Volition in Learning Design

The ongoing debate on making learning stick might make us wonder whether it is the learning design or the learner to make it happen. I’m sure most of you agree that both have a significant impact, so rather than focusing on one, we might want to consider both to help learning stick. I feel we L&D professionals press too much on best approaches that We can use to create an effective course rather than emphasis on techniques that need to be shared with learners.

Those who are in training or teaching might have tried this method, at least during their course orientation. I always highlight to learners I meet face-to-face that their self-regulation, motivation, and perseverance help them achieve the expected outcomes. But how do we do this in an online environment in which we might not see our learners?

I personally think while we focus on adopting effective learning design strategies, at the same time, we must consider sharing some tips with learners to help them be and remain motivated when doing the course. Here’s what I learned from Dale Schunk’s book_Learning Theories. He shares the importance of volition that should be used in any learning environment.

He defines volition as: The process of translating intentions into actions and it has its greatest effect when different intentions compete for action.

Now the question is how to translate intentions into action?

According to Schunk, volition mediates the relation between goals and actions to accomplish them. And this involves processes, which determine tendencies, allow goals to be translated into action. There are two types of processing:

1) Predecisional processing (cognitive activities involved in making decisions and setting goals)

2) Postdecisional processing (activities engaged in subsequent to goal setting)

Once learners set their goals, it’s our job to use strategies, which help them remain motivated to achieve their goals. Some of these strategies suggested by Mccann and Turner are:


How about sharing the following quote with learners too? Should we not make them more responsible for their learning?

learning is not some- thing that happens to students… it is something that happens by students’’ – Zimmerman (2001)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s