Friday, April 16, 2010

Drive - Motivation 3.0 - Moving on from the "carrot & stick" industrial models

Motivation, huh, what is it good for... 

Enjoyed Nora Young's conversation about motivation research. Relating these ideas to the needed changes in education. The carrot and stick methods of motivation are left over from the industrial age, just as our educational system. It's high time we move on, and as Daniel Pink points out, research over the past forty-years has pointed this out to us. We've just chosen to ignore it. A new examination of what motivates, especially when it comes to solving today's more complex challenges, is drastically needed.  And I would argue that we're on the verge of accomplishing.

The "higher level" motivators Pink describes: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose, are exactly what we need to begin focusing upon in the education of our youth. We are selling them short (and the future) to continue to believe that simple carrots or sticks will motivate anyone to solve today's complex, global challenges.

Why do we still ignore this information, and continue with techniques that are proven to fail?

As Pink describes, rewards models work well for problems with simple, linear, focused goals.  If tunnel vision is what you're looking for - one correct way to solve (get to the end) of this problem, then reward away, however, this is not the case when the goal is to educate.  We want to create problem solvers that can adapt to the challenges of an unknown future and think outside of the "box of tacks" to come up with new solutions. For this, he points out, we need to tap into the more intrinsic motivators, the exact motivators that are continually ignored in education: giving young learners purpose to what they learn, allowing them to achieve mastery by digging deeper into subjects and not just scratching the surface, and lastly creating an environment where autonomy is expected.  That is learners take a responsibility for their own learning.

I've been having this very conversation with colleagues and students.  The whole idea of setting the bar so low that students have now need or desire to achieve.  While they might complain, students have told me they want to be challenge, they want to feel they are learning something that requires high standards.  If we can more our student motivators to the higher level, intrinsic variety, and away from the stale carrots, I think we'd be surprised at just what students accomplish.

The short version:

or, check out the full interview here:
Spark 109 – April 11 & 13, 2010 | Spark | CBC Radio

Carrot Photo by Madeline Nicole

1 comment:

Microsoft MCSE Training Courses said...

Yes, reward system influence people lot. It’s useful for both, customer who always wants to get some added services and the employee who wants recognition for his job.