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Participant engagement is a primary element in determining the success of any learning experience from classroom to a workshop (McGinnis 2018, p. 23). The process requires integration of various psychological theories of teaching and learning which should also be tailored towards the audience experience, attitudes, and interests. Understanding the nature of stakeholders in learning and development conference is essential in the effective delivery of the subject matter. The essay outlines a plan for engaging the audience at an L & D workshop by first conducting a stakeholders’ analysis and laying down a framework to address the meeting. Moreover, it will highlight some of the motivational theories that can be applied to attract and maintain the attention of the audience throughout the session.
Developing a Stakeholder Map for the Learning Environment
Training and development in the business organisations are increasingly becoming an area of significance in the management at all levels of corporate leadership (Knewtson 2012, p.97). Managers from various departments tend to seek more and more knowledge on how to impart the necessary skills to their employees to improve their performance (McGinnis 2018, p. 23). For this reason, there is a conference for individuals drawn from different industries in the UK. From the stakeholder mapping, there are fundamental elements that any present need to understand about their audience before embarking on the presentation (Knewtson 2012, p.97). First and foremost, the background of the participants is crucial. In this case, the audience is drawn from a wide range of specialisation and industries (McGinnis 2018, p. 23). The conference contains individuals with vast experience in human resources, manufacturing, supply chain management and public relations. However, despite the disparities in the professional background, they share one common interest, which is to improve on their training methodologies by being able to enhance participant engagement in the learning process for their juniors (Knewtson 2012, p.97). The fact everyone in this workshop already has some work experience primarily in multinational companies, they have a broad knowledge on the employee engagement issues and hence are not attending the conference for essential knowledge acquisition (Han 2017, p.133).
Moreover, they are not new to this kind of conferences; the team will not have much destruction from the environment but will still have the low concentration to the various speakers (Vance-Borland and Holley 2011, p.278). The fact that they come from different professions but still involved in management at any level make them shares some aspects and thus the need to learn from each other (Ishiyama 2011, p.34). Another stakeholder characteristic that is crucial to the selection of presentation method is their age bracket. The participants belong to different age groups and therefore possess varying learning abilities (McGinnis 2018, p. 23). Consequently, the method of learning should be able to cater for the individual differences of the stakeholders (Knewtson 2012, p.97).
The aims of the workshop
The primary target of the conference is to equip the participants with the knowledge on how to maintain audience interest in the learning process (Vance-Borland and Holley 2011, p.278). They also need to learn more about employee engagement and motivation strategies they use in their respective organisations to improve productivity. By the end of the conference, all stakeholders should be able to employ the techniques of enhancing participant involvement in the learning process as they train for various tasks in the firm. Additionally, on the conclusion of all the presentation, the participants should be able to appreciate the significance of the conference to the individuals and even their organisations (Ishiyama 2011, p.34).
Methods and Resources to be used to Foster and Maintain Stakeholders’ Engagement and Motivation during Workshop
At the beginning of a presentation, it is always imperative to use some form of set induction to arouse the interest of the audience (Ishiyama 2011, p.34). When introducing yourself and topic to the group, one must start by creating the urge in the listeners to know more. Some approaches that could be employed are, posing a question or use of examples (McGinnis 2018, p. 23). Another method to attract the attention of the participants is through a short case study before getting into the central subject matter.
Enhancing and maintaining the participation of the stakeholders in the learning process is crucial but not easy per see (Ryu and Lombardi 2015, p.76). However, for the professionals who have a relatively high concentration span, it will be advisable to use formal and semi-formal strategies and resources to achieve this objective (Vance-Borland and Holley 2011, p.278). Engaging the audience in the presentation by asking a question and introducing discussions makes the entire session exciting audience-centered. Furthermore, some tasks involving calculations and modeling keeps the participants focused on the topic of debate (O'Leary 2014, p.55). Pure lecturing makes the session boring and thus the need to employ media aspects in training. Use of PowerPoint in delivering the message attracts more interest than the traditional techniques since it will involve use charts and images(Ryu and Lombardi 2015, p.76). Tonal variation and use of gestures are also critical in maintaining the intention of the participants (Ishiyama 2011, p.34). Finally, it is paramount to include some videos in the presentation as they help in providing the most needed pauses and also gives the trainees time to reflect on the information from the previous sessions (O'Leary 2014, p.55).
In the conclusion of the session, there will be a recap of the entire presentation but this time round in brief. Moreover, the stakeholders may be asked to summarise main points discussed by the instructor (Ryu and Lombardi 2015, p.76). The moderator may also give a simple quiz in groups to ensure everyone is participating. Additionally, an exciting end is vital in reminding the audience of the crucial issues for long-term retention (O'Leary 2014, p.55). Finally, the moderator may offer the entire team the handouts or a website link for further reference (Vance-Borland and Holley 2011, p.278). Providing contact details is another element that should be included in the ending session of a presentation to allow the participant contact the instructor at later dates in case of the need for clarification of matters. Thank all of them for the time and cooperation during the entire session (Ryu and Lombardi 2015, p.76). The organisers of the workshop are also an integral part of the success of the learning process since they offered all the necessary facilities (Han 2017, p.133). The hosting team also provided the opportunity for presentation and therefore should be given a particular specialisation. If this procedure is followed, it will lead to maximum engagement of all the stakeholders in the conference (O'Leary 2014, p.55). Nevertheless, this analysis does not exhaust the methods and resources for fostering participation and motivating the audience, and thus the instructor may choose another combination of techniques and still achieve the objective.
Motivation Theories Relating to the Learning Process
Several motivation theories have been put forward to explain the learning process and how the teacher can achieve classroom participation and performance. Some of these models include; self-determination theory (SDT), ARCS Model, social cognitive and expectancy theory.
Self-determination Theory (SDT)
The theory was first developed by Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan but later described by various scholars (Ryu and Lombardi 2015, p.76). SDT is built on the principles of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The intrinsic aspect states that a person has a natural tendency to encompass numerous concepts in the learning process where the external refers to factors from the environment that enhances knowledge acquisition (O'Leary 2014, p.55). According to this model, the outcome of a learning process can reflect either external control or self-regulation (King 2016, p.540). Further, it argues that autonomy of students is majorly depended on the volition and the liberty they have. Competence is associated with the self-confidence and the feeling of effectiveness while undertaking and accomplishing a task in education (Ryu and Lombardi 2015, p.76). Finally, relatedness offers a sense of protection and connection in the learning environment. This surrounding promotes the pupils’ academic performance and motivates them to acquire more knowledge.
Social Cognitive Theory (SCT)
Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) was proposed by Albert Bandura in the 1986 and has been applied in many fields including psychology, communication, and education (Winnubst and Lohmann 2012, p.66). SCT argues that learning occurs by observation, personal experiences, interaction and external media influence (Han 2017, p.133). Bandura believed that students are capable of constructing meaning from the social impact which includes communication among people in the community and internet in the contemporary world (Javier 2011, p.5). SCT demonstrates the relationship between behavior, personal attributes and the environmental factors which can either be physical or social. The social environment consists of the family and friends while the physical refers to comfort (Winnubst and Lohmann 2012, p.66). Finally, it argues that there are consequences for every action and interactive learning allows the pupil to gather knowledge through practice.
This motivational approach was brought forward by Vroom and argues that behavior of an individual depends on the conscious choices made among other alternatives to minimise pain and maximise pleasure (Javier 2011, p.5). Expectancy theory further relates the effort to performance and outcomes and depicts that, the amount of effort made determines the output which is then rewarded (King 2016, p.540). One is thus motivated to accomplish a task by putting in more effort despite any challenges encountered as they believe that an increase in performance will be rewarded (Winnubst and Lohmann 2012, p.66). The model is much into the extrinsic motivation which depends mostly on the external reward and appreciation.
ARCS is an acronym for attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction. The theory was suggested by John Keller and revolves around the promoting and sustaining motivation in the learning process (Winnubst and Lohmann 2012, p.66). According to this approach, attention can be obtained by arousing the learners’ interest in the subject matter either through an element of surprise or stimulation of curiosity (Javier 2011, p.5). The relevance involves the relating the subject to something meaningful in the child’s experience. Confidence reflects the students’ understanding of their likelihood of success, and if they believe in obtaining a correct outcome, they will be motivated to keep working. Finally, the learning process must be rewarding in one way or another to maintain the interest of a pupil (O'Leary 2014, p.55).
Using Motivation Theory to Build and Maintain Learner Engagement
Theories of motivation have been applied in many disciplines including education, psychology, and communication (King 2016, p.540). Focusing on education, various models have been used to foster and retain learner participation in classrooms.
The self-determination model is applied by allowing the students an opportunity to try out various sample questions from the subject matter. Such initiative will help in developing the self-confidence in the learning process (Javier 2011, p.5). When the pupils answer a question correctly, they get motivated to participate in the learning activities provided. Under this theory, the teacher should also allow the students to set their goals and assist them in accomplishing them (Winnubst and Lohmann 2012, p.66). Finally, appreciation as an extrinsic reward encourages other learners to behave well in a lesson.
The expository theory is used to encourage the students to put in more effort in their studies and remain attentive to what the instructor is saying (Exner 2017, p.67). Students to actively engage in class discussions and answers and ask a question during presentation should be appreciated other to know the importance of hard work and getting involved (Queen and Hess 2018, p.34). Therefore students should not just receive praise for academic performance, but there should be a token for the ones who actively participate in the class (Winnubst and Lohmann 2012, p.66). Educators may also offer verbal appreciation using words like; “perfect” “good attempt” excellent contribution” or keep it up” as these depicts approval to the pupil making them relate the class participation to the praise.
In social cognitive, the students learn by observation and imitation, and thus the teacher as role model must be enthusiastic enough throughout the lesson for the leaners to follow (Exner 2017, p.67). Additionally, utilising resources persons in the learning process arouses the interest of the pupils in the subject matter. Moreover, the teacher can use collaboration teaching approach by encouraging group discussions in the learning process (Queen and Hess 2018, p.34). The interaction enables the students to acquire knowledge and attitudes from each other and also develop self-esteem, and they get the opportunity to express their views freely.
Lastly, the ARCS Model is essential in fostering and maintaining engagement in the learning process. The first significant thing is for the instructor to arouse the participant attention towards the subject matter (Winnubst and Lohmann 2012, p.66). The techniques for catching the learners’ interest include the use of tonal variation, humor, giving specific examples and questioning (Dubinsky, Roehrig and Varma 2013, p.317). The instructor also needs to demonstrate to the student that the content being learned is relevant to their daily lives; this will motivate them to seek more information as they believe that it will be of help. Moreover, confidence is paramount for the learners’ engagement, and hence the teacher needs to help the pupils to estimate the probability of success (Exner 2017, p.67). Additionally, the instructor can also grow the students by starting with simple concepts and allowing them to develop it to a more complex idea, as such the student get to appreciate the change and become more confident to participate in the learning process(Dubinsky, Roehrig and Varma 2013, p.317). Learning should be satisfying to some level either by the accomplishment of the task successfully or by praise from the teacher. Sometimes, it is advisable to make the learning activities exciting for the pupils to get entertained in the process thus arousing their interest and retaining the focus on the topic of the day (Queen and Hess 2018, p.34).
The Neuroscience Most Pertinent to Learner Engagement
The learning process is an activity coordinated by the brain, and thus, neuroscience is a crucial concept to consider when seeking student engagement (Exner 2017, p.67). The most significant element of neuroscience in knowledge acquisition is memory and concentration capacity (Martin and Guéguen 2015, p.48). Remembering the concepts learned in a class will depend on the ability of the student’s brain to gather, process and store information obtained from the environment (Dubinsky, Roehrig and Varma 2013, p.317). Additionally, learning does not end with getting and keeping the knowledge but also involves the ability to retrieve and apply the information in solving life problems when the need arises.
Studies indicate that the drill and kill techniques used in the traditional teaching were not only dull but also insufficient to sustain the learners’ concentration span (Kenkre and Murthy 2017, p.75). Therefore relevant, creative and meaningful activities that involve the students both emotionally and connect the subject matter to the already existing information help build neural connections. Moreover, such methods of engagements develop long-term memory storage and stimulate the classroom participation (Dubinsky, Roehrig and Varma 2013, p.317). Neuroscientists argue that it is paramount for the students to attach the new ideas learned to the old pieces of information or the new concepts will not stick to the memory (Kenkre and Murthy 2017, p.75). The brain is understood to keep data in the form of pathways, and therefore if the child acquires anything unrelated to the existing ideas, it will be challenging for this incoming knowledge to reach the pathways since it has no scaffolding to attach (Brody and Hadar 2015, p.246). Effective teaching, therefore, helps the learner to reorganize new ideas according to the old information; an essential stage of transforming new working memory into a long-term one (Dubinsky, Roehrig and Varma 2013, p.317).
Learners require a personal link to the teaching materials, and this is achieved through involving them both emotionally and creating a connection to the previously learned ideas (Brody and Hadar 2015, p.246). The absent of this coordination may cause the pupils to disengage thus rapidly forget any knowledge acquired (Martin and Guéguen 2015, p.48). Most importantly, they may also lose the motivation to learn and this may interfere with their classroom participation.
Individual and Group Psychology most Pertinent to Learner Engagement
Psychology is undoubtedly an essential part of education since it helps the teacher to understand the behavior of the learner and their capabilities hence coming up with instructional methods that fit them (King 2016, p.540). Every student has their points of strengths and weaknesses and thus it is vital for the teacher to identify ways of getting the best of the individual pupil. Psychological theories such behavioral models depicts the relevance of the environmental factors in fostering knowledge and behavior acquisition (Kenkre and Murthy 2017, p.75). Reinforcements tend to encourage an action done by the student, for instance, an appreciation for the pupils attempt to answer a question in a learning process stimulates effort for class participation (Brody and Hadar 2015, p.246). Another crucial aspect of individual psychology is the relationship between the teacher and the student. The rapport created between the instructor and the learner gives the pupil confidence to engage in the learning process.
According to Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory, people tend to learn by association and experience (King 2016, p.540). Therefore a collaborative approach to learning gives the student a chance to share their views and imitate desirable traits from their counterparts. Group psychology is also essential I providing both emotional and academic support (Brody and Hadar 2015, p.246). The environmental factors such as temperature, lighting and the comfort of the classroom are also significant influencing the level of learner engagement. Dim light or sweltering atmosphere does not support student participation since such conditions divert the attention to trying to find solutions to the physical problem lowering the level of concentration to the subject matter (Kenkre and Murthy 2017, p.75). Furthermore, pupils within the same age and interest tend to work well together and hence will fully participate in the learning process (King 2016, p.540). However, the teacher must be aware that such groups are not easy to find and thus a typical classroom will compose of students with different abilities and interest and therefore it is the role of the educator to identify and assist them.
Examples of Learning and Development Practice Underpinned by Psychology and Neuroscience
Various activities practices in the learning process depict psychology and neuroscience including; discussions, experimentation, questioning and demonstration (Brody and Hadar 2015, p.246). Discussions bring in the aspect of social cognitive where individuals share knowledge and correct each other (Martin and Guéguen 2015, p.48). Moreover, such collaboration offers an opportunity for the learners to associate the new experience to what they already know thus enhancing memory which is an element of neuroscience (King 2016, p.540). Experiments are used to prove theories that have already been learned, and the inferences drawn from such practice helps to build on the existing knowledge in the brain. (Martin and Guéguen 2015, p.48) Furthermore, observing and participating in an activity enhances the retention of concept by transferring it to the long-term memory of the brain (Brody and Hadar 2015, p.246). Finally, demonstrations and questioning allow for the students to seek clarification on confusing issues during a learning process (King 2016, p.540). Such engagements help the learner to isolate valuable information from the general ideas and store them more permanently.
Engagement of the learning and development stakeholders require a proper analysis of their backgrounds and interests. Such activities help the moderator to understand the characteristics of the audience hence choosing the most appropriate techniques and resources to foster and maintain motivation and participation of the stakeholders. Various theories have been put forward to explain motivation in the learning process. Examples of these models include the self-determination theory, social cognitive, ARCS Model, and expectancy approach.
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