When teaching a patient about their illness or injury, several barriers must be overcome for learning to occur. This lesson explores these barriers as well as the three major domains of learning that must be taken into account.
Although you may be the best teacher in the world, giving out the best information, that doesn't mean your students are going to learn what is expected of them. In this scenario, it's not the teacher that's the problem, and it's not the information itself. Something else is hindering a person's ability to learn. We'll go over several key barriers to learning you will encounter while educating. Being aware of these barriers will ensure your patients get the best education possible. This lesson will also explore the three major domains of learning.
Barriers to Learning
Receiving information doesn't guarantee learning. That's because external barriers to learning, such as environmental and sociocultural factors, as well as internal barriers to learning, including psychological and physiological factors, can influence a person's learning experience and ability.
Let's dissect these factors in a bit more detail. Environmental factors can include things like interruptions. How well do you learn if your little brother is pestering you as you're studying for an exam? That sort of ties in with a lack of privacy, another barrier to learning. When people are constantly looking over their shoulders, it's going to make them uncomfortable.
Sociocultural factors include language barriers. If you're educating a foreign patient that doesn't really understand English very well, they might be willing to learn but simply won't be able to. Other sociocultural barriers include a person's value system. Some cultures may not value advice from a particular person or about a particular topic. A person's educational background is an important barrier to learning as well. If you're educating a person with a PhD in the sciences, you'll be able to talk with them on a different level than someone who hasn't completed high-school.
Internal barriers include psychological and physiological factors. Psychological barriers include things like:
If you can think back to the last time you experienced any of these, such as anger, I think you'd agree learning anything during those moments was pretty hard. I mean, I think the famous phrases 'Don't teach me!' or 'Don't tell me what to do!' are uttered sort of appropriately when someone is angry, no? That's because people are not in a proper state of mind to take in valuable lessons in such states of mind.
Physiological barriers to learning include:
- Sensory deprivation
When we're really tired or in a lot of pain, the last thing we are concerned about is assimilating new information. If a person has sensory deprivation, such as poor hearing, that can significantly impede their learning abilities.
Domains of Learning
When learning does occur, assuming all barriers or as many as possible have been removed or circumvented, then learning will occur in three main domains. The cognitive domain, the psychomotor domain, and the affective domain. As an educator, you'll need to ensure that the lesson plans you develop tap into all three to maximize learning.
The cognitive domain refers to intellectual understanding, facts, and problem solving. An example of this may be having patients repeat the names of the medications they are taking, what their purposes are, and the major side-effects they must look out for.
The next domain is the psychomotor domain, which refers to learning based on motor skills and the practical and physical application of theoretical knowledge. Working off of our prior example, let's say the medication the person learned about is insulin. Learning how to administer an insulin injection would fall into the psychomotor domain of learning in this case.
Finally, there's the affective domain, learning based on changing a person's belief, emotions, and attitudes so they can make better judgments. Again, going off of our example here, a client accepting that she has a life-long disease, diabetes in this case, and understanding that it doesn't define her as a person, would fall into the affective domain.
Let's summarize everything we learned.
The two major kinds of barriers to learning are external barriers to learning, such as environmental and sociocultural factors, as well as internal barriers to learning, including psychological and physiological factors.
When designing a teaching plan, take note of these potential impediments to learning success and make sure to develop your plan in such a way that it touches upon the three major domains of learning:
- The cognitive domain, which refers to intellectual understanding, facts, and problem solving
- The psychomotor domain, which refers to learning based on motor skills and the practical and physical application of theoretical knowledge
- The affective domain, which is learning based on changing people's belief, emotions, and attitudes so they can make better judgments