Designing for Motivation

Knowing what motivates people, what satisfies humans in terms of design and how it impacts the learning process, allows the crafting of an effective e-learning design. Motivation itself is a broad subject, drawing from fields as diverse as cognitive psychology and selling. There are three distinct motivation theories that have been developed by scientists and psychologists that try to explain ways to motivate learners. Each seeks to explain motivation and how it influences the learning process. These are the key ideas behind each theory and consider using them to create effective courses.

  1. Flow Theory
    Flow theory was proposed by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi to describe the experiences of intrinsically motivated people, those who were engaged in an activity chosen for its own sake. Such activities were viewed as worth doing just for the sake of doing them rather than as means to another end.
  2. Path-Goal Theory
    The path-goal theory, developed by Robert House, asserts that a learner’s performance and motivation is directly influenced by the behavior of the instructor or leader. Online instructors and course developers must implement meaningful tasks, provide support, and utilize behaviors that match the learners needs and expectations.
  3. Self-Determination Theory