What is Motivational Design?

  • John M. Keller


There can be contradictory views of what the inherent nature of motivation is. On the one hand it can be unstable, like a pile of dry leaves that changes with every breeze. This makes motivational design highly challenging. Even though you might be able to create a variety of motivational techniques, their effects might be short lived and it would be difficult to predict what motivational states would exist in the learners at any given time. On the other hand, if a person’s motivation is already strong and stable, like a rock, then it would be easier to diagnose the person’s motivational profile and prescribe strategies for change, but it might be more difficult to bring about the changes; you are not likely to motivate people to perform well in situations that are not consistent with their goals. In fact, all of these sometimes seemingly contradictory attributes have to be taken into consideration in the motivational design process. Human motivation is complex and multidimensional, but a great deal has been learned about it and the knowledge can be incorporated into a systematic design process. The purpose of this chapter is to explain the concept of motivational design, describe a model for classifying approaches to motivational design, and discuss several related issues and challenges.


Learning Environment Instructional Design Learner Motivation Human Motivation Achievement Motivation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instructional Systems ProgramFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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