Humanistic Theory of Learning
Erlinda Padua Bhat
August 03, 2018
Humanistic Theory of Learning
Humanistic learning theory assumes that every individual has an innate desire to learn and evolve positively. The nursing profession has adopted this humanistic theory with nursing care but recent health care policies. Technological advances, cost efficiency, for-profit medical care and corporate culture along with time restraints are challenging the humanistic approach to health care (Bastable, 2017). The motivation which is natural springs from each’s aspirations and need to grow positively constitutes humanistic theory for the most part. An individual with encouragement and respect for individuality and conceptualization learns from day to day experiences and applies to different situations in life with enhanced flexibility and creativity (Bastable, 2017).
Abraham Maslow (1954, 1987) described that every person has the following needs and desires: first, basic survival needs (like food, water, warm and sleep), second self-safety (the need for safety, stability, structure, protection as well freedom from fear), third, belonging and love (the need to give and receive) fourth, self-esteem (the need to be perceived as competent, have confidence, independence and have status, recognition, and appreciation) and lastly self-actualization (the need to fulfill one’s potential). Each’s uniqueness is fundamental to the humanistic approach to a learning experience and is based on a unique relationship between the teacher and the learner with attention to the needs, self-esteem and positive growth of each learner. Teachers become resource persons and importantly encourage learners to wise choices (Bastable, 2017).
Weaknesses of the humanistic theory have been noticed and described also. The theory has been noted to support self-centered learners who have difficulty facing criticism or compromises. The touchy-feely approach of humanism makes some individuals not so comfortable. Memorization, drills, practice and the tedious work which are inherently necessary for learning and skill development are neglected or minimized (Bastable, 2017).
Paterson ; Zderad (1988 ) are other humanistic theorists who claim that “nursing is responsible, searching, the transactional relationship whose meaningfulness demands conceptualization founded on a nurse’s existential awareness of self and of the other” (Zane ; Bailey, 2015). Carl Ransom Rogers (January 8, 1902 – February 4, 1987) was an American psychologist describing a humanistic approach to psychology. Rogers is well known for research in psychotherapy and received the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions by the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1956. The approach with an in individual in the center was his own unique approach to understanding personality and human relationships and became popular in different areas including psychotherapy and counseling (client-centered therapy), education (student-centered learning), organizations, and other group settings (Bastable, 2017 ; Wikipedia retrieved on August 01, 2018).
The purpose of this review is to search using the keywords, the role of humanistic learning theory in application to nursing research, education, clinical practice in outpatient, inpatient settings, and evidence-based teaching. Its utility for understanding and analyzing relational encounters in healthcare settings continues and is significant.
I selected articles highlighting education in outpatient and inpatient settings in addition to traditional classroom teaching as I was looking for sources with excellent educational approaches. A total of twelve articles were located from the search. I chose to include ultimately five research articles in this paper. The criteria for inclusion were use of humanistic learning theory by Maslow with focus on personal development, self-esteem, and self-fulfillment. Five of the articles were used to support discussion and the application of humanistic learning theory. There were five other articles not included at all, the exclusion criteria being unrelated and not using the humanistic learning theory.
This review was conducted by utilizing Hawaii Pacific University library website and using search modifiers CINAHL Complete ( EBSCO), PubMed @ HPU, Cochrane library, google website and Open Access. The search was done by using keywords such as humanistic learning theory by Maslow (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs ), nursing students, nursing education, educational intervention, humanistic counseling in schools. The literature material was selected from 2006 till present.
I chose one of the best humanistic theorists of Abraham Maslow (1954, 1987) who identified a hierarchy of needs. In this theory paper, I will discuss more well-rounded educational approaches with more concentration on the inpatient and outpatient setting as an educator.
A study by Zalenski & Raspa (2006) reports on a system and philosophy of care of patients and families during the end of life. An open understanding of the nature of fatal illnesses, through the elimination of the taboo against discussing dying. Further elaborations on this palliative care or hospice concepts have evolved through interdisciplinary efforts instituted in advance of the end of life offering positive experiences even at the last stages of life.
Abraham Maslow presents his theory of hierarchical needs and human development. He theorizes that an individual is an organic whole. Maslow explains that similar fundamental desires exist in all human beings crossing geographic, racial, gender, social, ethnic, and religious differences. Maslow points out that human beings possess a higher nature implemented in everyday life. He reports that human needs are hierarchical and that unfulfilled needs dominate one’s thinking, actions, and being until they are satisfied and can be in any order. Requirements may be partially fulfilled at lower and higher levels. It is possible that inversions or reordering of needs exists. Also, possible giving flexibility to his theory governing all human activity.
Maslow’s framework provides ways of comfort alleviating fears and safety issues in the last parts of the human journey.
Another study dealing with technology and cost efficiency challenging nursing by McAllister, Searl, & Davis ( 2013) the simulation technique devised in a regional Australian University named “Mask-Ed (KRS simulation)” is a high fidelity simulation learning experience of complexities of the nursing role. Simulation learning appears real relating to a real situation, but not practical in fact. Simulation learning in nursing occurs in a laboratory, classroom, or virtual space, instead of with a live patient. Simulation learning provides excellent experience helping to develop skills competence at the workplace.
Pilots similarly learn emergency procedures in a flight simulator. Nurses and nursing students can acquire technical skills in undoubtedly much safer environments with no risks to patient safety. The problem is that even in a well-executed simulation that students may fail to fully engage, attend or remember as it is not real. But many authors within the humanities have explained that this suspension of disbelief allows the students to enjoy the simulation and learn real as it gets. Self-consciousness in the students could be overcome by hiding the educator behind a realistic mask. This strategy provided for clinically inappropriate and safe activities during the learning process. Use of Silicone masks sourced from a motion picture special effects company allowed a three-way interplay including educator, character, and learners. Throughout the encounter, the educator communicates with them including humor and pathos. The learning process involved socio-cultural explanations of learning with concepts such as mediation, the zone of proximal development and internalization through reflective processes. In particular, Vygostky’s theory of sociocultural learning theory has been influential in such educational pursuits. Vygotsky opined that that learning was a social and individual process developing from the accumulated knowledge of cultures.
A study by Chou, Tang, Teng, ; Yen (2003) evaluated the misperceptions of humanistic teaching in nursing baccalaureate programs. Nursing has a responsibility to pursue and reaffirm humanistic characteristics fundamentally inherent in artful-scientific nursing. In other words, the humanistic nurse looks at nursing as a situation open to the possibilities in the nurse-patient interactions. Similarly, in nursing education, a nurse educator is criticized for being inhumane and is taken for granted or praised when she/he is. Again the humanistic teaching is characterized as a psychological or emotional approach to a student.
Humanistic teaching is essentially teaching an excellent human relationship including the development of proper attitudes and feelings with adequate emotional development as a goal of education. The term “humanistic education” often implies humaneness but only put it is an inter-human event allowing development of human potential. A sample of eleven teachers in the USA was interviewed in this study. Among these teachers, one was the dean of a five were associate deans of schools of nursing, and four were another faculty. They were female, had majored in nursing, and had been teaching or had formerly taught in nursing undergraduate programs for at least ten years. The numbers of students in the five schools of nursing ranged from 300 to 800. The study showed that the essential elements of nursing baccalaureate faculty’s perceptions of humanistic teaching were: Availability, caring, authenticity, empowerment, and a transformative curriculum. One limitation of this study is the relatively small sample limiting the generalizability of the research. However, the results of this study in teaching nursing baccalaureate students can be used for the foundation and building blocks for developing cohesiveness between teachers and students. This research also helps to address baccalaureate students’ perceptions of humanistic teaching in nursing (Chou, Tang, Teng, ; Yen, 2003).
A study by Jackson et al. (2014). This study shows how Maslow’s hierarchy of needs from the most basic physiological needs to the highest needs. Maslow’s hierarchy plays such an important roles in patients, family and hospital staff. In the intensive care unit (ICU), physicians and nurses work tirelessly to support and enhance healing of patients’ bodies to decrease death rates. Advances in critical care have led to greater survival from life-threatening illnesses One model from psychology by Abraham Maslow that has been taught and studied for 60 years Maslow’s hierarchy of needs provides a framework by which to take a second look at our ICU customs and, perhaps, improve the quality of survival for our patients. Maslow’s basic construct proposes that there are 5 levels of needs that must to be satisfied to promote healthy well-being. The 2 bottom levels of his hierarchy address physiologic deficits and associated safety issues, such as security and stability, which play an important role in the immediate survival of an individual. The 3 higher levels address psychologic needs that include feelings of belonging or love, self-esteem, and self- actualization.
For our purposes in looking at ICU care, once the most basic and physiologic needs are met patients and their families can proceed to concerns regarding psychologic and higher order needs. Survivorship physically is no longer a satisfactory goal but rather brain function, happiness, and physical abilities of the patient should all be considered important needs that can be immediately addressed and incorporated into ICU care.
Physiologic needs and safety, the basic levels of Maslow’s hierarchy, are often the focus of patient care guidelines in current literature. In 2013, the Society of Critical Care Medicine developed the pain, agitation, and delirium evidence-based guidelines to help direct improvements in patient care, whereas also liberating patients from chemical and physical restraints. However, despite myriads of data over the past decade speaking to the dangers of over sedation and immobilization, data show that of 13 categories of clinical guidelines, those related to sedation are last in terms of adoption and compliance. The generalized principle of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs allows for its application in a variety of settings, as has been demonstrated in other scientific fields and health care settings to help foster a culture of change. Nursing continues to be a leading field that has adopted Maslow’s ideas in determining care plans and acknowledging patient concerns. Standard hospice and palliative care medicine have also followed similar trajectories by emphasizing patient pain, symptom, and disease management. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, provides the framework and spark that are needed to enhance translation of care with a patient-centered emphasis on the physical and psychologic complaints experienced by survivors.
Last study is by Neubauer & Martskvishvili (2018). Psychological research has produced
many theories of human motivation, many of them tested empirically. However, one of the most popular theories in psychology, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs evoked not much empirical study. It distinguishes five motive levels, ordered in a pyramid from basic needs (“low” motives or “to have”; ranging from Physiological, Safety to Belonging/Love motives) to the higher needs (“high” motives or “to be” from Self- Esteem to Self-Actualization). Core assumption is that the fulfillment of each higher motive can only be accomplished if lower motives are satisfied: only if Physiological (food, water, shelter, warmth) and Safety (security, stability, freedom) and Belonging/Love are fulfilled, then higher motives like Self-Esteem and Self- Actualization can be realized. But also, within basic and higher needs this hierarchy should work (e.g. Safety and Belonging are not possible without Physiological needs). As popular as this theory is in clinical, therapeutic, and even management contexts, surprisingly, it evoked not much empirical research. Here, we would like to link this hierarchy of motives to two basic human ability domains, namely, intelligence and creativity.
The concept of human intelligence is maybe one of the most researched in whole psychology, with a tradition dating back to Galton and Binet ; Simon. Based on an enormous body of research from more than 120 years, intelligence is now clearly defined: Intelligence refers to the ability to reason deductively or inductively, think abstractly, use analogies, synthesize information, and apply it to new domains. While Maslow’s concept of self-actualization has almost not been studied empirically, some concepts display a conceptual similarity about peoples’ inherent growth tendencies and innate psychological needs that support intrinsic tendencies to behave in effective and healthy ways. There are 342 individuals participated in the study. Most (80%) were students from Tbilisi State University recruited on campus and 20% were lay people who volunteered to participate in the study. None of the participants had any neurological or psychiatric disorders. Participants were expected to produce original and useful uses of such usual objects as knife, brick and hairdryer. Also, they had to find original and useful answers to such questions as “What can make noise?” “What can be elastic?” and “What could one use for locomotion?” To accomplish each of the tasks participants were given two minutes.
We analyzed ideational fluency, flexibility, and originality. Ideational fluency was defined as the number of ideas given in the task. Ideational originality was measured by averaging four independent raters’ assessments. Originality was assessed on the 3-point scale where 1 means “not creative” and 3 “very creative”. Reliability and validity of the tasks are supported by the research in Georgian speaking population that has demonstrated adequate psychometric properties Intelligence was measured by the number of correct answers in Advanced Progressive Matrices Test (APM, Set II of 36 items given with 40 min time limit). APM is independent from language and formal schooling and is one of the most robust predictors of general intelligence and for assessing the basic psychological, physiological needs as well as the self- actualization we used the following measures: The Need Satisfaction Inventory which is a self-report instrument measuring five levels of needs according to Maslow Although Maslow’s concept probably is one of the most popular ones in the public perception it is hard to understand why so little empirical research has been undertaken so far to test Maslow’s basic assumptions.
Therefore, on the basis of a successful demonstration of a hierarchy of needs we could test our initial hypotheses. These were generally confirmed, namely, that intelligence correlates with lower needs whereas creativity correlates with higher needs.
These different relationships of intelligence and creativity with lower versus higher motives in Maslow’s hierarchy make also sense in view of the small positive relationship between intelligence and creativity. When intelligence is a necessary precondition for creativity, it makes sense that intelligence helps to fulfill lower needs leading to satisfaction and if these are fulfilled, people have an opportunity to deal with higher needs which also is associated with higher creativity.
A study by Zalenski ; Raspa (2006) reports on a system and philosophy of care of patients with an understanding of the nature of fatal illnesses with free discussions about end of life and dying creating as positive atmosphere as can be created even at the last stages of life. Another study by McAllister, Searl, ; Davis ( 2013) relates to a high fidelity simulation learning in nursing. Simulation learning appears real relating to a real situation, but not practical in fact. Nurses and nursing students learn technical skills in much safer environments making leaning The problem exciting and providing opportunity for feedback at their own pace. A study by Chou, Tang, Teng, ; Yen (2003) evaluated the misperceptions of humanistic teaching in nursing programs. The humanistic nurse looks at nursing as an opportunity for positive
expansion of human potential in the nurse-patient interactions.
A study by Jackson et al. (2014) shows how Maslow’s hierarchy of needs from the most basic physiological needs to the highest needs. The 2 bottom levels of his hierarchy security and stability, which play an important role in the immediate survival of an individual. The 3 higher levels address psychologic needs of belonging or love, self-esteem, and self- actualization.
Last study is by Neubauer & Martskvishvili (2018) distinguishes five motive levels, ordered in a pyramid from basic needs (“low” motives or “to have”; ranging from Physiological, Safety to Belonging/Love motives) to the higher needs (“high” motives or “to be” from Self- Esteem to Self-Actualization). This hierarchy of motives relates to two basic human ability domains, namely, intelligence and creativity.
Humanistic learning theory has an ideology that each person has a desire to learn and evolve positively. Nursing always had a humanistic approach in caring for the sick. Technological advances, cost efficiency, for-profit medical care and corporate culture have become great challenges increasingly (Bastable, 2017). An individual with encouragement and respect for individuality and conceptualization learns from day to day experiences and handles situations in life with more flexibility and creativity. Each student’s uniqueness contributes to the humanistic approach as a learning experience with a rewarding relationship between the teacher and the student with attention to the needs, self-esteem and positive growth of each student (Bastable, 2017).
Bankert, E. G., ; Kozel, V. V. (2005). Transforming Pedagogy in Nursing Education: A caringlearning environment for adult students. Nursing Education Perspective, 26(4), 227-229.
Bastable, S. ( 2017). Essentials of patient. Burlington, MA: Jones; Barlett Learning.
Branch, W. T. (2015). Teaching professional and humanistic: Suggestion for a practical and
theoretical model. Patient Nurse Today, 162-167. Retrieved
from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2014.10.022Chou, S. M., Tang, F. I., Teng, Y. C., ; Yen, M. (2003). Faculty’s perceptions of humanistic
teaching in nursing baccalaureate programs. Journal of Nursing Research, Volume 11. No.1,11(1), 57-64.
Freitas F. A. (2011). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and student academic success. Teaching andLearning in Nursing, 9-13. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.teln.2010.07.004He, J., Hu, D.Y, Liu, Y. L., Wu,L. F., ; Liu, L. (2016). Study of the effect of humanistic nursing
care model wards in children caring ward school on the nurses’ caring ability. Nurse Education Today, 45-47. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cnre.2016.04.001Jackson, J. C., Santoro, M. J., Ely, T. M., Boehm, L. B.,. Kiehl, A. L., Anderson, L. S., & Ely,E. W. (2014). Improving patient care through the prism of psychology: Application of
Maslow’s hierarchy to sedation, delirium, and early mobility in the intensive care unit. Nurse Education Today, 438-444. Retrieved
from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcrc.2014.01.009McAllister, M., Searl, K. R., ; Davis, S. ( 2013). Who is that masked educator?
Deconstructing the teaching and learning processes of an innovative humanistic simulation technique. Nurse Education Today,1453-1458. Retrieved
from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2013.06.015Moigan, K., Easa, M., ; Moigan, Z. (2017). A grounded theory humanistic nursing in acute care
work environments. Nursing Ethics, 24(8), 908-921. Retrieved
from http://dx.doi.org.hpu.idm.oclc.org/10.1177/0969733016638140 Neubauer, A. C., ; Martskvishvili, K. (2018). Creativity and intelligence: A link to different
levels of human needs hierarchy? Patient Education Today, e00623- e00636.
Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2018.e00623Robinson, Z., Bailey, D. N. (2015). Paterson and Zderad’s humanistic nursing theory:
Concepts and applications. International Journal of Human Caring,17(4), 60-67
Wikipedia Retrieved on August 01, 2018
Zalenski, R.J., & Raspa, R. (2006). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: A framework for achieving
human potential in hospice. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 9(5), 1120-1127. Retrieved from doi:10,1089/jpm.2006/9.1120
Name of author, date, title of the study, journal Research question or purpose of the study Sample Implications/Conclusion
Jackson, J. C., Santoro, M. J., Ely, T. M., Boehm, L. B.,. Kiehl, A. L., Anderson, L. S., ; Ely,E. W. (2014). Improving patient care through the prism of psychology: Application of
Maslow’s hierarchy to sedation, delirium, and early mobility in the intensive care unit. Nurse Education Today Effectiveness of Maslow’s hierarchy
In Intensive Care
ICU patients 1). Maslow’s hierarchy very suitable for implementation in various situations, other scientific areas and health care settings to create and support an evolving culture of health care
2) Nursing successfully utilizing Maslow’s ideas in designing care plans and addressing patient concerns effectively.
3) Benefit hospice and palliative care medicine by focusing care on patient pain, symptom, and disease management.
McAllister, M., Searl, K. R., ; Davis, S.
( 2013). Who is that masked educator?
Deconstructing the teaching and learning processes of an innovative humanistic simulation technique. Nurse Education Today. Purpose:
To evaluate Mask-Ed Simulation Training.
Nursing students in regional Australian University. 1). High fidelity Simulation (KRS Simulation) Education Training in Nursing is a transformative learning experience.
2). Mask-Ed may very likely stimulate other creative teachers to expand this
3). Development of simulation experiences involving clinical areas that are problematic in the health and social arena.
Future research is needed to determine the powerful impact Mask-ED
Freitas F. A. (2011). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and student academic success. Teaching and Learning in Nursing, Purpose:
To identify factors related to nursing student success.
Questionnaire with 15 items in an Importance section and the same 15 items in an Ability section given to 205 Nursing students, 190 of whom had complete data. Students identified categories of “physiological” and “psychosocial” needs. They recognized that meeting these needs was important but were not always able to meet them.
He, J., Hu, D.Y, Liu, Y. L., Wu, L. F., & Liu, L. (2016). Study of the effect of humanistic nursing
care model wards in children caring ward school on the nurses’ caring ability. Nurse Education Today Purpose:
To understand the effect of humanistic nursing care model wards in Children Caring Ward School (CCWS) on the nurses’ caring ability.
Questionnaire given to 25 nurses of humanistic nursing care model wards in CCWS using the Nkongho Caring Ability Inventory (CAI) before and after implement the humanistic nursing care model.
The humanistic nursing care model wards in CCWS has a positive effect on the nurses’ caring ability, helping building great relationships between nurses and patients and also increasing the patients’ satisfaction
Robinson, Z., Bailey, D. N. (2015). Paterson and Zderad’s humanistic nursing theory:
Concepts and applications. International Journal of Human Caring, Purpose:
To determine the influence of humanistic nursing theory on the development of caring theories and its application to research, nursing education, and patient care situations. Students during seminar discussions. Human Nursing Theory confirms the importance of human dignity and respect for nurse and patient and emphasizes what they bring to relationship.