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Reflections of Online Teaching, Part 3

This is the third in my series of reflections on online learning. Today I’d like to talk about how to help learners and other stakeholders approach online learning with an attitude that is more likely to lead to success.

Have you heard of the concept of a ‘growth mindset’? It’s researcher Carol Dweck’s idea that people primarily approach learning either from

  • a fixed mindset, or the idea that we are innately ‘good at’ some things and ‘bad at’ others, or

  • a growth mindset, which is the idea that becoming good at certain skills is a process, and it’s possible to become very good at things that we had difficulty with at the outset.

Failure is very bad if you have a fixed mindset. It either threatens your identity of being ‘good at’ a certain skill, or proves that you shouldn’t bother learning a new one because you can’t do it well.

By contrast, for those with a growth mindset, failure is part of the process. It’s OK to fail because you’re learning, and you can learn from your mistakes and get better.

Research indicates that those with a growth mindset are able to learn and do more. I believe we can apply this the online classroom.

It feels like there is so much to learn at times. It can feel overwhelming, and can push us all out of our comfort zone. Additionally, many of carry around beliefs like “I’m just not that good at technology” or “I can’t learn online.”

If we can help teachers, learners and parents move from this fixed mindset to a growth mindset, we can embrace this uncertainty and the challenges, which will help us become more confident and competent online.

In my next post I’ll offer some practical suggestions on how to do this.

What about you? Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset when it comes to technology?

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