Another dot in the blogosphere?

Not enough to engage

Posted on: November 27, 2021

This tweet triggered a thought, i.e., the importance of intrinsic motivation and empowerment.

The tweet summarised the research on what motivated workers to contribute to free or open source software. It concluded that intrinsic motivation was the “strongest and most pervasive” driver.

We might apply this finding in teaching and learning. To bring intrinsic motivation to the surface, we cannot just engage learners, we must empower them.

It might even be harmful to rely on engagement. This puts all the effort in the teacher’s court and lets the student say “engage me otherwise I do not pay attention and learn”.

If we are to nurture lifelong learners, we need to promote long-term skills and attitudes, e.g., reflection methods, independent thought, lateral reading, informed skepticism. These change the game from one of teaching to that of learning.

Teaching and learning might look the same to a layperson, but an educator should know the differences. It is learning that matters and effective teaching is one way to ensure that happens. The other ways that do not get as much air time are intrinsic motivation and empowerment.

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