Motivation and Adult Learning Online: Dec 1-17, 2010

Motivational factors for adults in online learning environment

Motivational factors for adults in online learning environment

by FIRAT SARSAR -
Number of replies: 12
Lets talk something about motivational factors for adults in online learning environment.
In reply to FIRAT SARSAR

Re: Motivational factors for adults in online learning environment

by FIRAT SARSAR -
As an adult, I can say that sometimes fear, pleasure-comfort, curiosity, affection and pride make me motivated.
What are the factors that can affect your motivation while taking online class?

In reply to FIRAT SARSAR

Re: Motivational factors for adults in online learning environment

by Sylvia Currie -
I've been thinking about Firat's question about what motivates us in online learning environments. This got me thinking about formal versus informal learning. Expectations around instruction, levels of engagement, and the processes and products of learning vary, but I wonder how connected it all is to motivation? What are some of the common threads related to motivation that run through any type of online learning situation?


In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Motivational factors for adults in online learning environment

by Nicholas Bowskill -

Sylvia, In as few words as possible my answer would be: The meeting point somewhere between situational/contextual salience and personal significance. I think the same theme applies on or offline.

 

Nick

Glasgow

http://sharedthinking.info

 

In reply to FIRAT SARSAR

Re: Motivational factors for adults in online learning environment

by Amy Severson -
Lately I've been thinking about autonomy as a motivating factor in the workplace, and while I've not read up on it, it must be a motivating factor in learning as well*.

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.
In reply to Amy Severson

Re: Motivational factors for adults in online learning environment

by Pat Tymchatyn -
Check out Daniel Pink's book "Drive" - autonomy is what is missing in today's workplace.
In reply to Pat Tymchatyn

Re: Motivational factors for adults in online learning environment

by Sylvia Currie -
Interesting video! Also, I found the introduction to Daniel Pink's book online on amazon. I'm attaching the PDF here.

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!
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Motivational factors for adults in online learning environment

by Nicholas Bowskill -

Hi,

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?

Nick

In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Re: Motivational factors for adults in online learning environment

by Nick Kearney -
I believe learning is a process that involves the development of autonomy in a given area. Education should be about facilitating that development. (not that it always does, many official curricula over the years have appeared to focus more on the development of a work force, but that is a different discussion)
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,
Nick (K)
In reply to Nick Kearney

Re: Motivational factors for adults in online learning environment

by Nick Kearney -
"Participation means you help yourself too". Mario Kaplún* writes especially convincingly about the importance of talk, about how comprehension is not complete until you have talked about it, aired it, and how that interaction leads to deeper understanding. But that is perhaps hardly new to the denizens of Scope!!!

*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)
In reply to Nick Kearney

Re: Motivational factors for adults in online learning environment

by Sylvia Currie -
Nick's reference to Mario Kaplún's work arrived in my inbox just as I was thinking about a recent flurry of blog posts triggered by George Siemen's post: My Personal Learning Network is the most awesomest thing ever.

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
2
there is never a good time to be a lurker. Lurking=taking. The concept of legitimate peripheral participation sounds very nice, but is actually negative"

Here are a few follow-on blog posts that caught my attention:
I've been trying hard to understand the arguments that lurking is negative but none of it is making sense to me. I think it's because I was looking at it from the perspective of a learning network -- at how it might impact the advancement of a group. (I know I'm using networks, groups, communities interchangeably; I simply mean more than one person). In my mind the choice to participate on the periphery in an open environment has no impact whatsoever on others, but can be a huge benefit to the learner.

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?


In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Motivational factors for adults in online learning environment

by Nick Kearney -
Siemens is a little extreme in my view. There is a time to lurk, and from the point of view of the group it can be useful for participants (especially new ones) to listen and reflect before participating actively. Peripheral participation can also enrich the discussion, bringing in other perspectives than those that are the central focus of the group. Lurking does not necessarily equate with taking, and endless activity, taking up peoples attention with your own views rather than listening to others may equally be construed as a kind of selfishness.
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.
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Motivational factors for adults in online learning environment

by Nick Kearney -
An extreme interpretation of Pink is that extrinsic motivation doesn't really exist at all. And if it does it is largely irrelevant, as educators we have to find ways to tap into the intrinsic sources of motivation of each individual.

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...