Nursing & Patient Education: Principles of Learning

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  • 0:00 Principle of Learning…
  • 0:26 Relevance, Motivation,…
  • 1:57 Maturation,…
  • 3:04 Organization & Repetition
  • 4:08 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

There are eight important principles of learning every nurse should be aware of to ensure that the clients they are educating are learning and retaining the information and skills they need in the best possible manner.

Principles of Learning & Education

When educating anyone, especially a client, about their medical care, there are several principles that should be practiced. These principles, once mastered, will allow you to become a really effective educator. Believe me, having gone through this myself with clientele, there's nothing more satisfying and more trustworthy to clients than a medical practitioner who is able to educate them well about any given topic.

Relevance, Motivation & Readiness


Let's start with the first three principles. They are relevance, motivation, and readiness. By relevance, I meant the material being presented to the clients needs to be meaningful to them, easily understood by them, and related to information they already know. It's not hard to understand why, either. I mean, if you start teaching a client about things like athlete's foot when they are undergoing rehabilitation as a result of a broken arm, that's not all that meaningful, is it? You'll lose and confuse clients if you do something like this. When teaching the information, make sure it's easily understood. What does this mean? First and foremost, avoid the use of big words. You may know what opsablepsia means, but 99.9% of people in the world do not. Actually, I bet you have no idea what opsablepsia means, because it's such a rarely used term even in the medical community. See? You got confused when I was trying to teach you with big words. Now you know how a client would feel in the same situation.


Another key principle of learning is motivation. Make learning fun, interesting, engaging and of value to the client. The last thing is probably the most important one. If clients see the value of learning the information, they can motivate themselves to pay attention and absorb the information.


Motivation is closely related to the principle of readiness, a state of being willing and able to learn. This may mean that they are psychologically ready and motivated, or it may mean that they are emotionally or even physically ready.

Maturation, Reinforcement & Participation


Next stop is the principle of maturation, a state of being physically, cognitively, and developmentally able to learn the required information or task at hand. This means that people with special needs, the very young, and the elderly may not be in the same physical or mental frame of mind as a sprightly 20-year-old. Other lessons will point out ways on how to deal with different levels of maturation.


Another principle is one we are all familiar with. Reinforcement, the strengthening of knowledge and skills. This involves not only repetition in many cases, but immediate positive feedback to stimulate people not only to learn, but to appreciate what it is they're learning.

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