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Motivation in WBL Environments: a ‘winning’ approach. Greg Warman EDUC391X Professor Paul Kim. Why is motivation critical?. There is a crisis in WBL Dropout rates can be as high as 70% to 80% (Martinez 2003) Resultant negative impressions of WBL and its potential

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motivation in wbl environments a winning approach

Motivationin WBL Environments:a ‘winning’ approach

Greg Warman


Professor Paul Kim

why is motivation critical
Why is motivation critical?
  • There is a crisis in WBL
    • Dropout rates can be as high as 70% to 80% (Martinez 2003)
    • Resultant negative impressions of WBL and its potential
  • Keeping learners engaged is critical
    • Motivation most important characteristic related to achievement in WBL (Sankaran and Bui 2001)
    • Understanding motivation (what underlies a learner’s willingness to participate in learning) will help with the creation of corrective solutions

General survey of definitions indicate:

Motivation = ƒ {

Incentives / Disincentives,

Individual Goals & Objectives }

views of motivation
Views of Motivation
  • EmpiricalView (e.g. Skinner)
    • Extrinsic (incentives / disincentives)
    • Rewards & punishments affect an individual’s tendency to respond in the way necessary for learning to occur
  • Cognitive View (e.g. Piaget)
    • Intrinsic (goals & objectives)
    • Individual interest in a domain of cognitive activity drive learning
  • Effectiveness of incentives nonetheless derives from individual goals & objectives
    • Biological in nature: goals reflect what is necessary for surviving and thriving
  • Performance approach - desire to outdo others and avoid appearance of inferiority
  • Learning motivation is a result of need to reconcile differences in our understanding of the world.
  • Mastery approach - desire to learn and understand and avoid misunderstanding
academic thunderdome
Academic Thunderdome

two theories enter, one theory leaves

academic thunderdome1
Academic Thunderdome
  • Cognitive view (e.g. Lemper et al.)
    • Research demonstrates that if people are rewarded for things they would choose to do for intrinsic reasons, they will no longer be willing to do them without the rewards
  • Empiricist view (e.g. Cameron et al.)
    • Meta analysis of research shows that with very few exceptions extrinsic motivators do not interfere with intrinsic motivation
reconciliation avatars
Reconciliation = Avatars

real me

virtual me

real world

virtual world

reconciliation avatars1
Reconciliation = Avatars
  • Your representative in a virtual world
  • Games: World of Warcraft, Never Winter KnightsVirtual Worlds: Second Life
  • Market size: e.g. Everquest by SONY
  • Can Leverage both Extrinsic and Intrinsic motivators to maximize learning
what defines a virtual world
What defines a Virtual World

Overarching Goal

Incentives for reaching goal

Storyline & Challenges

Development dimensions

Means of development & tools to surmount challenges

proposed approach
Proposed Approach


virtual me

one world where virtual me becomes proxy for my real learning

proposed approach1
Proposed Approach

Overarching module










Topic-focused learning modules

by reflecting my real world motivation
By reflecting my real world motivation



Storyline & Challenges



real me

real world

example educ391x individual projects
Example: EDUC391XIndividual Projects

Enteran active business environmentwith your virtual character…

Select your character


Greg Warman




example educ391x individual projects1
Example: EDUC391XIndividual Projects
  • Overarching Goal: beat your competitors and win WBL contracts
  • Incentives:
    • Explicit:
      • Contracts provide $$$ = your score
    • Implicit:
      • Bragging rights and avoid humiliation (Performance)
      • Satisfaction of building your character (Mastery)


example educ391x individual projects2
Example: EDUC391XIndividual Projects


You’re fresh out of undergrad and want to explore a career in WBT. You need to build a knowledge base quickly of WBL design that evidences your worth to buyers.


  • Multiple contracts but multiple competitors
  • ‘Winning’ is a two step process
      • Need to qualify and respond to an RFP (requires base level of knowledge)
      • Need to succeed in the job interview (requires displaying that knowledge)
example educ391x individual projects3
Example: EDUC391XIndividual Projects

Step 1: Qualify and respond to RFP’s


Project:Build an e-learning course to ensure bridge staff meet safety requirements.Value: $10,000

Requirements:Design Theory = +2Inst. Design = +2Tech Know = +1


STATUS:Lost :-(



example educ391x individual projects4
Example: EDUC391XIndividual Projects

Step 2: Succeed in Job Interview

How would you go about designing our e-learning course?Select the appropriate responses below:Given it is regarding safety protocol, it is A knowledge we need to build. Therefore we start with B and then move on to C .


= $10,000

A. Cognitive, Psychomotor, AffectiveB. Receiving, Knowledge, PerceptionC. Set, Application, Valuing


example educ391x individual projects5
Example: EDUC391XIndividual Projects

Development Dimensions:

Design Theory: +3

Instructional Design: +5

Tech Knowledge: +2

Contracts won to date: 0Cash Available: $5,500


example educ391x individual projects6
Example: EDUC391XIndividual Projects
  • Means for Development:
    • Learning modules on individual 391X topics
      • Must pay to enter these learning modules
      • Must pass whatever assessment exists in the learning module to earn development credits
    • Form networks with others to bid on contracts
      • Leverage each other’s knowledge
      • Learn from one another
avatars motivation
Avatars & Motivation
  • Empirical: (Extrinsic Motivators)
    • Surmount game challenge
    • Beat your competitors (performance)
  • Cognitive: (Intrinsic Motivators)
    • Proxy for personal development where intangible gains become tangible. Moreover these gains arrive quickly!
    • Enjoy character building (mastery)
avatars thunderdome
Avatars & Thunderdome
  • Extrinsic rewards (the contract game component) can be removed and the Intrinsic rewards (the character development component) will still ensure motivation.

Therefore, two theories enter, both leave as friends!