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Intentional Learning

Descriptions for the Key Learning Attributes

Learning Orientations consider these three Learning Attributes to describe how individuals generally want and intend to approach learning. These attributes are critical influences on how successfully individuals learn.

Self Motivation (Conative and Affective Focus on Learning)

This attribute estimates the learner's general feelings and attitudes about learning. It describes the individual's (to some degree) will, intent, drive, or passion for learning and use of learning as a resource to achieve personal goals. This factor refers to the individual's intentions to learn, influenced to some degree by content, people, environments, resources, and instructional presentation. Naturally, learners will be more intentional and enjoy or apply greater effort in specific courses, topics, or situations that interest or appeal to them. 

Commitment to Learning and Strategic Effort

This attribute estimates the degree that learners plan and commit deliberate, strategic effort to accomplish learning. Successful learners place great importance on the act of striving or commitment. They enjoy applying focused, strategic, hard-working principles to learn and improve. Learners that score lower on this factor can be more successful by improving and using key learning strategies (e.g., big picture thinking, self-assessment, and complex problem solving). Most research shows that improved long-term planning and increased strategic effort is a contributing factor to greater achievement.   

Learning Independence or Autonomy

This attribute estimates the individual's desire and ability to take responsibility, make choices, and control or manage their own learning (i.e., make choices independent of the instructor) in the attainment of learning and personal goals. As individuals have different experiences and mature as sucessful learners, they gradually (to some varying degree) 

  • gain awareness of their learning capabilities and processes and use this knowledge to improve
  • develop desires for learning control or autonomy
  • assimilate and develop a unique, personal set of learner-difference variables
  • commit and self-manage sustained effort to attain personal learning goals
  • review and monitor experiences to improve subsequent learning

(Thanks to Dr. Margaret Martinez for reprint)