Finally, you’ll want to think about your “space”. Whether it is an online environment, classroom, or jobsite, creating a sense of community in your learning environment is essential if you want learning to actually happen.
The most important aspect of a safe environment that is conducive to learning is one in which the learners feel comfortable asking questions and taking risks. Everyone experiences difficulty and roadblocks when they are learning something new. Learning takes time and the process requires us to make mistakes.
Think about when you learned to ride a bike. How many times did you fall before you could do it on your own? Now think about how your parents supported you through the process. Maybe your dad ran along next to you, holding the bike upright for a while. Then, one day, while you weren’t paying attention, he let go without telling you, and you did it! Your learning space needs to function like dad did. Offer support until it is no longer needed.
You can offer this support by making yourself available for questions or extra practice. You can make your classroom environment conducive to mistake making by actually giving praise to those that take risks. Be gentle when someone answers incorrectly. Before correcting, honor them for trying.
Leading psychologist Carol Dweck has performed extensive research on the “growth mindset.” This is the idea that nobody is stagnant in their ability level. Every individual can improve and learn, the key is to believe you can. Her research shows that by rewarding learners for their effort, mistakes, and growth, we can increase the capacity to learn. For more on Dweck’s research, check this out:
The Growth Mindset - What is Growth Mindset - Mindset Works
Brainology is an online interactive program in which middle school students learn about how the brain works, how to strengthen their own brains, and how to better approach their own learning. In the process they develop a growth mindset whereby they think of their intelligence as something they can develop through study and learning rather than as something fixed, as explained by our co-founder Dr. Carol Dweck.