We know how challenging it can get at times to keep a positive mindset, especially if you are having a demanding job, family commitments, and community responsibilities. From time to time, we are getting overwhelmed, frustrated, and our mind is getting blocked. It prevents us from being creative, focused, and effective.
A positive state of mind is critically important for online learners because they are physically disconnected from their classmates and instructors. Some learners are naturally self-motivated and they can work successfully without help and support of other people; others need some inspiration in order to succeed in their studies.
In this post, we examine how to help students to stay inspired and positive during studies. Building a positive attitude towards learning is an important responsibility of teachers and instructors.
Finding sources of inspiration
For online learners, the virtual class can become a source of inspiration if the learning environment is interactive, supportive, and encouraging. Online discussions can support building such learning environment if the instructor sets the right tone and encourages learners to share ideas and thoughts.
Discussions help students to explore the variety of experiences and knowledge, to discover new perspectives and alternatives. Discussions and collaborative activities create a sense of partnership in the process of learning.
The course content also inspires students when it is delivered from the perspective of real-life cases and applications, and learners understand how theory is applied in real world. This helps to develop a positive attitude about the process of learning because they can realize what changes can be implemented at their workplace and in their lives based on knowledge gained during studies.
The great source of inspiration is self-belief. Instructors can build self-belief in students during feedback sessions, discussions, and tutoring sessions. It is important to find always some positive aspects of the students’ performance and show the ways of the further progress and improvements. It is easy to discourage your students by telling them how bad is their result, and what mistakes they have made. We should remember that the sense of progress and positive achievement encourage students to work better.
Inspiration maintains the positive attitude, ensures an enjoyable experience for learners, and motivates them to develop knowledge, skills, talents, and interests.
Encouraging a positive attitude to online learning
Without a positive attitude, learners have little chance to succeed in their studies. The positive attitude is a powerful factor which helps to stay focused and absorb information effectively, increases motivation and achievement levels, and makes learners more productive by retaining more information.
It is important that teachers and instructors know how to build and maintain a positive attitude during studies. There are several approaches which help to keep learners encouraged, focused, and interested in studies.
Quite often, online courses are focused on subject-matter content delivery and ignore human touch, communication, and support. Using learner-centered approach in the course delivery will allow implementing personalized learning and address strengths and weaknesses of each individual learner. When learners are in control of their learning experiences, they demonstrate more active participation and positive approach towards the course. Teacher’s task is to praise learner’s achievements, strengths, and talents. This will also boost learners’ levels of confidence in their abilities to succeed.
Informing learners about the value of the course
From my personal experience, I know how important is to make clear to learners from the very beginning why they should take this particular course and how it will help them in their work or further studies. They need to understand how the acquired knowledge can be put into practice. It creates a positive attitude, interest, and motivation to study the content.
Eliminating stress and fear
Many of us grew up fearing failures – we thought it makes us weak, incapable, and hopeless. Fear and stress are positivity’s worst enemies. And it is teacher’s role to create a safe learning environment which encouraged learners to explore, experiment, and analyze. Learners should understand that errors help to learn, to develop skills, and to understand better the subject. Failures and mistakes are a natural part of the learning experience. Instead of accumulating stress and fear, students should learn to discuss the issues, analyze situations, and develop a plan to correct them. It opens opportunities for creative solutions, innovations, and positive attitude in a risk-free environment.
Offering challenging tasks – not overwhelming tasks
As a teacher, I have noticed that sometimes it is difficult to predict how a challenging task will affect our learners. We need to make sure that learners are not getting overwhelmed and frustrated since when attempting the tasks; it will make almost impossible to demonstrate creativity, innovations, and positive approach. My suggestion is to follow closely how students are approaching the task from the beginning. It is a good practice to divide the task into a sequence of smaller subtasks which reduce overload and can be easier managed by learners.
Encouraging positive attitude, teachers can boost learners’ confidence by offering to take control over their learning. Teachers can provide learners with a variety of tools and resources, such as manuals, guides, instructions, external links, and multimedia. Let students choose which resources to use to achieve their learning goals. Offering several methods to complete online tasks will give learners the opportunity to expand their interests, develop problem-solving and analytical skills, and feel confident in their learning efforts.
Emotions can connect effectively our learners with the content of the course. Emotionally-driven learning generates positive attitudes such as interest, enthusiasm, and engagement. It can be done through engaging stories, interactive scenarios, and a reasonable dose of humor. These methods can draw learners’ attention, increase curiosity, and create positive feelings.
Making online learning enjoyable
If we want to encourage a positive attitude in our learners, the online course design must be inspirational, engaging, and interactive. Learners should be encouraged to play an active role during studies by participating in discussions, team projects, and other collaboration activities. They should become true members of the learning community, and feel free to share their experiences, skills, and issues arising.
A positive attitude helps to boost knowledge retention and build interest in further learning, and it creates a foundation of a successful lifelong learning.