum. Typi non habent claritatem insitam; est usus legentis 

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