Move It

Motivate – to stimulate towards action.

One of the things that teachers dread is when a group or even a class of unmotivated learners is stonewalling with them. In fact, for any learning to happen, there needs to be some iota of motivation on the part of the learners.

Photo credit: mconnors from

Often, motivation is differentiated between the more valued intrinsic and also extrinsic motivation.  If intrinsic motivation is about personal ownership, what roles do external parties play? Could someone be intrinsically motivated by something of no real value?

The attraction of gamification in education is that it involves leveraging on the way computer games seem to have found the key to motivation. Greg Siering shared the following ways to gamify education:

  • Clear goals and progress indicators
  • Level up
  • Badges
  • Leader board

Clearly games are highly motivating. Going by the features listed above, would we say gamification is more a case of extrinsic or intrinsic motivation? Gabbe Zichermann observes that in gamification, there is an offer of “patently extrinsic rewards (points, badges, leaderboards, free stuff) that feed a core intrinsic desire: every kid’s craving for agency and self-determination”.

Even for adults, Daniel Pink shares that the surprising truth of what motivates us include  autonomy, mastery and purpose – all of which could be said to be intrinsic desires of human beings. In counselling, these intrinsic desires are labelled as security and significance.

For educators, the question remains as to how we could  activate the intrinsic desires of learners. Angela Duckworth speaks about the importance of grit – sticking to things over the very long term until you master them – especially for education and how we are still discovering how we could become more gritty.

Angela did mention that the growth mindset is helpful. I wonder if gamification offers any gems worth exploring for this.

Gritty games in learning anyone?


About pauseability

An educator at large and learner at heart. Founder of Pauseability. Encouraging everyone to learn to pause, and pause to learn.
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