In an earlier blog, I had shared research by Dr. Carol Dweck and indicated how the outcome of this research could be valuable for eLearning and training managers in terms of providing feedback.
In this blog, I would like to go a step further and share some tips on how growth mindset can be subtly instilled by some careful alterations or wordings in the way we write our eLearning curriculum.
We know that there are several strategies we use to present content. The single mantra shared by Dr. Dweck is “Don’t praise intellect, praise the effort”. We could keep this mantra in mind throughout the eLearning course development process. Here are various opportunities where we could put this mantra to good use.
Diagnostic feedback in practice tests:
We give practice questions to users to check their understanding of the content that has just been shared. The default feedback in some authoring tools is given as “You are right” or “You are wrong”. This is so uninspiring.
Instead, we could use responses that are less judgmental about the user and focus on the efforts. For example, a positive response could be on the lines such as, “Correct. You seem to have gone through the module well. Keep it up.” A negative response could be, “Good attempt, but this may not be the ideal method, may be you can look up the 2nd unit in the module and you find the most accurate answer.” This way, you are not leaving the user high and dry with a judgment that he is wrong, but are suggesting ways he can overcome the ignorance.
Our mantra says appreciate the efforts. So, it would be a good idea to appreciate the time spent by the user to come up to that point in the course. About mid-way during the course, you could review what the user has learnt with comments such as “You have covered enough ground to do this, this and this. Now get ready to learn this, this and this.”
Hints and Reference materials:
The idea is to help users succeed in finding answers, so that they learn in the process. To achieve this, it is a good idea to drop hints and clues to allow them to think of the right answer. It is said that the brain is a big muscle. You need to exercise it to build it. So, you could suggest users to refer to a particular segment of the eLearning module or to a job-aid/resource that could give important inputs to solve the given challenge. This would motivate users to continue learning.
Adjectives in scenarios:
We use scenarios usually to explain an anticipatory situation and demonstrate the right or wrong kind of response to it. When you want users to conform to a particular character, it is best to describe the imaginary character based on his behavior rather than on his character or trait. It is better to use Greg, a meticulous quality analyst rather than Greg, an efficient quality analyst. Meticulous describes the effort put by Greg where as efficient is a quality trait. Users can strive to be meticulous but efficient is judgmental and therefore against the growth mindset.
Can you think of any other ways that you can instill growth mindset in your learners through the way content is treated in your eLearning courses? Please do share your thoughts.