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Tuesday, December 1 • 11:15am - 12:15pm
Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset: Strategies for Enriching the Learning Experiences of Adult Learners

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Beliefs concerning the nature and acquisition of knowledge and one's ability can impact the learning process. While many adults may be motivated to learn, not all adult learners are prepared to engage and learn with a growth mindset. This session covers strategies for cultivating a growth mindset in adult learners. The target audience for this session includes individuals who instruct, advise, or mentor adult learners in academic, workplace, or community environments.

Beliefs regarding the nature and acquisition of knowledge impact learning (Chen & Pajares, 2009; Hofer 2001). Four dimensions, certainty, source, justification, and simplicity of knowledge, assessed on a continuum from naive to sophisticated, comprise the epistemic belief construct. Schommer (1990) added two additional dimensions, fixed ability and quick learning. Stated from the naive perspective, one has a limited amount of ability and if one does not learn quickly no amount of additional review will help to learn the concept. Naive epistemic beliefs imply the learner has little agency, which aligns with Dweck's (2006) concept of fixed mindset. Dweck posits that learners can have fixed or growth mindsets.

Fixed mindset learners don't realize that ability can be developed with increased effort and persistence, but growth mindset learners know that persistence and challenges are part of learning that lead to increased ability. For many adult learners, the fixed mindset has been reinforced over the years by standardized testing, fear of failure, rewards based on outcomes, and a constant comparison to others. Designing and applying strategies that cultivate growth mindsets and more sophisticated epistemic beliefs can enhance the learning experience for adult learners as well as supporting their cognitive, social, and emotional development.

avatar for Carol Heaverlo

Carol Heaverlo

ISU Extension & Outreach

Tuesday December 1, 2015 11:15am - 12:15pm

Attendees (7)