While my knee jerk reaction is that autonomy is a bigger deal for adults than it is for younger students, I bet I'm wrong :-) Autonomy gives us permission to care about a subject or community, encourages us to think creatively and deeply and to reflect on our learning.
SO while there are many motivating factors (some pleasurable, some not so much), autonomy is something I wish to foster in the learning environments I work in and with.
Here is a quick link to a You Tube video with audio and drawing that makes a compelling case:
* I just did a fast online search, and indeed there are plenty of academic references to this correlation.
So extrinsic motivators often have the opposite effect of what we would expect, and we have "an innate need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world".
Some food for thought as we move into week 3 and discussions about how this translates into learning design!
Interesting in a way but not surprising at all, in some senses. It seems to be a fundamental rejection of capitalism which only works for the few. The rest of us are just enslaved to it.
It seems that 'purpose' is really about collectivism and the common good. I can see why that motivates people - including learners. That's why collaborative learning is better than competitive learning! Lots and lots of research provides evidence for that (see Johnson & Johnson, Slavin etc for example). I think its also partly why we're all on here discussing it isn't it? We share and contribute towards each others thinking. In that sense this is another design we could consider. We're all free-range learners aren't we?
With regards to autonomy I'd say its also social and relational. We are self-directed relative to our perception of the other and the environment. We relate the perceived other to ourselves when we act. You can see autonomy as self-regulated learning - the self is 'regulated' in relation to the social context (not free of it or oblivious to it).
Interdependent learning designs would therefore work for the common good - a purpose. Scope forums are interdependent designs, for example. Collectivism and community etc. Participation means you help yourself too. And when it works its emotionally satisfying on the level of both the collective and the self. You often understand your 'self' better through interaction and dialogue with the collective. That understanding helps you to make decisions and to act as an 'autonomous' learner. I would say the whole idea of autonomy and identity is relational and situated - i.e. different according to context etc.
I'm interested to hear what others think. Autonomy is *another* interesting topic like motivation isn't it?
Looked at through this lens, motivation is likely to be promoted by activities in which learners have a sense of autonomy, in which they can relate to each other, and increasingly to the wider community in the field, as equals. Teaching becomes largely a question of scaffolding that process.
Best to all,
*Kaplún, M. (1993) ‘Del educando oyente al educando hablante’. In Diálogos de la comunicación. n. 37. Perú: FELAFACS. for example page 22 “…full knowledge is achieved when the requirement – and the opportunity – exists to communicate this knowledge to others…” (my translation)
This is the part that stirred people up:
"Being connected, without creating and contributing, is a self-focused, self-centered state. I’ve ranted about this before, but
Here are a few follow-on blog posts that caught my attention:
So reading Kaplún's work ("Participation means you help yourself too") was a bit of an AHA moment for me. Maybe we should be less concerned about the impact of lurking on a group, and more concerned about the benefits of contributing ("interaction leads to deeper understanding") for the individual.
I guess the important question for this seminar is how to support learning so that adults are aware of these benefits. Will they be more motivated to participate knowing that they are helping themselves?
There are also questions related to people's comfort level in relation to participation. Some students post little but post well, and when forced to post more do not necessarily respond with "better" posts. Signal to noise ratio is an important issue.
But equally there is also a time to participate. When you are ready, when it is likely to be a useful contribution.
Which in turn means that learning design is impossible without listening first to the learners you are designing for. Which turns learning design into a continuous process of dialogue, a kind of action research...