Learning is marked by active participation on the part of the learner. I adhere more closely to a constructivist theory, where learners are more active in their environments, than an instructivist theory, where learners are passive vessels waiting to be filled with knowledge (Cercone, 2008, p. 142). I believe that there are roles and responsibilities that learners and teachers must both play. Learners need to be willing and engaged, while teachers need to be knowledgeable and interesting. Instructors should also aware of the unique social and cultural backgrounds of their learners, and be able to accommodate a variety of audiences.
While learning is often used within the larger context of accomplishing some kind of task or goal, it does not have to be matched with a work outcome in order to be useful, beneficial, or successful. In other words, learning for its own sake is a worthwhile pursuit.
Motivation for learning may come from a variety of different sources, but the most effective motivation will be intrinsic to the learner. A person’s own reasons for learning something will always be more meaningful than those suggested or imposed by external actors.
Cercone, K. (2008). Characteristics of adult learners with implications for online learning design,
AACE Journal, 16(2), 137-159.