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COABE session on Motivating the Adult Learner

Hello all,

I had the opportunity to present a session at COABE earlier this week on Motivating the Adult Learner: Self-Efficacy, Goal Setting and the Learning Environment.  The session included an overview of a webinar series and study circle offered to adult educators in LINCS Region 2 and covered research highlights from the National Academy of Sciences publication, Improving Adult Literacy Instruction:  Improving Research and Practice (  I used a companion guide, Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Supporting Learning and Motivation (2012) ( in developing the presentation and booklet “... describes principles of effective instruction to guide those who design and administer adult literacy programs and courses. It also explores ways to motivate learners to persist in their studies, which is crucial given the thousands of hours of study and practice required to become proficient.” Also included in the session was an overview of strategies and practices identified in these publications that are found to enhance adult learner motivation, engagement, and persistence. Over the next couple of weeks, I would like to highlight portions of the presentation and hear your thoughts and ideas on the issues. This week, I would like for you to consider these questions:

  • Can we observe motivation? What does a motivated learner look like?

  • What are some traits or behaviors of motivated learners?

  • What does it feel like (putting yourself in a learner role) to be motivated?

    In thinking about persistence and motivation in working with students in your programs and classrooms, how would you respond to these questions?  What are your reflections and ideas on these issues?

Gail Cope, SME, LINCS Program Management Group

Tags: motivation