What am I going to talk about?. “What is motivation?” – motivation inside and out “Motivation is so yesterday” – enter ‘shovelware’ “A tour of motivation” – a tour of theory and software “Did it work?” – results of the study Conclusion – summary and Q & A. Part I: “What is motivation?”.
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© 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
What am I going to talk about? • “What is motivation?” – motivation inside and out • “Motivation is so yesterday” – enter ‘shovelware’ • “A tour of motivation” – a tour of theory and software • “Did it work?” – results of the study • Conclusion – summary and Q & A © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Part I: “What is motivation?” motivation inside and out © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
“The great disclaimer” • One possible definition of motivation: “a general cover term – a dustbin – to include a number of possibly distinct concepts, each of which may have different origins and different effects and require different classroom treatment” (McDonough, 1981). © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Two types of motivation • Motivation is what makes you want to do something to begin with. • Intrinsic motivation: “energy called forth by the circumstances that connect with what is culturally significant to the individual”. • Internal drivers: curiosity, personal goals, fun, etc. • Extrinsic motivation: “performing a behavior to attain a specific reward”. • External drivers: prizes, grades, money, etc. (Saadé, He, & Kira, 2005) © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Motivation and a whole different animal • There are many theories on and gurus of motivation in the fields of education/ESL (and other fields too!). • But software is a “whole different animal”. There is no physical environment. NO: • Teachers • Students • Grades and/or parents (in most cases) • So the real question is: “How do we motivate people aside from adjusting these factors?” © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Part II: “Motivation is so yesterday” enter shovelware © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Motivation, that is so yesterday. © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Enter “Shovelware” “Virtually all of the instructional efforts on the Web are simply the delivery of shovelware….What pedagogical value is added if we merely distribute virtually the same course resources through a computer rather than, say, on paper? That sort of unimaginative computerization is….warmed over, insipid, pedagogically pointless”. (Fraser, 1999) © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
So what do we have? © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Part III: Tour of Motivation a tour of theory and software © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
So where to gain information? Through the lenses of varied disciplines! We looked to other fields to get ideas how to foster intrinsic motivation - encourage a sense of fun, humour, and curiosity. • Psychology and theories of motivation • Usability Studies (Computing) • Humor as studied by philosophy and organizational behaviour/psychology © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Stop One: Psychology and theories of motivation • As aforementioned, we can assume that most learners begin using software with at least some degree of intrinsic motivation. So how can feed intrinsic motivation? • Catchtheir attention. We have to get their attention before we can hold it. • Graphics, descriptions, advertising. • Hold their attention. We have to give the information we present meaning via personal application. • Active, not passive information distribution. Games, engaging exercises, interaction (Durik & Harackiewicz, 2007) © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Stop Two: Usability and Computing Studies • The first concept from usability is flow: A state in which “people’s minds are captured; they are immersed in activity; they feel of sense of exhilaration and enjoyment…and accomplishment”. • Can be experienced regardless of cultural background. • Activities that proceed flow need to be relevant. • Structure important, but so is control. • Challenging (i.e. there must be a balance between anxiety and boredom – not too hard, not too easy). • Software is an ideal medium to promote flow…students can choose their activities and customize them in a structured environment. Good software is also adaptive to students abilities (Sedig, 2007). © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Stop Two: Usability and Computing Studies cont’d • The second concept is lost in hyperspace. Studies have shown that many learners have a hard time organizing their learning activities using traditional webpages. They click and skip through pages without regard for their semantic or logical relations (Narciss, et al., 2007). • Which is not surprising, everyone “surfs the web” which is by definition, meandering. © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
The Final Stop: Humour • Verbal humor, because of its plays-on-words and culturally-loaded content, can sometimes be inaccessible to learners (without the teacher giving background/explaining) • Clever pictures and certain types of comic strips can sometimes reach learners better than verbal humour can (Berwald, 1992). © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
The Final Stop: Humor cont’d • The use of satire and sarcasm can sometimes be problematic as ESL speakers sometimes are unsure whether a remark/quip is to be taken with humour or not (Banitz, 2005). © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
The Final Stop: Humor cont’d • When we try to see how humour could work in a cross-cultural context, we have to realize we are dealing with cultural norms. Everyone has ideas of what should happen in the specific situation. Humour plays off those assumptions (Cooper et al., 2007). © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
catch Home? Or to the shoe store?
The Final Stop: Humor cont’d • It has been well documented in communicative learning theory (CLT) that not all students feel that learning should be fun and interactive. Many think learning only happens via drills and the like (Defeng, 1998). • People have been learning languages such the beginning of time; many cultures have had many different ideas about how best to get the job done – some of these ideas worked quite well (Savignon, 2001). We need to be sensitive to that, and not push any one way so much that it excludes other learning styles. After all, next year, something else new and improved is sure to come out. • In the end, we decided pictures and subtle jokes were the way to go, because if you don’t like them, they are not an integral part of the program. We tried to make sure that our attempts at humour would be non-offensive (if not funny). But of course, no humour or fun is devoid of culture. © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Part IV: “Did it work?” Results of the study © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
A tale of two research projects • This spring we started a study using two versions of the software: a “fun” one and a “dull” one. We wanted to find out which people would like better. • That FLOPPED. Miserably. • We felt, that in the end, we were getting only the “best” answers on our surveys. © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Sample excerpts from the survey instructions • “We are trying to find out what people would like”. • “We expect to receive negative feedback some of the time”. • “We will not be surprised or offended if you actually dislike the software”. • “Please don’t just circle the ‘best’ answer”. • “Tell us what you really think”. • Etc., etc., etc.
Sample excerpts from the survey responses Q: “How would you rate _____?” • Excellent • Excellent • Excellent • Excellent • Excellent
Research Question • We still needed to find out: • “Does our attempt at making software fun (via games, graphics, and quizzes) motivate people?” As evidenced by: • Do they like using it? • Do they find it interesting/intriguing? • Do they think it is fun? © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Distress to delight: The improved research design • After getting nowhere with the previous design – we decided to do something novel: talk to people. • Friends • Workmates • Family • Acquaintances • If you knew anyone involved in AccentSchool, you were a likely “victim”. © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Distress to delight: The improved research design cont’d • We decided that the following methods of communication were OK: • Email • In-person interviews • Notes given to us by the user about the user’s experience • Observations of others who watched the user use AccentSchool (spouses, partners, etc. with the subject’s permission) © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Basis for the design • CALL (computer assisted language learning) is a notoriously difficult beast to research. • Johnson (1992) outlines a multi-faceted qualitative approach in her book, Approaches to Research in Second Language Learning. • She was researching the effectiveness of SLA software in NY schools. © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Basis for the design cont’d • Here’s quote from the article “SLA Property: No trespassing” (Firth and Wagner, 1998): • “SLA [Second Language Acquisition] has collected data mainly in lab-like situations. There is reason to believe that this quasi-experimental situation triggers a certain set of interactional activities which…have been shown to occur systematically in a large number or studies…our conclusion is that experimental elicited data may provoke the nonnative speaker into acting as an interactional guinea pig….We are astonished that SLA research has, in general, resisted data types from a variety of mundane everyday, or professional social contexts”. © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Results of the newly-minted qualitative research • People liked the graphics. • Out of the 10 people we talked to, everyone liked the graphics. © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Results of the newly-minted qualitative research • People were not put off if they didn’t get the joke. • Most people didn’t understand certain attempts at humour, but they just overlooked these parts. © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Results of the newly-minted qualitative research • People liked the quizzes and games. • The quiz format seemed to keep people engaged. People wanted to see “what’s next”. • However, 2 out of 10 people felt that we should just tell them straight-away. © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Fun • People were motivated by the fact that is was fun. • “I want a copy”. • “She really enjoyed the cats”. • “I liked the cats”. © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Limitations • Content and student attitudes also played a role in how students felt about the software (our linguist presented this part of our study in a separate presentation). • Our sample was not random – we talked to a lot friends (but tried make the results more meaningful by asking open-ended questions and talking to observers) • This study is not meant to be taken quantitatively or as a statistical measure. It is a glimpse into the opinions of some users. • However, it hints that we may be on to something – that students may be motivated by a lighter approach. © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Future Research Angles • How much does fun influence what a learner retains when using learnware? • How much does fun influence how much a time a learner spends doing a voluntary e-learning activity? • What types of fun are most effective at encouraging students to spend time using learnware? • Games, graphics development, etc is very resource intensive due to the fact that it is often separated from content development. • Some students may subconsciously be engaged by “nice” looking learnware, but they may not feel games are real learning activities. © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.
Future Research Designs cont’d • Click patterns: Electronic media gives us the ability to objectively measure how users react by statistically analyzing their click patterns (i.e., what did they click on, how long did they look at a page, when did they exit a site, etc). • We would like to do a controlled, comparative study with two software versions (one “fun” and one “dull”) of and quantitatively compare the click patterns and the time students spend looking at various pages. • Surveys did not prove useful for this type of study. © 2007 ASLI, inc www.accentschool.com.