What’s in it for me?

DecissionSteve Wheeler pointed in his blog post “Hanging in there” out some really good points. He posted “…informal learning is more reliant upon an individual’s intrinsic motivation than it is by any external pressures. In other words, we learn because we are interested.”
I couln’t agree more with that! But how to “create” that interest? Or better how is the interest in informal learning different from the one in formal learning? Is it the relation to the content? So that directly relation to the content causes intrinsic motivation (the chinese girlfriend) and an indirect relation (good grades lead to a good job leads to a good pay … some day) needs an extrinsic motivation?

Could it be possible for somebody to improve his motivation by creating intrinsic motivation, just by finding a way of directly relating the learning content to one self? That would imply to be very creative in order to relate any given topic to a current living situation.

But how to achieve that? Creativity is defined as “…thinking items together, that haven’t been thought together before and getting a value out of it…”. I would say that matches the need of connecting externally imposed demands of learning content and personal interests pretty much.

This again would emphasise a certain view on PLEs. Not only would they document ones successful learning history in an e-Portfolio and an overview on current learning activities but they could be used as a support for trying to find a relation between given learning content or topics and current personal situations. Situations of any professional or private nature. The closer to ones interest the better.
I guess with the help of some semantics in the future it will get easier for a PLE to find connections that not even me was thinking of.

My guess is, the more clear I can see what’s in it for me, the more important “it” is for me, the more motivated I am.

What’s your opinion? Any experiences with that? WVDA67ET62Q2

4 Responses to “What’s in it for me?”

  1. Sometimes people talk about informal learning like folks looking down the wrong end of a telescope: informal learning is just learning – formal learning is a weird cultural artifact that we might be better off calling ‘information presentation sessions’. Informal learning – learning – is generally a response to challenges, so by definition we are interested. But I agree you can’t always rely on people’s intrinsic motivation – that’s why your best school teachers are generally the enthusiatic, passionate ones – because they wrap the uninteresting data in emotional metadata, and do so extrinsically rather than intrinsically. We’ve done some research on this recently… when we ask about people’s most significant learning they often cite people or experiences that have inspired them – so this is our challenge with PLEs – certainly to link to stuff they are already motivated to learn, but also to inspire and encourage them in new directions. The key, as always, is emotion.

  2. This is an interesting discussion Tillman, and as you suggest the entire argument hinges on whether we can relate formal learning demands to our own self interests. But I think it goes farther – if we are unable to self organise our own learning, we tend not to gain ownership of it. This is also vital in fostering intrinsic motivation – I will write another blog post later when I have reflected on it a little more. :-)



  3. […] Dieser Eintrag wurde auf Twitter von Jocelyn Nadeau und eDCSD, FEED THE TEACHER erwähnt. FEED THE TEACHER sagte: RT @timbuckteeth What's in it for me? PLEs and self motivated learning http://bit.ly/1CUBLG […]

  4. TMA-1 says:

    You might be interested in those:

    MARTON F and SÄLJÖ (1976) “On Qualitative Differences in Learning — 1: Outcome and Process” Brit. J. Educ. Psych. 46, 4-11

    RAMSDEN P (1992) Learning to Teach in Higher Education London: Routledge (0-415-06415-5)

    BIGGS J (1987) Student Approaches to Learning and Studying Hawthorn, Vic: Australian Council for Educational Researc

    ENTWISTLE N (1981) Styles of Learning and Teaching; an integrated outline of educational psychology for students, teachers and lecturers Chichester: John Wiley (0-471 10013-7)

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