Motivation: The Struggle Of The Emperor Moth

The emperor moth is the most majestic species of all moths. It has wide wings which span out ?majestically when it flies. Before it becomes a full- grown moth, it is a pupa in a cocoon. The moth's cocoon has a very narrow neck. In order to become a moth, the pupa must squeeze its way out of the neck.

One day, a man found the cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home to watch the moth come out of the cocoon. He sat and watched the moth struggle to get through the little hole. Then, it stopped. It seemed as if it had got as far as it could and could go no further.

The man decided to help the moth. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth emerged easily. But its body was swollen and its wings were small and shrivelled.

The moth's wings never enlarged and expanded to support its body which was to contract in time. It could not fly. In fact, the moth crawled around with a swollen body and shrivelled wings before it died a few days later.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening was a way of forcing fluid from its body into its wings so that it could fly once it left the cocoon. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle.

Just as the butterfly died because it wasn't allowed to struggle on its own, learners would eventually suffer if they were consistently spoonfed.

The culture of spoonfeeding learners so that they could score in exams has produced generations of individuals who cannot probe, analyse, question and reason things out for themselves.

Systematic spoonfeeding slowly and steadily turns inquisitive youngsters into unthinking adults. Helping a butterfly get out of its cocoon resulted in its death. Similarly, spoonfeeding learners results in the death of their minds.

At OUM, we are not in the business of grooming expert memorisers. Rather, we want to groom individuals who know where and how to use information well throughout their lives.

So instead of spoonfeeding our learners, we need to raise the bar of expectations - we must encourage and motivate our learners to actively participate in tutorials and online discussions, question what they read and find out more about a topic by reading printed and online materials.

We must get our learners to actively engage in their own learning process. In short, we must help these "butterflies" break out of their cocoons by making them struggle. After all, they don't just have to score in exams. They need to score in life too.

Adapted from: Inspiring Quotes and Stories at

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In my opinion, in order to evaluate adult learners effectively, exam questions should be ...

interesting, by including many real-life application questions
factual, based entirely on module contents
stimulating, based on relevant industrial needs
simple, touching on the main aspects of a subject
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