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01/07/2022 Activation for learning and individual connection to the learning content

Some units start by connecting the learning content with a situation in life that the students know or have already passed through. For example, in an unit in an Introduction module. In this unit, students are given tips how to give a good presentation (in professional life or in their study). At the beginning of the unit we ask the students to remember the last presentation they have given or have heard. And then we ask them, for example, what did not work so well for them in the presentation. Or if they were so nervous during their own presentation that it was even difficult for them to speak. The students can then note all these points in their learning journal if they wish to do this.

Or we ask the students to make a statement about the content of a unit that follows. For example, in a unit that describes the basics of marketing. At the beginning of this unit we ask the students what they see as the most significant advantages in educational marketing. Their statement they should then post in a forum.

The ideas behind these questions or this activation are the following:

  • This first task in the unit is intended to start the learning process quite easily. Students can start the learning process just with their memories or assessments.
  • The posting in the forum is also intended to promote the communication even if the students are still learning at home.
  • Furthermore, by recalling memories, it should be shown that the learning content has relevance to their professional work and life and is therefore important. And to motivate students in this way to work with the content.
  • Also, by showing how - for example - the possible problems of the last presentation can be solved with the new learning content, (minor) positive emotions should arise, which can support the learning process and promote the cognitive performance. Or, to formulate it in other words, the joy of being able to make the next presentation better can promote the current learning process.

It is said that Aristotle stated that joy in work makes the work turn out well. Nevertheless, it should be mentioned in conclusion that it is oversimplified to describe positive emotions as exclusively performance-enhancing and negative emotions as exclusively performance-damaging.

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