The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative
Issue 9 | September 2021
A Quote to Ponder

A Quote to Ponder

Maxim from La Rochefoucauld’s "Collected Maxims and Other Reflections"

No events are ever so unlucky that clever people cannot draw some advantage from them; nor are any so lucky that imprudent people cannot turn them to their own detriment.

—Francois de La Rochefoucauld, "Collected Maxims and Other Reflections"

We chose this maxim to highlight not only the importance of our interpretation of events but also because it shows the importance of being a learner. And we do not just mean those that can learn enough to achieve a task, but those who have learned to love the act of gaining knowledge itself. In short, lifelong learners tend to be more optimistic. If we open our minds to the unknown and know that we can discover a solution, we free ourselves of our own self-doubt and fear.

Read More Maxims



"Fralin Biomedical Research Institute scientists tie improved learning processes to reduced symptoms of depression"

Researchers at Virginia Tech have recently found a link between neural learning processes and symptoms of depression. They have also found that there is a marked improvement in their depressive symptoms as one works to improve their learning processes. The researchers found that "the symptom improvements that followed cognitive behavioral therapy were related to improvements in reinforcement learning components that were disrupted prior to therapy."

So what does this mean?

In short, thinking about how we learn and improving this process can help us beyond pure knowledge acquisition. While there are more obvious benefits to becoming better at learning, such as building new skills and finding new opportunities, the very act of learning can have a powerful impact on our lives. And, this does not need to look the same for everyone. In fact, the study points out that people with depression learn differently, and learning processes change as they work through their therapy.

Does this mean that improved learning practices can help prevent depression? The study does not say, but we have found that those open to learning and unlearning lead happier lives. So, how are we preparing learners to take ownership of their education? How are we engaging them in the process?

Read the Study

"What almost 150 studies say about how to motivate students"

We need to focus on a few key factors as we think about how we structure motivational learning environments. In a meta-analysis comprising almost 150 studies on student motivation, we see two observations that impact how we motivate learners.

The first observation is that, while parents have a role in motivating students, teachers have much more control over how engaged a student will be in the classroom. And, this is true regardless of grade or other factors. This is generally because of all the potential tools available to teachers and their time with the students in a learning context.

But, most notably regarding an entrepreneurial approach to teaching are three psychological needs all students need. These are "competency, belonging, and autonomy."

It is important to distinguish that competency does not mean the student already knows about a topic or how to fulfill a task. Instead, it is that they feel capable of learning the needed information. This feeling of competence in their learning leads to confidence that studying, practicing, and experimenting will yield positive results. It also shores up their fear of failure.

While competency is most pivotal to creating motivated learners (as a side note, autonomy becomes the most vital in a working environment), all three needs are essential. All three act as "'kindling' for intrinsic or internal motivation."

It is this intrinsic motivation that we are after and is a hallmark of an entrepreneurial classroom or learning organization.

How Are You Motivating Learners?


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