Critically Evaluate Factors Influencing Motivation In E Learning

This essay identifies and discusses factors act uponing motive in the context of electronic acquisition ( e-learning ) . First, it defines electronic acquisition and motive. Then it discusses theories of motive relevant to e-learning. Third, it identifies and critically evaluates factors act uponing motive. Finally, it offers some decisions.

The essay will see e-learning in both the work and instruction contexts, where methods of easing larning have developed from traditional ‘chalk and talk ‘ – which is still employed by some university talks, despite being considered outdated – to newer technology-based methods, utilizing practical acquisition environments ( VLEs ) such as Blackboard and other signifiers of electronic acquisition.

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Electronic acquisition, frequently abbreviated to e-learning, can be defined as any learning activity supported by information and communicating engineerings – or ICTs. There are arguments refering the labels, for illustration whether ICT-based acquisition is the same as computer-based acquisition, or is the same as e-learning. The differences are related to the different channels through which the stuffs are delivered ( see Figure 1 ) . On-line stuffs are internet-based and utilize the universe broad web channel. Intranet stuffs, which can look like those available on the universe broad web, are delivered through an internal web of personal computing machines. Floppy discs and CD-ROMs are used on base entirely personal computing machines – that is non connected to a wider web. E-learning is taken to intend any signifier of electronic engineering – as opposed to chalk and blackboard engineering – to back up acquisition.

Blackboard Stand-alone P.C. Networked P.C. On-line W.A.P.

Figure 1: Forms of electronic acquisition

Theories of motive

Motivation can be defined as a determination doing procedure in which the person sets some coveted ends and so adopts particular behavior to accomplish these ends. This impression of motive as being goal-based and intended to fulfill demands can be categorised as a content attack to theories of motive. From this ( simplistic ) position, motive can be provided by placing what ends persons seek and so supplying agencies of accomplishing these ends, in this instance through computing machine based acquisition. More late, the focal point has shifted to the more single, complex, dynamic and contextual facets of motive, categorised as a procedure attack. This attack requires placing how and why persons are motivated. In add-on, motive can be intrinsic ( to run into personal, internal ends ) and/or extrinsic ( to accomplish touchable, external wagess ) .

These general theories of motive can be related to the larning sphere, and in peculiar computing machine based acquisition, in that scholars might hold different motives to larn, and may larn in different ways.

Theories of acquisition can be categorised into three wide positions. Behavioural theoretical accounts of acquisition ( see, for illustration, Skinner 1953 ) are based on a stimulus-response attack, where acquisition is achieved through test and mistake, and pattern. Motivation is stimulated by the possibility of deriving some ( extrinsic ) wages. Such theoretical accounts are associated with larning how to make things, where the consequences can be measured through detecting physical alterations in public presentation. One such attack is societal acquisition ( Bandura 1977 ) . Cognitive theoretical accounts ( Piaget 1971 ) liken larning to information processing or a complex computing machine programme. Here, larning is stimulated by a demand to do sense of new information, and achieved through pull stringsing this information to bring forth personal apprehension. This is an internal procedure that can be measured ( externally ) by alterations in cognition and comprehension. Humanist theoretical accounts ( for illustration, Rogers 1983 ) focal point on larning about oneself and one ‘s state of affairs. This attack includes societal constructivist theoretical accounts of acquisition.

Deci and Ryan ( 1985 ) propose three motivational orientations. The autonomy orientation involves ‘a high grade of experient pick with regard to the induction and ordinance of one ‘s ain behavior, ‘ ( Deci & A ; Ryan, 1985: 111 ) . Persons are more likely to be per se motivated and self-determined. In the context of computing machine based acquisition, this suggests persons are able and willing to place – and put ends to run into – their acquisition demands. Identifying larning demands could be achieved through person ‘s ain experience of jobs, through assessment and public presentation direction processes, or through computer-based bundles ( such as psychometric trials ) . Motivation to run into these demands could be enhanced through the person ‘s ability to make up one’s mind the content, medium, timing/pace and topographic point of acquisition. The control orientation involves ‘people ‘s behavior being organised with regard to command either in the environment or inside themselves, ‘ ( ibid:112 ) . Here, scholars tend to make things because they think they ‘should ‘ and tend to trust on commanding events, such as prescribed appraisals or extrinsic wagess to actuate them. This could include being sent on a class by a director, or comprehending the demand to set about preparation to heighten publicity chances. The impersonal orientation involves ‘people ‘s sing their behavior as beyond their knowing control, ‘ ( ibid ) . Applied to the context of computing machine based acquisition, persons are likely to see themselves as incompetent and experience strong anxiousness when come ining new ( larning ) state of affairss. This is of peculiar relevancy where scholars are unfamiliar with computing machines, possibly older employees, or have had anterior ‘bad ‘ experiences of ( on line ) acquisition. This orientation is amotivational.

As many users of e-learning will be grownups, it is utile to see the construct of grownup acquisition or andragogy. The rules of grownup acquisition, including motive to larn, are explained by Knowles ( 1978 ) . These rules ( cited in Mumford 1986:260 ) are summarised below in Figure 2, along with the deductions for package design.


Desired design characteristics of e-learning to supply motive

see themselves as independent

Are larning stuffs self-contained? Can learners follow their preferable manner ( s )

desire a sense of ego achievement and determinism

Is there learner control – eg over pick of content, gait, larning scheme and manner?

are motivated through naming their ain demands

Are learners able to name their single acquisition demands?

like to actively take part in the learning experience ;

Is at that place active engagement in larning eg interaction with package?

like to be involved in self-evaluation and comparison public presentation to norms ;

Are there chances for self-evaluation and feedback?

see their old experience an indispensable footing for future acquisition ;

Can scholars voyage through the content, eg enabling persons to get down from appropriate cognition base?

evaluate acquisition in relation to its application to daily life

relevancy of the content to current/future occupation

Figure 2: The rules of grownup acquisition

Factors act uponing motive

Keller ( 1987 ) covers the topic of motive and computing machine assisted acquisition ( CAL ) under three wide headers of involvement, attending and feedback. Keller ( 1987 ) suggests that computing machine based bundles can supply motive if the content is of involvement and relevancy to the scholar, if the presentation engages and maintains their attending, and if there are appropriate feedback mechanisms. Content, presentation and feedback are considered in other subdivisions of this reappraisal under entree, presentational, rating and proficient issues.

To supply motive, e-learning demands to take into history a scope of factors, such as scholar independency, run intoing single scholar ‘s ends, learner control, leting chances to rehearse, giving feedback, enabling active engagement, group work, temper, relevancy and anxiousness. Each of these factors is discussed below.

Learner independency

Learner independency allows the scholar to follow their preferable acquisition manner ( s ) ( Kolb 1976, Honey & A ; Mumford 1986 ) and approaches to larning ( Biggs 1987 ) . Keefe ( 1979 ) defines larning manner as the characteristic behavior of scholars that serve as comparatively stable indexs of how they perceive, interact with, and respond to the acquisition environment. However, effectual acquisition requires that scholars are non merely cognizant of their preferable acquisition manners but besides develop the ability to run outside of these, to enable them to work around the experiential acquisition rhythm ( Kolb 1983 ) . A cardinal issue in how successful persons learn is their flexibleness and ability to utilize appropriate acquisition attacks ( Honey and Mumford 1986 ) . Helping persons become cognizant of their ain acquisition procedures and attacks ( meta-learning or larning about larning ) can rush up this procedure. For illustration, if pupils are militants and neglect to be brooding scholars, this may hinder effectual acquisition. Research by Clariana ( 1997 ) suggests that larning manners can alter with exposure to CAL, and that subsequent acquisition behaviors can be viewed as both positive and negative, depending upon the instructional methodological analysis. Cann ( 1999 ) argues that the acquisition manner imposed by any CAL bundle is built-in, but besides partially imposed by the context in which the bundle is presented to or used by pupils. Cann ( 1999 ) found that on-line acquisition stuffs, introduced to advance contemplation, were used by pupils for comparatively short periods of clip, oppugning whether the World Wide Web is a suited medium to promote contemplation. A inquiry to be asked of e-learning stuffs is – does the package allow clip for contemplation?

Research by Ross and Schultz ( 1999 ) , look intoing the impact of larning manners on human-computer interaction, found that larning manners significantly affected larning results. They refer to work by Friend and Cole ( 1990 ) who discovered that sensing-thinking persons responded more favorably to computer-aided direction ( CAI ) than did intuitive-feeling types, who need more human interaction to accomplish desired learning results. They besides refer to the work of Enochs et Al ( 1985 ) who found that concrete scholars ( utilizing Kolb ‘s Learning Style Inventory ) learned better from CAI than did abstract scholars. They cite research by Dunn and Dunn ( 1979 ) who asserted that pupils who are motivated, require specific direction, are consecutive in their attack to acquisition, and bask frequent feedback by and large do good with programmed larning such as CAI. However, pupils who are kinesthetic, peer-oriented scholars may non be engaged adequately by the same method of direction. Therefore, e-learning should be able to suit these different acquisition manners to enable learner independency.

Scott, Buchanan and Haigh ( 1997:19 ) study that, ‘In many establishments increasing precedence is being given to the educational end of rational independency with class aims puting more accent on the procedures of larning and less on class content. ‘ The writers so discuss their research to develop an independent acquisition attack in the context of big university categories. They ‘introduced a student-centred acquisition ( SCL ) attack to promote pupils to take more duty for their ain acquisition, ‘ ( ibid:21 ) . They drew upon Kolb ‘s ( 1984 ) work on larning manners and that by Boud ( 1988 ) on pupil independency, including features such as taking where and when acquisition can take topographic point, prosecuting in self-assessment, and geting new larning schemes and tools. Success was measured by pupil enthusiasm and grounds of deeper acquisition. They report that, ‘While consequences to day of the month demo a pleasing addition in the usage of effectual acquisition schemes for independent acquisition by pupils, a important minority of pupils have non responded positively to the independency end, ‘ ( ibid ) . A inquiry to be addressed in e-learning is, hence, how can scholars be supported and allowed to go independent.

Meeting single scholar ‘s ends and learner control

Traditional definitions of teaching method suggest that the scholar is dependent upon the instructor, who decides content, bringing, timing and appraisal. A learner-centred attack allows the scholar greater control over their experience, ( Rogers 1965, 1969 ) , such as puting single ends, which increases motive. Self-diagnosis of larning demands affords ownership of and, therefore, greater committedness to the acquisition. Ross and Schulz ( 1999:5 ) refer to the work of Rasmussen and Davidson ( 1996 ) , who argue that one of the most powerful characteristics of computer-aided direction ( CAI ) is its capacity to individualize direction to run into the specific demands of the scholar. Ross and Schulz ( 1999:6 ) note that, ‘ while CAI has enormous potency to individualize direction, a figure of learner features such as motive, larning manners, and background cognition may impact the quality and effectivity of a CAI instructional session. ‘

Motivation to larn, in any fortunes and peculiarly with Computer Assisted Learning ( CAL ) , requires an expressed nexus between required scholar actions and educational aims and ends ( hypertext transfer protocol: // ) . Borges and Baranauskas ( 1998:27 ) suggest that ‘in the human-centered attack to the design of computer-based acquisition environments, we must see that the ends stem from human demands, and non from the computational system. ‘ That is, the ends should be pedagogical and learner-centred, instead than technological. McLoughlin and Oliver ( 1998:126 ) suggest that a constructivist position ( Knight and Knight 1995 ) of computing machine based larning dainties the computing machine as a tool through programming the scholar is able to command the engineering and generate responses. ‘ CAL can potentially alter the instruction system and aid scholars achieve higher degree educational ends through more flexible acquisition procedures. It can enable a move off from the conventional theoretical account dominated by didactic additive engineerings of cognition transportation to non-linear engineerings. Such informational educational engineerings aim at non-linear structuring of information and cognition in the signifier of hypertext, interactive multimedia and databases placed on CD-ROM or on the Internet and World Wide Web ( Pak 1998 ) . Such engineerings allow scholars to prosecute with the larning stuff in different and multiple ways, increasing involvement, attending and control ( Keller 1987 ) . Small and Grabowski ( 1992 ) found that high motive degrees led to topics passing more clip with the computing machine plan, and later contributed to higher larning results. Low motive degrees had an reverse consequence.


Keller ( 1987 ) suggests that computing machine based bundles can supply motive if there are appropriate feedback mechanisms. Self-evaluation enables feedback to be sought when the scholar considers it necessary and/or appropriate. Ninness, Ninness, Sherman and Schotta ( 1998 ) conducted an experiment into maths public presentation. Using computer-interactive tutorials and self-assessment processs, with and without truth feedback, Ninness et Al ( 1998 ) found that, after pupils were trained, computer-interactive self-assessment with feedback may ease high rates and continuance of public presentation. In the same research, Ninness, Ellis and Ninness ( 1999 ) found that, with pattern, self-assessment may go a beginning of secondary support and may prolong high rates of academic behavior in the absence of external wages systems.

Active engagement

St. simons ( 1999:15 ) provinces that there are three ways to larn: guided acquisition, experiential acquisition and action acquisition, and argues for a displacement from inactive to active acquisition. Active acquisition can be defined both as acquisition in which the scholar uses chances to make up one’s mind about facets of the acquisition procedure, and the extent to which the scholar is challenged to utilize his or her mental abilities while larning. Active engagement enhances experiential larning through the building of personal apprehension and the transmutation of experience ( Kolb 1983 ) . St. simons argues that ‘Active acquisition is more attractive to scholars because they are more motivated and interested when they have a say in their ain acquisition and when their mental activity is challenged, ‘ ( 1999:17 ) . He besides states that ideal acquisition procedures are the active, cumulative, constructive, purposive, diagnostic, brooding, find oriented, contextual, job oriented, instance based, societal and per se motivated sorts of acquisition ( ibid ) . Therefore, quality computing machine based acquisition should integrate active acquisition features, such as flexibleness ( pick over learning ends and how these are achieved ) and appropriate rational challenge, to supply ( intrinsic ) motive.

Aldrich, Rogers and Scaife ( 1998:327-328 ) conducted a survey consistently measuring the pros and cons of two CD-ROM package bundles against a set of pedagogical standards. In footings of motive and battle, the ‘better ‘ bundle featured a format that stimulated wonder, included originative ways of happening out information, were disputing and diverse. The ‘poor ‘ bundle featured a stiff construction, which could non needfully keep the scholar ‘s involvement for long.

Opportunities for pattern

Thorpe ( 1999:41 ) studies that new engineerings have been found to offer one or a combination of benefits including chances for drill and pattern, through package leting limitless test and mistake and through practical acquisition environments, as in practical field trips, practical microscopes and simulations. McLoughlin and Oliver ( 1998:126 ) study that ‘Until the 1980s the success of computing machine assisted acquisition ( CAL ) was attributed to its capacity to individualize direction ( Saljo 1994 ) . Computer package of the drill and pattern assortment is designed harmonizing to the behaviorist rule that larning is best achieved by an single practising undertakings in a insistent mode until command is achieved. The computing machine is regarded as a instructor, giving immediate feedback on responses and enabling farther pattern. ‘ However, McLoughlin and Oliver ( 1998:126 ) note that, ‘Computer undertakings of this nature besides limit educational ends to the attainment of lower order accomplishments such as memory, declaiming or bring forthing stray sections of information. ‘

Group larning

One issue in the treatment of motive to larn is the extent to which computer-based acquisition facilitates group larning and societal interaction. McLoughlin and Oliver ( 1998:127 ) refer to work by Nastasi and Clements ( 1992 ) proposing that pupils working together bask peer support and increased verbal exchange taking to high degrees of undertakings involvement and job resolution behaviors. Not merely are these behaviors positively related to improved acquisition results, but they besides lead to increased motive. ‘ Thorpe ( 1999 ) besides highlights that computer-mediated communicating ( CMC ) offers the potency for people to work together.

Computer Anxiety

One possible demotivator in footings of computing machine based acquisition is anxiousness. Lee ( 1997 ) argues that the design of effectual computing machine developing demands to take into history the degree of anxiousness toward larning computing machine engineering in add-on to other grownup larning features. It is argued that ‘human existences are grim theorists, actively larning and seeking to do sense of their experiences. This is peculiarly so in computing machine related undertakings, where operations are usually rather foreign to the new user, making emphasis and an added inducement to derive a step of control every bit shortly as possible ( Carroll and Mack 1995 ) , ‘ ( Hale 1998:185 ) . Brosnan ( 1998 ) explored the relationship between computing machine anxiousness and computing machine public presentation utilizing a self-efficacy model and argues that computing machine anxiousness straight influenced the figure of right responses obtained. Brosnan ( 1998 ) found that less dying participants obtained more right responses.

Presno ( 1998 ) studied instructional techniques and behaviours that either reduced or exacerbated anxiousness in an Internet category for novitiate grownup pupils, utilizing observations, interviews and papers analysis, and found four chief countries of anxiousness. These were: Internet nomenclature anxiousness, Net hunt anxiousness, Internet clip hold anxiousness, and general fright of Internet failure. Blair et Al ( 1999 ) investigated the relationship between expertness, province self-efficacy and province concern during the disposal of a computerised job-related enfranchisement trial. A questionnaire study instrument was administered to persons who had merely finished the trial and were willing to self-report. Participants who scored extremely ( experts ) demonstrated significantly higher degrees of province self-efficacy and less province concern than those classed as non-experts.

In footings of computer-related success and failure, Rozell and Gardner ( 1999 ) found that computing machine preparation was effectual in raising user efficaciousness degrees and bettering computing machine public presentation, every bit good as cut downing anxiousness. In add-on to preparation, Levine and DonitsaSchmidt ( 1998 ) found that computing machine usage itself has a positive consequence on perceived computing machine assurance, every bit good as on computer-related attitudes. In another survey, Berk and Nanda ( 1998 ) found that the usage of temper reduced anxiousness, improved attitudes to class content and increased accomplishments.

Adult scholars returning to larning after long periods of absence may see fright of failure and deficiency of assurance, both lending to anxiousness. Ference and Vockell ( 1994 ) place characteristics of grownup larning similar to Knowles ( 1978 ) , but besides note that grownup scholars are frequently motivated by internal factors including self-esteem, acknowledgment, assurance, calling satisfaction and overall life quality ; they besides tend to be motivated by external factors like better occupations, increased promotional chances, and higher wages ( cited in Lee 1997:139-140 ) . From the research cited, it is suggested that assurance can be increased through computing machine preparation, computing machine usage, appropriate feedback and support, for illustration. However, it is problematic to what extent any other of these peculiar internal and external motivation factors can be provided through package design.


It is of import to see whether motive to prosecute in computing machine based acquisition is intrinsic or extrinsic, for illustration, whether scholars have pick over what, why and how acquisition is to be achieved. However, Ventkatesh and Speier ( 1999:3 ) remark that small is known about the implicit in factors act uponing extrinsic and intrinsic motive, the cardinal drivers of engineering use. They suggest that if a engineering is perceived to be utile in easing the person ‘s productiveness, s/he is likely to hold extrinsic motive to utilize a given engineering. However, if a engineering is non perceived as utile, it will offer no advantages to occupation public presentation or fiscal wages.


Another factor in supplying motive is a individual ‘s temper. In footings of computing machine engineering preparation, an person ‘s perceptual experience of enjoyment of engineering usage is likely to be influenced by temper, and a positive temper is likely to take to greater creativeness, undertaking enjoyment and satisfaction. Ventkatesh and Speier ( 1999:23 ) found that, ‘positive tempers at the clip of developing consequence in short term additions in intrinsic motive and purpose to utilize the engineering, ‘ However, they besides found that, ‘a long-run lowering of intrinsic motive and purpose was observed among those in the negative temper status, ‘ ( ibid:1 ) . This would propose that if preparation was conducted when a individual is in a negative temper, there would be diminished developing benefits and the reduced motive experienced could last for a long clip, act uponing farther episodes of ( computing machine based ) larning. Ventkatesh and Speier ( 1999:21 ) argue that, ‘developing intrinsic motive during acquisition is critical. ‘

In footings of temper, enjoyment and utility, Ventkatesh and Speier ( 1999:10 ) study that anterior research measuring the influence of motive on computing machine engineering credence has measured extrinsic motive as sensed utility and intrinsic motive as sensed enjoyment, mentioning the work of Davis et Al ( 1992 ) . Usefulness refers to ensuing enhanced occupation performance/productivity. This might be more easy measured within work activities. Enjoyment and usefulness relate to doing computing machine based larning ‘pleasurable and successful ‘ . Teo, Lim and Lai ( 1999 ) studied motive for the usage of the Internet, specifying intrinsic motive as sensed enjoyment and extrinsic motive as sensed utility. They found that local Internet users used the Internet chiefly because they perceived the Internet to be more utile to their occupation undertakings and secondarily, because it was gratifying and easy to utilize.


To reason, this essay has identified factors act uponing motive to larn and critically evaluated these in the context of e-learning. Key characteristics of e-learning that provide motive are: scholar independency, run intoing scholar ‘s ends, active engagement, chances for pattern and feedback, group work, temper and relevancy. However, factors such as fright and anxiousness should besides be considered as these can de-motivate ( peculiarly older ) scholars. Whatever the method, e-learning is traveling to go on to supply advanced ways of facilitating and back uping the development of cognition and accomplishments, whether at work or in the schoolroom, or wherever.


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