I was unable to make it to the live TalkShoe session because of work, but I was able to listen to the recording (whew, thank you technology!). Motivation and engagement are two important factors for maintaining an eLearning environment. First, I will discuss motivation.

There are three components of internal motivation:

1. Intrinsic Self-motivation. This is the students enjoyment of the course, or the topic of the course. This is personality based, and can not be achieved by the instructor.  This process is purely internal. Within intrinsic self-motivation, there are two types.

  • Internal locus of control – Students believes that they have complete control over their circumstances.
  • External locus of control. – One does not have control of their future or actions. but instead it is determined by others.

2. Individual self-interest. Also based on a students enjoyment of the course. The instructor can stimulate interest, though due to some students intrinsic self-motivation, this still can prove difficult for an instructor.

3. Required preparation for motivation. The understanding of what it takes to achieve the required objectives throughout the course. Here, the instructor can take a large role in determining what students can expect throughout a course.

There are four types of external motivation:

1. Structure/Pace of the course. Weekly assignments tend to work better than singular (midterm and final) in eLearning courses. This gives students the motivation for the students to maintain engagement in the course.

2.  Activities. Any activities that take place in an eLearning environment should be clear and concise. Examples of the expected product of the activity is useful. If the students have difficulty in understanding the activity, they will lack motivation to complete the activity. The less ambiguity, the better.

3. Technology. Though some students may like to use a variety of technologies. The use of varying technologies can decrease motivation in some students who many not like to use the different technologies or who do not have the motivation to learn a new technology.  Instructors should be sure that the technologies used should be easy to use. Additionally, I think that it is our responsibility as instructors to be sure that any additional technology that is required within the course is compatible with both PC and MAC.

4. Communication. If there is a clear line of communication between the instructor and student, the student is more likely to maintain motivation. Continuous communication is particularly important in eLearning. This can be achieved through emails and feedback on assignments.

Overall, I think that too often instructors become too goal based and forget exactly who their audience is. By taking into account who an instructors audience is, they will can use further tactics to engage and motivate their students – and a win/win will be had by all!