Adventures in Technology Enhanced Learning @ UoP

Tag: motivation

Isolation motivation – are you up for a challenge?

We are now 4 weeks into social distancing, lockdown can feel isolating and it’s difficult to get used to this new way of living. We are missing socialising with our friends and family and it can often feel hard to feel productive when working from home – we’re trying to juggle lots of things at one time, whilst confined to our homes – it’s hard!  Trying to find time to exercise regularly and eat the ‘right’ food takes effort, it’s easier to snack on sweet treats and binge watch box sets on Netflix. Are you feeling sluggish, could do with a zap of energy? Then why not try the 21-day-self-care challenge!

Want to know more?

Sodexo (the company that manages and maintains our Employee Benefits Platform) have teamed up with Simon Schmid, an experienced lifestyle coach, who will be helping Sodexo run a free ‘21-day self-care challenge’ from 20th April (this Monday coming!). The aim is to help us to increase our own self-care immediately with simple tools, strategies and personal challenges to get us through this difficult time. Sounds good right?

Apparently, there’s a rule that says:

it only takes 21 days to change a habit but do it for 90 days and it can completely change your life!

So who’s up for it and what do we have to do?

There are 3 steps we have to follow on the 21-day-self-care challenge …


Open the self-care challenge list here and choose 2 things to drop from your life for 21 days from Monday 20th April.

For me it has to be:

  1.  All white carbs, or bread and,
  2.  Sugar (inc. sweets, chocolate and fruit juice)

Since lockdown we’ve been eating A LOT of white bread, so that’s definitely got to change. Easter hasn’t helped with the chocolate intake, we’ve been snacking more on the sweet stuff, which isn’t good, it’s going to be difficult as I have two little ones (a 2 year old and a 4 year old) and sometimes I need the SUGAR to get through the day lol! Since social distancing we haven’t had a takeaway, we don’t drink fizzy drinks, I could probably do with turning off my work-app notifications and not spending so much time on social media too. It’s pretty difficult to find just 2 things to drop!


Now choose 2 things you’d like to add into your life for 21 days from Monday 20th April.

Again for me, it has to be:

  1. Drink 2L of water per day and, 
  2. Extra 2,000 steps a day (try to get above 10,000 a day)

I could definitely do with upping my water intake on a daily basis. It would also be good to do more regular exercise and set myself a challenge of increasing my daily steps on my Fitbit.

I’m pretty good with catching up with people and making sure everyone is ok and we are keeping daily journals of what we are doing through home-schooling apps and Instagram. However, I’m not so great on making time for ‘me’ but think that’s just a ‘Mum thing’ – I do think the exercise and water intake will help me to feel a bit more energised and motivated, which can only be a plus for me at the moment.


Start your individual journey with Sodexo and Simon on 20th April. They’ll be hosting bi-weekly videos from Simon including motivational talks, Q&A sessions and expert advice. They’ll also have a dedicated Facebook page for us to follow and interact with other challengers, which I’ll add to this post on Monday – so keep your eyes peeled!

So who’s going to join me?

Pop your 2 things you would drop and the 2 things you would add below in the comments. In 21 days time I’ll write another post reflecting on my 21-day-self-care challenge and how I got on – wish me luck and best of luck to those that are doing it with me!! 


Have you started your 21-day-self-care challenge? As promised here is a link to access the dedicated Facebook page for you to follow others taking on the challenge! 

Achieving Mastery – How Important is Practice in Learning?

Learning a new skill can often feel daunting, especially if it’s one that doesn’t particularly spark interest or enthusiasm – we’ve all been there right? You can feel bombarded by information and overwhelmed with the task of learning and feel like giving up before you’ve even begun! 

So, how can we overcome this? How can we find the opportunity to put our learning into practice and how can practice lead to success?

Knowledge Vs Practice

When we think of learning we think of gaining knowledge:

Learning /ˈləːnɪŋ/ - the acquisition of knowledge through study, experience, or being taught.

Learning /ˈləːnɪŋ/ – the acquisition of knowledge through study, experience, or being taught.

However, as Anton Chekhov once said: ‘knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice’. This is true, we can study and gain years of knowledge, however if we don’t put the information we’ve acquired into practice then it’s meaningless and often forgotten over time. I’m sure we’ve all attended a workshop or studied a course that we later haven’t put into practice and our learning has been lost. I studied French and Spanish at GCSE and A-level, however without speaking the languages on a daily basis, I wouldn’t say I was particularly fluent in them now – I expect, if we all think back to our school subjects, how many of us can remember and are actually using those skills now? I doubt many of us are.

Gaining knowledge in learning is only half the battle won, the other half comes from practice and of course feedback – as otherwise how do you know if you are doing something right? And most importantly how can you improve if you don’t know where to begin? So how can we improve practice in our students’ learning?

Can deliberate practice aid learning?

Deliberate practice involves attention, interest and motivation, this is the important bit and how we, as educators, can help our students understand the benefit of practice in the long run by making our learning materials fun and interesting!

It’s important because practice can help improve skills. If you practice a new skill on a regular basis then you will get good at it, learning to ride a bike, drive a car, play a musical instrument, these are all skills that take time, commitment and practice and this is exactly the same for studying too. Practice helps you implement what you have learnt and get better at it.

Practice can also boost self-confidence. When you practice something and see results, it makes you feel happy and confident; when you’ve finally learnt to ride your bike, passed your driving test, play a music instrument – you’ve done it! You feel a sense of achievement as all that hard work has paid off! 

As instructional design expert Barbara Seels (1997) says: 

“Practice is the most important ingredient of effective instruction; it speeds up learning, aids long-term retention, and facilitates recall.  Instruction is less effective when there is no opportunity to perform the task or when practice is delayed . . . . Unfortunately, much of the instruction in our classrooms provides little or no opportunity for practice.”  

Learning will most likely occur with the opportunity for practice and feedback. Creating an environment or providing opportunity for our students to practice what they’ve learnt is paramount in the learning process. Whether this be on an online platform i.e taking part in a chatroom or taking a quiz. Giving feedback is also crucial. Providing students with feedback or vice versa, students giving their course leaders feedback on their learning experience, helps to confirm their knowledge and also provides ways in which future students’ experiences can be improved.

Retrieval Practice

One way we can help our students put their knowledge into practice is through retrieval practice. Retrieval practice focuses on bringing information to the mind, retrieving knowledge and then putting it into practice, by doing this students can strengthen their learning.

Are there any ways you can use retrieval practice in your learning materials?

The Mastery Approach – how can we achieve this?

There are lots of ways deliberate practice can lead to mastering a skill, which is primarily what the mastery approach to learning is. 

The next time you learn a new skill, whether it be learning a musical instrument or a work-related task, think about the following things:

  1. Establish specific goals – Firstly, what do you want to achieve? How will you know when you’ve achieved it?
  2. Practice plan – break your tasks down into parts – Break your task down into different areas, then make a specific plan of how long you will spend on a specific part and when you will do it.
  3. Give your full attention to each part – You won’t become a master by multi-tasking. You need to be focusing on each part, practice slowly until you have mastered each section then put it all together. This is why breaking down our learning material into bite-size sections is so important, rather than text heavy documents!
  4. Get feedback from a master – No one masters a skill by themselves. An expert outsider can help provide you with feedback and direction. Surely it’s better to have feedback to correct or improve and help aid perfecting the skill.
  5. Move out of the comfort zone – No one becomes a master by doing what they already knew. Stretch your expertise by stepping away from your current ability.
  6. Maintain your motivation – You’ll need to have three things for this, emotional, logical and logistical reasons to continue:
    1. Logistical – finding the most convenient time and place to practice.
    2. Emotion and logic – what drives you? Maybe you want to succeed due to a negative experience you’ve had or maybe it was something positive, someone’s praise and this drives you to work hard – only you will know this.

Here’s the science bit!

To summarise, knowledge is important in learning. However, unless knowledge is put into practice then it will lack value and in time will be lost. Knowledge, deliberate practice and feedback lead to acquiring and mastering a skill. Practice does make perfect!

Thank you for taking the time to read my post, I hope you’ve found it interesting! I would love to hear your experiences on putting new skills into practice, have they been successful – if so how did they become successful and if not, why?


Anton Chekhov:

Barbara Seels (1997): ps://



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