All About The Emotions-Driven Learning Process In Adults

The Influence Of Emotions On Learning
Summary: For decades, learning was mainly examined from the cognitive and motivational aspects. In this article, we explore how emotions have a substantial influence on the cognitive processes in humans, including perception, attention, learning, memory, reasoning, and problem-solving.

Building A Conducive Learning Environment

Design effective training curricula for a conducive learning environment for both traditional “live” learning in classrooms and “virtual” learning through online-based educational technologies. Learning is a behavior that human beings hold since their existence. It is continuous and essential as the survival of a human being is at the core of learning. The human brain actively engages in learning new concepts and ideas, adapting oneself to behavior and consuming facts to process new truths and principles to be applied in day-to-day lives. At the core of learning, neuron-plasticity plays a pivotal role. Neuron-plasticity is the brain’s capability to evolve continuously throughout the lifespan of an individual. It takes place within the brain with changes in behavior, environment, thoughts, and emotions. This change is also evident in adults who try to learn and perceive through their experiences.

Influence Of Emotions On Learning

Every individual learns through their emotion-laden experiences as their cognitive guide. Emotions are very powerful as they define the way a human being thinks and they also bias our learning. According to researchers in the field of psychology, adult learning is emphatically influenced by emotions. Their experiences in the past either create impending emotions or motivating emotions toward learning something.

Every individual is either emotionally balanced or imbalanced due to the experiences they gain from the situations they undergo. For example: If a person has been a victim of mental trauma due to their surroundings and other influencing factors, then it’s hard to motivate them to learn something new. In such cases, they need coaxing, motivation, and appreciation toward their learning to fetch better results.

The Motivational States Influencing Adult Learning

Studies show that there are 5 motivational states that influence the learning of an adult based on their emotional experiences in their life.

  1. Self-efficacy
    The emotional cognitive development of an adult plays a major role in the learning process. For example, if the adult is fearful, anxious, and uncomfortable in an environment, they will be averse toward learning and be void of self-efficacy and motivation in those circumstances. It could be vice versa where the person has been a part of a positive and well-motivated environment, then they will feel motivated.
  2. Attribution
    Adult learners have the need to attribute their success or failure to their own actions. If an adult has learned their lessons well, then they can relate their success or failure with their efforts that were taken in doing it.
  3. Mastery of belief system
    An adult has a belief system created since childhood wherein criticism and appreciation has been a part of growing up. As appreciation is considered to be a motivator for better results, criticism needs to be taken in with much grace to accept what they are and in return strengthen their skills to perform in a better way. In this way, the belief system will be mastered, criticism and appreciation will be regarded equally.
  4. Outcome-based learning
    Learning has to be viewed seriously in such a way that every concept is understood clearly. Such conceptual learning aids the emotional intelligence of adults to attain their learning objectives with ease.
  5. Principle of self-direction
    Being a grown-up, an adult wants to be guided rather than taught or commanded in the process of learning. When the adult is guided with respect, they are self-motivated and do learn from their mistakes with a perfect strike of emotional intelligence.

Emotional experiences are ubiquitous in nature and important and perhaps even critical in academic settings, as emotion modulates virtually every aspect of cognition. Tests, examinations, homework, and deadlines are associated with different emotional states that encompass frustration, anxiety, and boredom. Even subject matter influences emotions that affect one’s ability to learn and remember. With the advent of technology, digital learning is now rapidly replacing the drab, face-to-face traditional teaching-learning methodologies. Organizations, before adopting new principles for employee training should take into consideration the following:

  1. How emotions trigger the "seeking" tendency in adult learners that generates positive expectancy towards their learning efforts.
  2. Why learners prefer guidance in the place of instruction—this will help them understand what cognitive activity is motivated from underneath the learner's consciousness.
  3. Where the learners head to for revealing the differential emotional responses between men and women in relation to their social and gender roles and responsibilities.

This knowledge may be useful for the design of effective educational curricula to provide a conducive learning environment for both traditional “live” learning in classrooms and “virtual” learning through online-based educational technologies.