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Introducing Chapter 3 on Online Motivation from Four Perspectives in my New (Free) "Adding Some TEC-VARIETY" book
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Introducing Chapters from the TEC-VARIETY Book One Day at a Time:

Noted: Listed at the bottom of this blog post is a recap of the Bonk book blogging of "Adding Some TEC-VARIETY" so far.

This is Day Four of Blogging (Chapter Three: Online Motivation from Four Perspectives)
As I announced back on July 24, 2014 (2 months ago), my new book, written with Dr. Elaine Khoo from the University of Waikato, was published in May 2014 (though a prepublication version was posted online 3 months earlier). It is titled: "Adding Some TEC-VARIETY: 100+ Activities for Motivating and Retaining Learners Online." More than a decade in the making, I am delighted to bring it to you for free! It is open access.When done, I got lucky to get the homepage for the book.

This is the fourth straight day of blogging on the book, one snippet per day for several week. If you like theory, you are in luck since the chapter for today discusses motivation in light of four major theoretical eras: (1) behaviorism, (2) cognitivism, (3) constructivism, and (4) sociocultural theory. I should point out that Elaine took primary responsibility for this chapter and the previous one on online motivation and retention. I asked her to help me with the book and write up the theory chapters while I focused on the application ones. However, I also have been teaching a learning theories course for more and a quarter of a century so I was able to add a few Bonk insights and "Bonkisms" to both of those chapters. And Elaine was able to add to my application ones. It was a good writing partnership.

If you are an educator, you might download this chapter and the previous one and have a discussion with your students or your colleagues about what motivates them. Are there universal principles of motivation that cut across theories and learning environments, be they online, blended, or face-2-face? Read the chapter and find out. Or generate your own universals. Elaine and I look forward to hearing about them.

As with the others, this chapter is free to download, share, and use. Translate it if you need to. As I have mentioned the previous three days, it is now available for free as a PDF document at the book homepage and so are each of the 15 chapters. More than 22,000 people have done so and I hope to perhaps double that by the end of the year. We will see. It is also posted to a website from AACE where thousands more people have downloaded it. Having problems finding it? Ok, just go to my homepage and you can find it (personal homepage).

This is an experiment in self-publishing using Amazon CreateSpace. Amazon CreateSpace people were extremely wonderful to work with. I also used my book publishing website My highly talented son Alex did the book cover. If interested, you can purchase paperback or softcover versions of this book for under $15 USD in Amazon and for the Kindle for under $10 USD via Amazon. It seems that a number of people are ordering the Kindle version since I started blogging a few days ago.

See below for a opening part of Chapter Three: Online Motivation from Four Perspectives. Elaine and I hope that you enjoy the book. Below is the section of the book that I am sharing today. Tomorrow I will start to blog the 10 chapters of the TEC-VARIETY framework. The framework gets at (1) Tone or Climate, (2) Encouragement or Feedback, (3) Curiosity, (4) Variety, (5) Autonomy, (6) Relevance, (7) Interactivity and Collaboration, (8) Engagement, (9) Tension or Challenge, and (10) Yielding Products. These are the application chapters. There are 10 activities or ideas related to online learner motivation and retention in each of those 10 chapters or 100 total ideas. Much that you can do today that you could not do yesterday.
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Chapter Three Online Motivation from Four Perspectives (Note: this is just the first five paragraphs as another a teaser or tickler).

Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select—doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief, and, yes, even beggarman and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors. I am going beyond my facts and I admit it, but so have the advocates of the contrary and they have been doing it for many thousands of years.
—John B. Watson, Behaviorism, 1930, p. 82

Motivation: An Introduction

Former US Secretary of Education Terrel Bell hit the nail on the head when he mentioned, “There are three things to remember about education. The first is motivation. The second one is motivation. The third one is (you guessed it) motivation” (Ames, 1990). Bell echoes the sentiments of many others who view motivation as the essence of education (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000; Dennen & Bonk, 2007). Consider the following quotation from an online instructor we interviewed:

                   "Getting the kids hooked in for the graduate courses . . . I’m constantly racking my brain as to how to get them more involved and get more interaction going. . . . Because it seems to me as though they are not necessarily engaging. I don’t know whether the resources aren’t catchy enough or whether there’s nothing I can do, whether it’s actually them in the sense of they just haven’t got the time or they just don’t see it worthwhile. I tear my hair out. I don’t know what to do to change it and I don’t have the time to change it which is probably part of it as well" (Laura, novice online lecturer).

Laura’s comments typify some of the challenges faced by online lecturers. How do they motivate their learners to engage productively in Web-based learning environments? In Web-based contexts, understanding what motivates learners to study online and to continue to completion can give us clues as to how to best design and structure online courses to engage learners and encourage them to run the race to the end. Enhanced knowledge of learner motivation can give us greater insight into why some learners are more likely to be more successful than others along the way.

We begin by offering several perspectives on the term “motivation.” Atkinson (1964) defined it as “the immediate influences on the direction, vigor, and persistence of action.” Wlodkowski (1999, p. 8) expanded on this definition when he said motivation is “the natural human capacity to direct energy in the pursuit of a goal. . . . [W]e are purposeful, we constantly learn and when we do we are usually motivated to learn, we are directing our energy through the processes of attention, concentration and imagination, to name only a few, to make sense of our world.” Fundamental in these definitions and viewpoints is the idea that human beings are purposeful in their actions and intents; that is, they focus their energies and interests in the process of striving toward a desired goal.

Educational theorists have typically considered the issue of human motivation from the standpoint of the current thinking on how humans learn. As a basis for our recap of several pertinent learning theories in this chapter as well as in the introductory sections of the next 10, we spent several years accessing and reading many special reports, monographs, and education books related to motivation in education (e.g., Ames & Ames, 1989; Brophy, 2010; Deci & Ryan, 1985; Lambert & McCombs, 1998; McCombs & Pope, 1994; Raffini, 1996; Reeve, 1996; Schunk, Pintrich, & Meece, 2008; Stipek, 1998). We uncover many of these motivational ideas through the following brief overview of four major theoretical eras: (1) behaviorism, (2) cognitivism, (3) constructivism, and (4) sociocultural theory. (see free book for more from this chapter...)
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Note: for the rest of Chapter One and the entire Adding Some TEC-VARIETY book, you can find it FREELY available (and the entire book as well at the book homepage or you can purchase it via Amazon. Comments and questions are always welcome as are stories and examples of how you use the ideas in the book (just write to: curt at 

Bonk book blogging so far:
1. Announcing the Adding Some TEC-VARIETY book, Posted: July 24, 2014.
2. Introducing the Preface, Posted September 18, 2014.
3. Introducing Chapter One: TEC-VARIETY, Posted: September 19, 2014
4. Introducing Chapter Two: Online Learning Attrition and Retention, Posted: September 20, 2014 
5. Introducing Chapter Three: Online Motivation from Four Perspectives, Posted: September 21, 2014 (today)

We all need a little motivation sometime...including online motivation!

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About Me

Name: Curt Bonk
Home: Bloomington, Indiana, United States
About Me: I am a former accountant and CPA and a former educational psychologist. I am now Professor of IST at Indiana University and also adjunct in the School of Informatics. I founded and later sold SurveyShare. As president of CourseShare, LLC, I run around the world training instructors to teach online and give motivational talks about emerging learning technologies. I also write and edit books related to e-learning and blended learning. See bio and vita.

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