Intrinsic Motivation and Digital Learning In western philosophy, there is a strong tendency to separate common sense from emotion. The school system is one of the most apparent examples of this profound misapprehension. Professor Peter Gärdenfors writes:

”Without emotional evaluation of different activities and their consequences, our will would not have any direction.”

This means that the emotional support for rationality is crucial for its function. Since the school-systems focus on external motivation, a significant problem occurs from an educational perspective.

Intrinsic motivation and study result

Research indicates that strong intrinsic study motivation has marginal or no effect on study results. Rob L. Martens, Judith Gulikers, and Theo Bastiaens at Leiden Universitet and the Open University of the Netherlands, Leiden explain this by claiming that what differs students with a strong motivation with those with a weak study motivation is that the first has a much more explorative learning method.

The research project above referred to a digital learning-based experiment with 33 students where the students’ activities and results have been analysed from the statistics in the monitoring system of the platform. Another research project that was directed at the same goal but where the students should answer a questionnaire at the end of the experiment. It shows that there is a direct connection between motivation and deep level learning, in other words, understanding. At the same time, this study does not either show any connection between high intrinsic motivation and better study results.

Knowledge-facts is rewarded at the expense of understanding

The explanation to these results is the assessment- and measuring methods that were used by Martens, Gulikers, and Bastiaens they write:

”There is too much focus on facts. In other words, students’ curiosity is not rewarded by the system.”

Exploration, curiosity, and interest which results in understanding become for the school-systems inner mechanisms a by-product that is thrown away. The processed foundation that the learner should construct and reconstruct for further understanding lacks relevance for the school system. An educational system empowered with integrated digital features and support paves the way to embrace intrinsic motivation in the form of curiosity, causality and deepening learning. Where the outcome is a deeper understanding and a will to continue on the learning path, in contradiction to the force-fed knowledge chunks of the industrial age school.

Written by
LarsGöran Boström©


Information from eLearningworld Europe AB ___________________________________________

Learning Design in Practice for Everybody by LG BostromLearning is a challenge. To design a workable learning experience is even more challenging. It is like moving art with a well-defined purpose and goals. This book is intended to work as a practical guide to improve the prospects for you to succeed in your learning design project.

The focus is set on eLearning. But not in the traditional meaning of the word since the e now stands for experience not electronic. As the old fight between digital advocates and traditionalists has lost its meaning in a human-centred approach to UX design. Click here to learn more

SOE PublishingLab