News item: 2016-12-01 13:00

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Date: 12-1-2016
Djoerd Hiemstra successful defence of PhD dissertation


Djoerd Hiemstra is a member of the Serious Gaming group. He worked talent development using perceived strength and weakness of the learner. Interesting result is that the learning environment affects the motivation of learners to focus on their strength or on their weakness.


Today, Djoerd Hiemstra successfully defended is PhD dissertation: [Focus on your strengths?: The role of perceived relative strengths versus weaknesses in learning effort]


Focus on your strengths?: The role of perceived relative strengths versus weaknesses in learning effort (abstract)

In our present society, our success in life greatly depends on our competence - that is, the extent to which we master certain knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Therefore, strategies that may enhance individuals’ learning are of great value. In this dissertation we examined a self-regulatory strategy that may bolster individuals’ motivation to learn: focusing on strengths. Focusing on strengths entails that individuals identify their relative strengths and weaknesses and subsequently engage in learning activities that fit their strengths rather than their weaknesses. In the past decade, the notion of focusing on strengths has gained substantial resonance among practitioners in the fields of education and human resource development. However, research backing this practice is scarce. Although a vast amount of research has examined the role of self-perceived competence in motivation, not much research has specifically looked into the role of perceived strengths in motivation to learn. We do not know whether individuals who have the choice of working on multiple topics or skills are willing to put more effort into their learning when they work on their strengths rather than their weaknesses. In the present dissertation, we addressed this issue by examining the role of perceived relative strengths versus weaknesses in learning effort.

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