It is what we do easily and what we like to do that we do well. —Orison Swett Marden
At the end of this chapter, and when applying concepts covered, you will be able to:
• Use the criteria for an effective reward to select appropriate incentives for your learners.
• Apply some basic concepts related to motivation in setting up the proper learning environment.
• Identify intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.
• Avoid doing things that stifle or destroy learner motivation.
• Reinforce learning through various types of review activities.
• Bring your sessions to a formal close so that learners feel the experience is complete.
• Recognize the elements of an effective formal session closing.
• End your sessions in a memorable fashion.
o add a bit of festivity and fun while reinforcing learning that occurs during your training sessions, try using rewards, recognition, and celebrations. Many adult learners enjoy having an opportunity to have their knowledge and efforts recognized or to culminate an activity with some form of celebration or ritual. Such acknowledgment and reward can be something as simple as a verbal compliment or feedback on performance. It can also be a more tangible form, such as a small prize or group celebration with gifts. In effect, when recognition occurs in a safe environment where threats and negative stress are minimal or eliminated, creativity, problem-solving, interaction, and transfer of knowledge often result.
According to some researchers and educators, rewards, also known as bribes, do not work well in reinforcing learning for younger people. Their position is that rewards merely reinforce rote behavior or mindless compliance to the teacher or instructor, and may actually inhibit learning. These researchers contend that although small or short-term rewards can encourage and stimulate action, longer term behavior (e.g., learning and memory) can actually be impeded. However, adults have already formed basic behavior and values. As a result, rewards and incentives can be used to provide in a light-hearted manner, reminiscent of younger days. Still, usage of rewards should be well planned and should never distract from learning activities. Like training aids, they should reinforce learning and tie into the session theme rather than appearing arbitrary. Further, Pierce38 indicates that research reports, ". . . Rewards for effort are more encouraging in the long run than rewards for success. Research suggests that no one general rule defines the best way to encourage creative excellence. People are different. Do what works. To encourage creativity in a person, match his or her personality and its attendant values. Reward extroverts with a part, introverts with a good book!" Pierce goes on to say you should emphasize verbal encouragement and time your encouragement for occasions of special effort and achievement from learners.
The key to the effective use of rewards is to do so in a manner that promotes a bit of diversion and not have rewards become a goal of the program. Some trainers use so many games, gimmicks, and rewards that learners lose sight of why they are there—for learning. Instead, they get caught up in the competitions and the rewards that result. Although use of rewards can be helpful in encouraging participation and desired behavior to some extent, they should be used for fun, variety, and novelty, and not as a primary learning vehicle in your programs.
Rewards come in many tangible forms. Anything that you use to inspire, encourage, motivate, or compensate a learner can be a reward or incentive. For something to be categorized as a reward, it should generally meet the following criteria.
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