6.4 Motivating your Mentee for a Work-based Learning Experience
Motivation is the process of encouraging someone in a way that they are driven to behave with enthusiasm to achieve a desired goal. To prepare our target groups for their future career in the labour market, you need to motivate them to learn. This is true for a WBL activity too. Therefore, it is important to foster young mentees’ learning motivation, because its existence is meaningful for the act of learning to the goals to be achieved. In fact, a young person who has been motivated to learn something, will try to learn it well and meticulously, hoping to get good results. Of course, motivation is an important element for learning, but it is also a very hard factor for highly disadvantaged NEETs who are often strongly demotivated and who have often low self-esteem. This is why, your role as mentor consists of continuously encouraging your target group during the entire integrated guidance approach.
Monitoring and tracking your target group’s progress as well as making your mentees aware of them, will for sure be a key element of great support in motivating them both for the success of the WBL experience and for their future professional career success. In order to continuously motivate your mentees for a WBL experience, there are a lot of available tools and we are sure you already know at least some of them. However, in this subchapter, we are going to briefly explain the personal diary and the Beyond NEET(D)s progress factors that you can use as a checklist allowing your mentees to have control over what happens in the WBL to keep them engaged. You can use both tools to support your mentees and to encourage their self-reflection on what they are learning (and how) through the WBL experience, in their integrated guidance pathway with you.
The personal diary
Developing a WBL EXPERIENCE’S PERSONAL DIARY as a key method of recording the day-to-day activities in a placement, young mentees will learn how to evaluate it and how to decide whether it has met its learning outcomes. This will increase motivation as they will be able to constantly see their progress and to decide upon their future career.
You may point out that some of the things the mentee sees and does while they are on a placement will be useful to describe in future job applications, in the CV and job interviews. “Writing down the tasks you have done each day will also help you reflect on the WBL experience and what it has brought to you. It is also essential to write down how you feel about doing particular things as this may help you decide on future career choices”: this is something that you as a mentor can say to motivate your mentees for WBL.
In the Beyond NEET(D)s Toolkit you can find an activity which shows you how you can help your mentees in developing their own personal diary for WBL, in order to engage them in this experience and make them reflect on its outcomes. Learners are more motivated by constructive learning methods, this is why drawing and building their own personal diary is, in our opinion, more engaging for them.
Self-assessment Checklist based on the Beyond NEET(D)s progress factors
The following table has been designed by the Beyond NEET(D)s project partnership. It defines 5 main areas in which the 20 progress factors for the integrated guidance model developed by partners have been divided. You can use it with your mentees, in order to discuss, reflect and track together with them their progress during the WBL. They can even use it as a self-reflection checklist, highlighting their progress as well as areas of improvement. This can be very rewarding and motivating!
Finally, as already explained in subchapter 6.2, be clear about objectives. It is very frustrating for mentees to complete an assignment if there aren’t clearly defined objectives. Mentees want and need to know what is expected of them in order to stay motivated to work. Therefore, before starting the WBL activity, do not forget to set clear learning objectives with them! You can even speak directly with your mentees about their expectations so that there is no confusion and they have clear goals to work towards.
To define clear and realistic goals, you can use the SMART goals technique (presented in subchapter 6.2). The use of clear goals is another important element to keep mentees’ motivation high during WBL! In any case, motivation depends on each mentee and we advise you to use the most suitable tool for the specific needs of your young clients. Definitely, there are not right and wrong methods and techniques to motivate them, and you need to find the most appropriate one for each mentee!
Reflective questions for the reader:
- How can self-assessment play a role in the motivational process of your mentees during a WBL activity?
- How can you help your mentees to turn obstacles into motivational incentives during their WBL?
- Which tools do you use in order to motivate your mentees during the WBL activities?