FACTORS WHICH AFFECT LEARNING
Factors, which affect patient learning, need to be assessed in order for appropriate teaching strategies to be used. Encourage the learner to express how he views education so that you can deal with his feelings before teaching is attempted.
In this short lesson you understand how to identify the range of factors that impact the learner and affect their learning progress.
Include the following factors in your assessment.
Developmental considerations. Knowledge of intellectual, psychosocial, and physiologic age is necessary before you select age-appropriate teaching methods. Delayed development in any of these areas should be considered.
• Children have limited past experiences. Adults learn more quickly than children because they are able to build upon previous knowledge.
• Use chronological age to assess whether the developmental stage is as would be expected.
Educational level. You will effectively promote learning if you are aware of the learner's intellectual ability and avoid "talking down" to him or her or using an inappropriate teaching strategy.
Past learning experiences. Attitudes toward future learning are influenced by learning experiences in the past. Encourage the learner to express how he views education so that you can deal with his feelings before teaching is attempted.
Physical condition. The patient will not be ready to learn until he is comfortable enough to pay attention to the information you present.
Sensory abilities. Note any deficit in the learner's sight, hearing, and touch so that teaching is planned appropriately.
Emotional health. The emotional state of the learner should be conducive to learning before teaching is done.
• A patient, who is moderately anxious about his/her condition, will probably be attentive to presentation of information that will help him manage the condition.
• If the patient is in a state of crisis with a high level of anxiety, delay teaching until the crisis is over.
Social and economic stability. Being hospitalized and absent from work cause some patients excessive stress. Help the patient deal with any social and economic problems before imposing the additional stress of learning information or a new skill.
Responsibility. To learn self-care or take preventive measures against illness, a patient must have a sense of responsibility. Encourage the patient to participate in planning the learning activities to promote his feelings of control.
Self perception. Self-perception has an effect on the ability to learn. If effective learning about a health problem is to occur, any unrealistic self-image or body image should be addressed. If necessary, help the patient improve self-image before focusing on learning needs.
Attitude toward learning. Attitude toward learning is difficult to measure. Talk to the patient to get an idea of how he feels about learning to improve his health. If the patient has a negative attitude about learning, establish a relationship that will help in altering that attitude.
Motivation to learn. The patient must want to learn for teaching to be effective. If the patient is not motivated to learn the material needed to improve his health, discussing his interest and concerns may lead to success.
Culture. Some cultures value education that will improve their condition, while others view change or new practices as threatening. Do not stereotype any person because of his culture; but recognize that each person has a unique family background with certain cultural values that may have an effect on how teaching learning is perceived.
Communication skills. The basic requirement for the teaching-learning process is communication. Assess your communication skills as well as those of the learner.
• Assess the learner's reading skills before using printed material as a teaching aid.
• Assess to what degree English is spoken and understood by the learner. Most hospitals have printed and audiovisual materials available for non-English speaking patients.
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