Effective and Ineffective Motivation in Learning Systems

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Effective and Ineffective Motivation in Learning Systems

Another slippery issue is the kind of motivation received and exhibited in LMS-hosted and classroom learning systems. Just as the kind of self-discipline is as important as the quantity, so it is with motivation.

Intrinsic motivation consists of wanting to do something for its own sake–to read, for example, for the pleasure of reading along. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation exists when the task isn’t quite the main point; one might read in order to receive a reward or a good grade. These two kinds of motivation are not only different, but they tend to be inversely related.

Studies show that the more you reward people for doing something, the greater chance that they will lose interest in whatever they had to do to get the reward. Researchers have found that giving children “positive reinforcement” for being helpful and generous ends up undermining those very behaviors, and encouraging students to improve their grades results in their becoming less interested in a learning system.

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