Soaring like an eagle

Do you soar like an eagle?


Or even more importantly, for the purpose of this blog, do your students soar like an eagle?

Those of you, like myself, who have a background in human services, will probably know about Maslow and his Hierarchy of Needs.

Maslow studied the most successful 1% of students and concluded that in order to soar like an eagle, we needed our very basic needs met. Well… he didn’t quite put it like that but that’s my summary of his findings. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid, with the largest and lowest levels of needs at the bottom, and the need for self-actualization at the top. In my simplified chart below, our psychological needs need to be met first and then we work our way up the chart to the eagle. What this says, basically is that if you are cold, hungry, tired etc… you cannot perform at your best.


1. Biological and Physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.

2. Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, etc.

3. Belongingness and Love needs – work group, family, affection, relationships, etc.

4. Esteem needs – self-esteem, achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, managerial responsibility, etc.

5. Self-Actualization needs – realising personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

What has this got to do with elearning?

No power = no progress!

If you we not soaring like an eagle, neither are our students. We need to have our basic needs met, a balance of friends and family, good health etc in order to meet our students needs.

Of course, this also applies to our students. What is it they complain most about? In my face to face classes, the complaints were always about the dirty tables, canteen food, hot class rooms etc. It was disheartening to me that they didn’t care so much about the wonderful course design and engaging teaching techniques!

Similarly… if your elearning requires them to have a fast internet speed, there are no responses from the teacher, their working environment is unsuitable etc… it won’t matter how much effort you put into developing your course material because they will never progress or benefit from it.

So what can we do to meet their needs?

  • Reduce isolation: Build a good relationship with students by developing collaborative learning material and by giving lots of feedback
  • Be sure that students have the required equipment and software before they begin the course
  • Abide by accessibility guidelines
  • Provide learning resources which can be easily downloaded with poor internet speed
  • Spend time advising students on safety and comfort at their workspace
  • Make sure your learning material is easily navigated

Think about what basic needs your student has before designing a course, by doing a needs analysis.

Now it’s your turn to contribute.

Post your tips in the comments section below…


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Filed under E-learning tips, Teaching and learning tips

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