When we talk about learning we usually talk about experiential learning: we reflect on our experience, find out about new concepts and skills, make plans to integrate them in our everyday practice and reflect on it.
While working as trainers we have met students blocked in various phases of the learning. In this text, we will show what maybe some of the clues and solution guidelines.
Phase I- I don’t need to learn.
Students find that there is no need for learning. In the workplace it may be a common situation, especially with soft skills, for example- learning communication when you work production units.
Those students may be recognized as ones who often blame others for making them to be there, cynical, distanced and apathetic.
This is why it is crucial to start training by defining learning contract: From all the things offered in this training what is important for you to learn.
Phase II- I need to learn that, but not now, it is not important.
In this phase of experiential learning, students reflect on their experience and make connections with learning material and their everyday tasks. The analyze offered skills and concepts. As a result, some may be blocked at reflection-it is not important. And some may be blocked at solvability- this is impossible to learn.
Those blocked at reflection may behave overly anxious, have poor concertation, fail to carry out tasks, procrastinate.
Those blocked at solvability tend to generalize, intellectualize, challenge teacher’s competences or selectively use research to block action. They also tend to widen issues to macro, social, political factors.
The focus of the intervention is to help them to analyze and generate helpful concepts and ground their learning in here and now- What is the smallest thing you can learn, implement until the next class?
Phase III- I can’t learn that.
The crucial part of the learning cycle is implementation- we make an action plan and implement it. There are many ways how someone may be blocked in this phase, but many of those situations may be recognized as- I can’t do that.
Those blocked in this phase may be defensive when asked to justify or explain their plan. There are many excuses like- I don’t have time; I will do it later; I don’t know where my notes are.
This is the moment to remind students about learning contract- this is what you choose to learn. Also, this the moment to underpin learning process with learning philosophy- learning is the process of trial and error. This is the moment when we, as trainers, need to have many examples and techniques in our toolbox in order to encourage our students to take the risk of applying their learning.