Education and Training Prep Course

45 videos, 3 hours and 16 minutes

Course Content

Learning Needs

Video 9 of 45
4 min 28 sec
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It is very important to identify the learning needs of your learners. This can be done in two ways, one would be the individual learner needs and the other the group learning needs. An example of an individual learning need could be motivation, why is the person on the course? Why are they doing it? They could be doing it for themselves, for personal development, so they want to ensure that they do their best. This is called intrinsic motivation. However, it may be that they are doing this because of external factors, such as a potential promotion or pay rise and this is called extrinsic motivation. Knowing the motivation of your learners is really important, so you can approach them in different ways.

Asking them questions that are open and which could lead to discussion, rather than just a yes or no response. Understanding their attention spans, having regular breaks, making sure that you give constructive feedback. People like feedback but they don’t like negative feedback so always try to ensure that things are worded constructively. Make sure people are aware of their targets and know what is expected of them, and also make sure that you cater to all learning styles.

When looking at learner needs there is a wealth of information available, a vast array of reports and papers that you can read, so we would encourage you to look online and take time to study. One such person to take a closer look at is Maslow. Maslow was an American psychologist who devised what he called Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. He looked at both primates and humans and evaluated the needs that they had, which were the basic needs right up to advanced needs, and using this concept we can apply this to the world of teaching. Starting at the bottom the Maslow hierarchy, if you imagine a triangle and at the bottom of this triangle we have a person’s physiological needs. Is the environment comfortable where they are seated, are they hungry, tired, cold, thirsty, is the sun in their eyes, do they know what’s going on? These are the physiological needs of the learner.

The next level up is security and safety, are they in danger? Are they worried about anything? Is anything on their mind? This could be health problems, are they unwell? The next level would be the recognition and the need for love and belonging, such things as friendship, do they belong here? Are they part of the group? Do people respect them? Do they respect others? The next level is self-esteem, so are they actually learning something? Are they gaining the respect of other people, and at the very top is self-actualisation, so what are they achieving? What do they need to do? As teachers, we need to make sure that people can problem solve, that they accept all the facts and that they fully understand what has been taught. If you cover all of these needs then your learners are more likely to succeed.

If you are teaching a lesson, you’re trying to the best of your ability but all your learners are cold, or have missed their lunch break, maybe you’ve gone over time and now the canteen is closed and they are hungry. These are all things which are going to block the learner cycle, so if you look at all these things and consider them, the lesson you deliver will be that much better. You could be the best teacher in the world but if all your learners are hungry, tired or cold then it’s not going to do a lot of good and they are not going to complete the course.

We have looked at the individual learning needs, but these can also be affected by the group learner needs, the needs of the entire group. Some examples of group learner needs are things like; age and experience of the people on the course, why do they want to be there? Have they got different reasons for passing? Are there any social or cultural differences between them? Have you found with the group that there is one particular person who tends to take control of the class? Consider that every single class that you teach will be completely different, so you need to look at the group learning needs as they will directly affect each of the individuals on the course.

Learning needs also incorporate literacy, numeracy, problem solving and health and physical disabilities. Consideration has to be taken for learning difficulties such as dyslexia (letters), dyscalculia (numbers) and dyspraxia (motor skills, language and perception). As the tutor you need to be supportive and have the necessary signposting available if this is required to give support beyond your abilities.