Author: Kadri Kõiv, adult educator, DevelopDesign®

Learning results in a change – in one’s knowledge, skills or attitudes. Learning can take place both consciously and as planned, as well as unconsciously and spontaneously. Learning is often triggered by some controversial experience or issue, a specific need. In the course of learning, it is not only people’s current baggage of knowledge and skills that changes, but personal growth also takes place.

The greater the change brought about by learning, the more strongly may the learner feel pressure on their current stances and  beliefs. They have developed over a lifetime and are deeply linked to a person’s understanding of themselves and the world. The greater the perceived pressure, the greater the likelihood that the learner will develop some kind of a resistance to change. This is also the case if the learner has actually longed for change, because resistance is usually not conscious or intentional. Different authors name the resistance to learning and development in general differently – resistance to learning, opposition, defence, learning barrier. It is a manifestation of the learner’s process of personal growth – a person is whole, learning concerns a person’s deeper processes, self-perception, an already established self-image, either by consolidating or shaking it.

Based on the book  „Awakening the Will. Principles and Processes in Adult Learning“ by Coenraad Van Houten, a well known author in Steiner education, one of the partners of the EFFECT project, Kadri Kõiv (Loome OÜ), opens the meaning of psychological barriers related to learning and gives adult educators a few instructions on how to support the learner’s personal growth. You will find the the full version of the learning material at our Toolkit (click here).