The Four Learning Orientations

Learners situationally fall along the continuum of learning orientations. Depending on the specific learning circumstances, a learner may cover a full range of one learning orientation or move downwards or upwards in response to negative or positive responses, conditions, resources, results, expectations, and experiences. Most learners will respond with some level of resistance in negative environments. Upward change into new learning orientations requires greater effort and learner control and stronger intentions, feelings, and beliefs about learning.

Resistant learners , in contrast to the other three learning orientations, lack a fundamental belief that (1) achieving learning objectives set by others is of any value or worth the effort, (2) they can learn and enjoy achieving goals set by others, or (3) academic learning and achievement can help them achieve personal goals or initiate desired changes. A resistant learner's personal goals strongly conflict with learning goals set by others.

Too often resistant learners have suffered repeated, long-term frustration from painful mistakes, academic failure, and disappointing situations. They do not believe in formal education or academic institutions as positive, necessary, or enjoyable influences in their life. Resistant learners are a complex mixture of skilled or unskilled, motivated or frustrated, or passionate or apathetic learners. In most cases they are apathetic or aggressively disobedient learners or passionately assertive non-learners.