Learner Readiness: 5 Tips to Help Learners Improve Their Focus
The traditional educational environment has long relied on attentive and passive learners to set the tone for productive instruction. However, these characteristics are not the natural dispositions of a majority of learners, particularly younger learners who crave more interactive learning experiences. Remote learning, which has become an increasing popular alternative to in-person learning formats, can make it even more difficult to engage learners, unless you’re employing particular strategies to provide more opportunities for interaction and collaborating in your virtual learning environments.
Fortunately, there are quite a few ways you can increase learner readiness and engagement whether you’re utilizing a hybrid or fully remote learning experience. In this blog, we’ll explore some tips and strategies that can help support learner readiness and empower your learners in their educational journey.
Understand the Why Before the How
Learning a few teaching techniques may help alter the state of your classroom, but it will not guarantee your effectiveness as a teacher. When you understand the purpose of learner readiness, you will be more apt to naturally make adjustments to your teaching style, classroom management and curriculum to encourage student success.
Learner readiness is the ability of a student to take new information and process it in a way that changes behaviors or leads to desired academic outcomes. In essence, it is the ability for an individual to actively engage in the learning process and take personal responsibility for learned information. The following strategies encourage students to become active participants rather than passive bystanders.
1. Bring the Class Into Focus.
Whether you’re conducting a course in the classroom or an online seminar, take a brief moment at the beginning of each class to rein in the focus of your constituents. Start with a brief exercise such as sharing a positive highlight from their weekend or asking them to provide a question or comment they had from the previous lesson.
Furthermore, you can encourage learners to sit or stand quietly for a minute and take them through slow, deep breathing exercises. This will increase the oxygen flow to the brain, expel stress and create the opportunity to become present and in the moment. Encouraging brief meditation or slow breathing is proven to help calm and focus learners of all ages.
2. Provide Sensory Outlets.
In addition to breathing exercises at the beginning of class, allow opportunities for sensory breaks within the class schedule. Encourage students to take periodic breaks in order to regroup or reset before diving into a new subject or section of the material. This helps learners from becoming overwhelmed or frustrated with a course or subject. Playing a game, working on an art project, or even just taking a short walk outside can be the sensory break needed to restore focus. Scheduling breaks into your lesson for these types of “brain breaks” helps students come back to class refreshed and ready to absorb additional material.
3. Bring Movement Into the Mix.
Many teachers are frustrated by how much students move and fidget on their own, but movement is not a detriment to learning. In fact, movement is one way to effectively enhance cognitive functions. First and foremost, movement increases the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the brain. This stimulates the neural networks and improves performance with both thought processes and memory recall. Movement also improves learner morale and motivation.
There is a caveat to using movement in learning. Some movements can be noisy and distracting, like the fidget spinner craze of several years ago. Instead of these items, support movement with yoga balls, bouncy seat bands, wiggle cushions, or even encouraging learners to take a minute or two every hour to get up and stretch. These activities allow students the freedom to generate some movement without interrupting classroom focus.
4. Develop Basic Cognitive Skills.
A successful learner has the ability to focus their attention on the information being presented. You can help students develop basic cognitive skills that they can build upon. A failure to process information affects a student’s ability to learn, read and listen, but brain training exercises can lay a new foundation the student can draw on to learn.
There are online programs that provide individualized practice modules focusing on reading and language skills. However, as a teacher, using diverse instructional methods also increases cognitive development. Songs, repetition, visuals, kinesthetic instruction and gamified content provide multiple ways for learners to engage with the material and retain the information they’ve learned.
5. Reinforce the Process Instead of the Results.
Rather than focusing on the desired results of the learner you are teaching, focus on the learning process and the specific need of that learner. Build custom reports that reflect how learners engage with your eLearning content to reveal the extent of the learning that has taken place. If they’re having to repeat lessons or certain areas within the course, it might be worth evaluating how you can build learner readiness in that area for an optimal experience. Design courses with contextual learning experiences that allow learners to dive into applying a lesson to a real-life scenario. Recognize the efforts and not the innate retentivity the student displays. This will create a growth mindset that encourages and rewards hard work and dedication so learners are ready to receive and retain the information throughout the entire process, not just when it comes to cramming for an exam or evaluation.
As there are different learning styles across every group of students, one way of instruction is sure to work better for one type of learner than another. This is why diversified instruction and an accommodating learning environment are crucial to student success. It is for these reasons that a variety of engagement strategies need to be employed. They give every learner the opportunity to reach their potential.
Building a solution that encourages learner readiness, even remotely, is completely possible thanks to the continuous advancements and improvements in eLearning technology. Cutting-edge content coupled with a flexible and scalable solution can allow you to incorporate more engaging and interactive approaches to learning and present opportunities for collaboration and connection among learners and instructors.
To learn more about creating a solution that encourages learner readiness and empowers your team with engaging instruction, contact the experts at Open LMS or request an individual demonstration below.