How to apply proactive learning in online training
How do the concepts of reactive (which depends on a specific stimulus) and proactive (based on self-initiative) learning apply to online education nowadays?
1. Proactive and reactive learning
In the context of business eLearning, we refer to a proactive approach when the learner actively seeks information to acquire knowledge: this spontaneous interest will motivate him/her more in online training, improving his performance.
Reactive learning, on the other hand, is learning driven by necessity (of a normative type, for example).
Some examples? Compulsory online education is a form of reactive learning because it is governed by regulation: learners may not be interested in the topic, but follow the course to be fit for work. An example of proactive learning is a language course: you could learn a new language because you know it will make you more appealing in the workplace.
2. Public "dissemination" of the performance of the student
The learning process is not carried on in the long run if it is not supported by periodic reminders. When you want to design effective eLearning experiences for an adult audience you should stick to a strategy based on incentives that reward their efforts, rather than putting them in "embarrassment" publicly for having given wrong answers or for not completing the training course in the allotted time.
3. The importance of contextualization
Responsive thinking and learning are momentary.
"You read an article containing a new word and you search for the definition on Google, then you understand the meaning of the paragraph and forget the word. A few days later you come again across the word in question and you are forced to look for it for the second time". If you actively take the decision to improve your vocabulary, choosing a new word a day and deciding to use it during your conversations, your approach will be different: this consolidates the new word in your mind.
Reactive learning often has no context: it focuses on achieving a specific short-term goal. Proactive thinking, on the other hand, is based on knowledge. You can stimulate the responsive learning of your students by conveying the value of your training content, i.e. providing them with contextual knowledge that they can use in everyday life.
4. Theory and practice
Theoretical knowledge is useful for passing the conformity exams, but there is no incentive to remember what you have learned after obtaining the attestation. If you want online training, when mandatory, to be proactive, you’d rather include real scenarios. Do not ask dichotomous questions of the true or false type, but ask to the students the re-elaboration of information.
5. Proactivity leads to Lifelong Learning
Proactive learning becomes a habit. Thanks to this mind-set, employees are more likely to seek answers by themselves (at least at the beginning), rather than wait for a problem to occur and then try to remedy the situation. This encourages continuous training through self-managed training courses. Employees begin to understand the importance of taking the initiative and increase their experience without being solicited. If they deliberately seek knowledge, they are more likely to remember and apply it.
Incorporating this type of learning into your online training (thanks to the help of practical cases) is very useful for developing the reasoning skills of learners.
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