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Education can be defined as any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character, or physical ability of an individual.

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Learning refers to the ways people acquire, process, store, and apply new information. Learning is most effective when an individual is ready to learn, that is, when one wants to know something.

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Motivation plays a critical role in the learning process and success motivates more than failure (Table 4-1). Basic principles of motivation exist that are applicable to learning in any situation.

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  • The environment can be used to focus the patient's attention on what needs to be learned. For example, interesting visual aids, such as booklets, posters, or practice equipment, motivate learners by capturing their attention and curiosity.
  • Incentives, including privileges and receiving praise from the educator, motivate learning. Both affiliation and approval are strong motivators.
  • Internal motivation is longer lasting and more self-directive than is external motivation, which must be repeatedly reinforced by praise or concrete rewards.

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Table 4-1. Learning Theories

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