In our line of work, learning is just as important as the act of snowboarding. We offer a lot of great information about how to structure a general learning environment. Concepts such as the principles of learning and learning styles are good examples of materials we offer to help instructors successfully interact with their students. 

All the background info we offer can become irrelevant if our students are not open to learning in the first place. Learning types differ from learning styles and can be tricky to identify at times, but with a little observation we can distinguish whether a student is ready to learn or not.

Accepting that to become better teachers, we must become better learners ourselves, and part of that process is learning about the struggles our students go through, and then developing our abilities to address them. 

Learning isn’t an automatic response to receiving information, but a delicate process of trial and error. 

Learning new things can be one of the most humbling and emotional experiences humans endure, but also the most rewarding. 

With a little observation and help, we can help people through the process and get them there quickly and smoothly.


Closed Learners

Emotions/ Learning environment may be causing a roadblock in learning

Open Learners


Possible Solutions:

Frustration is hard to overcome.

  • This can one of the hardest emotions to overcome.
  • Identify areas of growth, accept faults.
  • Try to manage Ego, vs Expectations, vs Experiences.

Mistakes are perceived as bad.

  • Mistakes can be the best part about repetition, the more someone tries a task or movement the more likely they are to not do it perfect.
  • Errors signal the brain that something needs to change, embrace this!

Their brain simply isn’t ready to process information/not ready to learn.

  • Sometimes the brain needs a trigger to become open for learning and to pay attention. 
  • Errors can send these signals, as well as introducing different planes of movement. Identify comfortable planes of movement and challenge less developed ones.

Student seems engaged, but no able to perform consistently.

  • Managing the challenge level will control the level of reception.
  • Work within the middle ground between boredom and anxiety.

Fixed Learners

Conscious decisions, attitudes, or behaviors can cause a roadblock in learning

Open Learners


Possible Solutions:

Uses excuses to avoid trial or effort, 

usually this is a sign someone has already decided on what they 

are already good at and what they are not.

  • Putting oneself in uncomfortable situations on purpose can be one of the best opportunities to learn.
  • Making errors is natural, don’t be embarrassed by the process of failure. Remember, it’s only embarrassing if you’re embarrassed!

Relies on natural talents/abilities/comforts 

instead of putting in extra efforts

  • The most talented athletes train to be even better! Changing environments may reset ability comforts at times.
  • The performance zone vs the learning zone. 
  • If a student is comfortable operating in the performance zone, they may have trouble entering the learning zone, skills in this zone will not be as fluid.

Relies on preferred learning style only

  • There is a reason someone likes a certain learning style – usually it means they have practiced learning this way.
  • Physical and cognitive learning will require different practices.

Feedback bruises their ego.

  • Nobody likes to be told they aren’t performing as good as they could be. A meaningful, honest, but positive conversation may be needed.
  • Putting one’s ego or perception of themselves aside can be hard, a mutual plan for improvement may have to be a private conversation.


Adam Gardner
CASI National Technical Team
Level 4 Evaluator


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