Welcome to Module 1 Learning Processes. The ability to learn is the most marked trait of human beings. You must have heard the following saying (or its equivalent in your culture): ‘Learning is better than silver or gold.’
Learning is intrinsically satisfying. What’s more, it can be fun. It’s a personal experience, an experience of change. It’s an inner process, which can only be observed by others in the form of changes in your behaviour.
Learning takes place throughout life – in different ways, in different contexts. It’s almost impossible to stop people learning, in some form or other, all the time. This is very useful for youth development workers. Learning is a powerful tool that we can use deliberately to improve knowledge and enhance skills. If you can direct learning along appropriate channels, then you will accelerate the process and help young people to develop very rapidly.
The aim of this module is to introduce you to the ideas and practices of learning that are relevant to youth development work. The module focuses on the role of youth development workers as educators, or to put it another way, as ‘learning facilitators’. We prefer this term because it indicates that your role will be to help and guide the very powerful internal learning processes in young people, rather than to control them.
The module explores different theories of learning and their influences. It identifies the different ways in which people learn and the factors that inhibit or facilitate learning. It also considers experiential learning as a method that is appropriate to youth development workers, and examines appropriate strategies for face-toface work with young people and adults.