The Study of Motivation
Motivational design, the central topic of this book, provides a bridge between the study of motivation and the practice of enhancing or modifying people’s motivation. On one side of the bridge are concepts, theories, and principles resulting from the study of human motivation, and on the other side are procedures, successful practices, and design processes that have resulted from the work of designers and practitioners whose aim is to improve learner motivation. Frequently, this bridge is represented as being one way as in the expression, “from theory to practice,” which suggests that scientists discover basic principles and practitioners apply them. However, the process is not nearly so linear; that is, it is not possible to prescribe a direct application to practice for every motivational principle that has been empirically supported, and not every successful practice can be explained by a particular motivational concept. Thus, the bridge is two way. Designers and practitioners learn from the work of researchers and create ways of incorporating that knowledge in practice, and researchers can learn from observing relationships in contexts of application which then provide a basis for theorizing and testing. A primary purpose of this book is to bring the two sides of the bridge together. Even though there are many individuals who have specific motivational talents and there is an enormous amount of research on human motivation, there has been little systematic guidance for those who are trying to learn how to be more predictably effective in motivating their learners. A primary purpose of this book is to provide such guidance in the form of a motivational design process; that is, it consists of a general model of design that is grounded in motivational theory but also incorporates systematic audience analysis based on the primary components of human motivation to diagnose specific motivational problems that exist in a given situation. Then, the results of this analysis lead to the design and/or selection of motivational strategies that are compatible with the learners, instructors, and learning environment.