How Do Individual Differences Affect Learning

August 9, 2017 Cultural

Introduction: Some students are naturally enthusiastic about learning, but many need or expect their teachers to inspire, challenge, and stimulate them. Ericksen have once said “Effective learning in the classroom depends on the teacher’s ability to maintain the interest that brought students to the course in the first place”, Unfortunately, there is no single magical formula for motivating students.

Many factors affect a student’s motivation to work and to learn, this may include: the students interest in a certain subject, perception of its usefulness, general desire to achieve, self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as patience and persistence. Nevertheless, not all students are motivated by the same values, needs, desires, or wants. Some students will be motivated by the approval of others, and some will be by overcoming challenges.

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If teachers spiced up their lectures and made it interesting and even funny now and then, they can lead most students to actually enjoy the class and even become more interested. Due to a partial reinforcement schedule effect, this is likely to pay off later even if the lectures may gradually become more serious over the course of the term period. Student 1: This is a very sharp student, who is confident and has high self-esteem, but is not at all a hard worker, likes to think that what he wants will happen for him in one way or another without putting any real effort in fighting for getting it.

So, when the time comes to do something, he tends to fail to deliver his work in the optimal way that he may have done if he only worked a bit harder and put his thoughts in to actions, and he always tends to falls behind. Student 2: Who is an average person, but highly ambitious, hard worker, and has an exquisite language skills, he is able to deliver his ideas in a simple and convincing way to others, but does not have many other useful skills. Nevertheless, he usually gets what he aims for, even if he was not the most qualified person for a certain job.

As a student he always preferred active learning and leaned toward introspection, he as well preferred visual presentation to highlight his skills and hide his weakness. Student 3: This clever guy, who always thinks ten steps ahead of him, and has an excellent planning process in the way he thinks, but when it comes to executing his plans, he does not have enough self-efficacy, competency, nor the confidence to carry them out. he did not receive any encouragement from his teachers so his grades were on the low side of the curve, due to the lack of external motivation and self-confidence.

Student 4: A brilliant student who is the best in what he does when given a task, but refuses to take any initiatives by himself, and rejects further available opportunities in order to improve himself. He is genuinely satisfied with what he is, and what he has. Not thinking about the future, only focusing on what he can do now. He knows that he can improve and evolve himself, but he just can’t see any reason why he should do so. Although surrounded by people, teachers, and friends who constantly motivate him, but he lacks intrinsic motivation “Cognitive Motivation”.

Conclusion Different students have different levels of motivation, there are intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Due to repeated failures, many learning disabled lack intrinsic motivation, which is a student’s desire to learn for the sake of learning. Intrinsic motivation is important for the student so that they may gain personal joy in learning. The more thoroughly instructors understand the differences in students background, the better chance they have of meeting the diverse learning needs of all of their students.

Given student’s differences on cognitive factors, personality, and motivational preferences, the best way to develop knowledge, skills and abilities for one student may not necessarily be the best for another. Learning styles are just a small part of a much wider range of individual differences affecting the process of learning. Age, aptitude, motivation, general intelligence, sensory preferences and socio-cultural conditions are all examples of other important factors influencing the way learners react to classroom instruction.


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