Author: Kadri Kõiv, adult educator, DevelopDesign®

An adult learner is an established persona with distinctive habits, presumptions, and supporting stances and beliefs. Beliefs develop and change throughout life due to collected experiences and received feedback. In general, beliefs support a person’s ability to cope, but in certain instances they may be overly generalized and thus hold a person back from taking the important steps necessary to apply positive changes to life. 

The baggage of beliefs accompanies learners in learning situations as well. Learning outcomes are directly influenced by beliefs related to learning and learners’ understanding of their ability to learn, develop and change. A prior negative learning experience combined with the belief that being less competent and less successful than others leads to an even stronger perception that learning is difficult or that the person is incapable of learning altogether.

Read more at our Toolkit (click here). The learning material gives a brief overview of the impact of beliefs on learning and makes recommendations on which an adult educator could pay attention to if they wish to support students’ self-belief and motivation.