„Alles online, aber wo bleibt die Motivation?“

Für das Magazin „wirAUSBILDER“ habe ich vor einigen Wochen einen Beitrag zum Stichwort „Motivation & Lernen“ geschrieben. Jetzt ist die Sperrfrist abgelaufen, so dass ich ihn öffentlich machen kann. Der Teaser enthält die Fragen, auf die ich einige Antworten versuche. Rückmeldungen sind herzlich willkommen!!

„Der Einsatz von digitalen Medien in der Aus- und Weiterbildung ist in vielen Unternehmen und Betrieben angekommen.   Doch das Selbstlernen im Netz  passiert nicht automatisch, nur weil die Auszubildenden mit Internet und Smartphone aufgewachsen sind. Gibt es die selbstorganisierten Lernenden überhaupt? Oder wird die Motivation der Lernenden im Netz noch wichtiger? Und, wenn ja, wie funktioniert sie?“
Jochen Robes, wirAUSBILDER, 5/2018, S.6-9 (pdf)

Bildquelle: Cam Adams (Unsplash)

Will Gamification Work for Everyone?

Gamification is one of the hottest topics in eLearning today. In short, Gamification involves adding elements to eLearning similar to what you would find in an online game. For example, participants are given “avatars” and compete with each other for points, badges, or access to higher levels of the “game.”

Gamification’s benefits are reported to include rapid feedback and higher levels of engagement and excitement. For as long as I’ve been involved in learning, educators have searched for ways to move beyond passive learning (e.g., classroom lecture) to more active learning, and Gamification seems to move learning in that direction.

While recently reviewing opinions on goals and competition, I began to wonder if there were situations where Gamification was not the best technique to use and could actually interfere with learning. This blog post looks at how learning objectives, individual differences and group culture could impact the effectiveness of Gamification.

Learning Objectives

Having played digital games when I was younger, I personally think that the competitive nature of Gamification sounds fun. However, could the competitive nature of Gamification interfere with the achievement of your learning objectives?

Much has been written on the impact of competitive and cooperative goals on outcomes, and I’ve included some of the foundational articles I’ve read below. In general, they all seem to agree that competitive goals can lead to less information sharing and higher negative attitudes toward others.

If you’ve seen the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross”, based on the Pulitzer winning play by David Mamet, you’ve seen a good illustration of how a group of ruthless salesmen do anything but share information and certainly develop “negative attitudes” toward each other.

If the objective of your instruction is to increase cooperation, as in encouraging participative decision making, techniques that increase competition among participants may not be the best choice.

Individual Differences

We all have a friend or acquaintance that can turn a walk in the park into a cut throat competition. If you don’t know such a person, it could be you. The point is that people have different attitudes and reactions to competition.

One of the more interesting ways people react to competition, especially if they are continuously given information they are not doing well, involves whether they believe their abilities are fixed or malleable. Learners who believe they can change their abilities tend to remain motivated even when doing poorly. In contrast, those that believe their abilities are fixed tend to disengage when they don’t do well, even if they are capable of successfully completing a task.

Since effective instruction involves high levels of engagement and motivation, being mindful of individual differences could make Gamification more effective. For example, Gamification could be used as a course or module ice breaker, instead of being used to track all lessons.

Group Culture

Its been my experience that some organizations seem to thrive on competition, particularly those involved in sales. In fact, one direct sales organization I worked with pretty much had Gamification elements incorporated in their daily work routine, including a digital leader board that tracked sales progress on an almost continuous basis.

Other organizations and departments seem to thrive more on cooperation and information sharing, especially if their work involves innovation and problem solving. For example, one organization had a new product development team whose meetings were driven by sharing ideas in order to reach a common goal.

I could see a direct sales team totally enjoying an eLearning experience driven by intense competition. A group of research engineers, on the other hand, not so much. For situations where the culture is more cooperative, Gamification could be used as an ice breaker for training or modified into a team based experience where learners cooperate as a team against a deadline, such as “saving the planet.”


Gamification holds promise for adding excitement to eLearning efforts. However, time will tell if it works well for every learner and every situation. In the mean time, learning professional might well consider learning objectives, the learners attitude toward their own abilities and the cultural context when using Gamification techniques. Some individuals and groups may well thrive in the Gamification environment, while others may require more encouragement or have difficulties learning if they focus too much on competition.


Ames, C. (1992). Classrooms: Goals, structures and student motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84(3), 261-271.

Deutsch, M. (2006). Cooperation and competition. In M. Deutsch, P. T. Coleman, & E. C. Marcus (Eds.), The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and practice (23–42). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Farrell, J.N. (2017). A Model of Gainsharing: Culture, Outcomes and Employee Reactions (March 12, 2017). Social Science Research Network.

Tjosvold, D., Wong, A.S.H., & Chen, N.Y.F. (2014). Constructively managing conflicts in organizations. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 1, 545-568.

Dweck, C.S. (1986). Motivational processes affecting learning. American Psychologist, 41, 1040-1048.


Luis Molinero – Freepik | Man Doing a Bad Signal Over White Background

Freepik |  Smiling Worker Showing a Positive Gesture

Freepik |  Two Mimes Fighting

Jcomp – Freepik | Young Business Woman Stressed from Work Sitting Staircase

Freepk | Team Watching Phone in Office

The post Will Gamification Work for Everyone? appeared first on eLearning.

How to Incorporate Self-Directed Learning in Your Online Course

Der Artikel ist nicht mehr als eine Einführung, aber mit nützlichen Tipps. Ein Startpunkt, wenn man so will, für weitere Überlegungen. Die beiden wichtigsten Empfehlungen aus meiner Sicht: „Turn over the keys: Of course, one of the hallmarks of self-directed learning is that it requires instructors to turn control of the learning experience over to the learners themselves“.

Und: „Provide a challenge: Just because learners are setting their own path doesn’t mean they aren’t up for a challenge. Setting a piece of extra credit course work, or offering a special badge for learners who meet their stretch goals, can be a motivator to encourage learners to push a bit harder to meet their objectives.“
Laura Lynch, LearnDash, 20. August 2018

Bildquelle: rawpixel (Unsplash)

My WIIFM Story

One mistake that is often made by organisations who design their eLearning is with WIIFM. WIIFM stands for “what’s in it for me?” (said from the perspective of the learner). This attempts to address the motivation for the learner to proceed and ultimately complete their training. The mistake comes when the WIIFM is written from the perspective of the organisation and not truly what motivates employees.

Here is an example that I experienced when I was working at the Toronto international airport. Consulting with my stakeholder and subject matter experts the motivation for a course on safety was for the thousands of passengers that visit Toronto’s international airport and with an emphasis on the reputation of the airport as a safe place.

Upon further reflection I started to think about the employees who were going to be required to complete this course and realized that while we all want to be safe, an employees concern is not toward the reputation of the airport or to the thousands of strangers who pass through the airport daily, but instead for themselves, their families and friends (their loved ones).

It took some convincing, but my stakeholder agreed that reminding employees that their loved ones at some point will be passengers at the airport and their safety is what is ultimately important to employees. Also, concern for their own safety can be used in this instance as well. Everyone, including the families of employees, wants them to come home safe at the end of their shift. I managed to extend that even further to include their co-workers as well. Many co-workers become friends outside of work. We share in each other’s lives and their families become our families.

Try to avoid towing the corporate line when writing your course motivation section of your eLearning. It becomes far more effective when it has real meaning to the employees and not some check mark on a corporate checklist.

The post My WIIFM Story appeared first on eLearning.

Mein Wochenausklang: Kann man Lernmotivation fördern?

Am Mittwoch bin ich in Berlin, auf dem 3. Deutschen Ausbildungsforum, und habe dort ein kleines Zeitfenster, um über Lernmotivation zu diskutieren. Beziehungsweise, wenn alles gut läuft, dann gebe ich anfangs einen kleinen Impuls und der motiviert hoffentlich die Teilnehmer, anschließend mit mir und den anderen zu diskutieren. Schon diese Zeilen deuten an, dass Motivation ein schönes, aber auch vertracktes Thema ist.

Was werde ich in Berlin erzählen? Das große Thema des Forums ist natürlich die „moderne Berufsausbildung“, zu der zweifelsohne auch virtuelle Lernumgebungen gehören. Und nicht erst die großen Online-Kurse mit den ebenso großen Abbruchquoten zeigen uns, dass Motivation etwas ist, über das es sich nachzudenken lohnt. Einerseits sind uns intrinsisch motivierte Lernende am liebsten. Andererseits wollen wir ja die Teilnehmer nicht abschreiben, die es aus anderen Motiven in einen Kurs verschlagen hat.

Im Corporate Learning 2025 MOOCathon stand letztes Jahr eine Kurswoche unter dem Titel: „Wie entstehen aus heutigen Kursteilnehmern die selbstorganisiert Lernenden von morgen?“ Ein Wochentag war der Motivation gewidmet. Und alles drehte sich um die Frage, was hier Corporate Learning eigentlich tun kann, ohne wieder in alte Muster zu verfallen, also Lernende immer wieder zu motivieren. Die Forumsdiskussionen in dieser Woche waren übrigens die intensivsten im ganzen MOOC! Wir hatten in diesem Zusammenhang auch ein paar Themen angestoßen, die es sich zu verfolgen lohnt (wenn man viel Zeit hat …). Zum Beispiel die Figur des Autodidakten, dessen intrinsische Motivation ja niemand in Frage stellt. Oder die Ermöglichungsdidaktik, die ja auch auf den eigenständigen und selbstgesteuerten Lernenden setzt.

Beim Stichwort E-Learning hat man sich lange darauf konzentriert, die Inhalte „motivierend“ zu gestalten. Interaktiv war und ist ein Zauberwort, Storytelling ein anderes, kurze Erklärfilme ein Format, das die Nutzer für nächste Schritte und Taten animieren soll. Motivationsdesign also. Inzwischen gehört die Selbstbestimmungstheorie von Edward L. Deci und Richard M. Ryan zum Handwerkszeug, wenn es um Motivation geht. Auch ich werde in Berlin also aufzeigen, wie man sich mit ihrer Hilfe von der Fixierung auf Lerninhalte und ihre Gestaltung lösen kann. Und von dem Gegensatzpaar von extrinsischer und intrinsischer Motivation.

Um dann werde ich sicher auch bei der Herausforderung landen, die Gabi Reinmann vor einiger Zeit sehr schön beschrieben hat: „Es gehört zu den Antinomien der Pädagogik und Didaktik, dass man Selbstbestimmung zum Ziel hat, aber auf dem Weg dahin allein mit Selbstbestimmung nicht auskommt.“

Video: 3 ways to motivate

How can we help learners feel autonomy, competence, and relatedness? Here’s a video of the webinar I recently ran on that topic, plus a summary of what we talked about.

Training design: 3 ways to motivate learners from Cathy Moore on Vimeo.

It’s all about self-determination

According to self-determination theory, when people are externally motivated, they simply obey someone else’s rules (“I do it because the boss is watching”). They might feel resentment or anxiety, and they probably perform the behavior just well enough to stay out of trouble.

Our goal as trainers is to get people to adopt the new behavior as their own and perform it willingly and well — we want them to become more internally motivated.

Research seems to support the idea that people are more likely to become internally motivated if we support their needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. (For a lot more on that, see this PDF overview.)

Sample activities

To see what that might look like in activity design, we looked at a simple compliance activity and these two branching scenarios:

The activities we looked at don’t make you sit through an information presentation. You’re just plunged into each activity, as described in this blog post.

We focused on self-paced activities rather than all types of training because the activities are easiest to show on a screen during a webinar, and our time was limited. However, the concepts we discussed also apply to other formats and materials, including job aids and live training.


We took a quote from the paper to define autonomy as “a sense of choice, volition, and freedom from excessive external pressure toward behaving or thinking a certain way.”

When talking about practice activities, we could consider autonomy at two levels. The first, shallow level is user choice: “Now I will click this other thing in this boring click-to-reveal.” The second and more interesting is a deeper sense of freedom from feeling like someone is telling us what to think.

See the video for the lively discussion among participants about how well the sample activities supported that deeper sense of autonomy. We then summed up our recommendations as a group.

We decided we could do the following to support autonomy in self-paced activities.

  • Offer relevant scenarios with authentic choices
  • Offer optional, on-demand resources rather than assuming ignorance and forcing people to sit through presentations
  • Let people take risks
  • Show the consequence of each choice by continuing the story and letting people draw conclusions, rather than telling them, “Incorrect, blah blah blah” (see this blog post for an example)
  • Provide a clear goal for the person to achieve in the activity (beat the competition to the news story; help Hana) so they see a compelling reason to complete it


We considered three aspects of competence:

  • “I can do this!”
  • “Oops, I screwed up here, but I see how to fix it.”
  • “I’ve got the basics now. Give me something harder.”

After gauging how well the sample activities supported our need for competence, we summed up our recommendations:

  • Use scaffolding — for example, start with easier activities and then build on them
  • Show the consequence of the choice and offer constructive feedback, not the shaming red X and “Incorrect”
  • Don’t offer too-obvious options in a scenario — they insult people’s intelligence
  • Don’t obviously track people — it suggests, “We don’t trust you to learn anything”

I’d add that an intuitive interface also supports our need to feel competent, as do easy-to-use job aids and other support materials.


Finally, we looked at the need for relatedness. This was defined as a sense of belonging or connection with others, and feeling respected and cared for by the “teacher.”

The compliance-style activity was a little low on relatedness. However, even it managed to make us care a bit because we were trying to save a person with a name (Magda) rather than answering an abstract fact check.

The branching scenarios were rich in relatedness, and participants said they wanted to help Hana and didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of Ludo. We cared how our decisions affected people who we knew were completely fictional.

We decided that to support relatedness in our activities, we could:

  • Provide realistic characters with names
  • Create characters that aren’t perfect
  • Choose relatable situations that inspire empathy and that have emotional content
  • Have the learner collaborate with characters towards a goal
  • Choose a story that has the learner help others or be helped (or both)
  • Write realistic dialog (see some tips)

Relatable characters have names. Running out of name ideas? Try FakeNameGenerator, which creates names from all over the world (thanks, Amy, for finding that!). Another is uinames.com.

I’d also add that we can build relatedness by writing like a human being rather than a bureaucrat. You can even measure how human you sound, and contractions are your friend.

My thanks go out to all the participants, including the determined few in Australia who got up at 4 AM! Thanks for sharing your ideas, comments, and questions.

Scenario design course starts soon

If you like the discussion-rich approach I used in the webinar, you’ll like the scenario design course that starts in February. The groups are much smaller for more personal attention, and you get my private feedback on your work. Check it out!

Webinar: 3 ways to motivate learners

Let’s talk about motivation in a quick webinar on Tuesday, January 16. How can we help people feel respected, capable, and part of a community when they’re using our materials?

Three ingredients for motivation

unmotivated catOur job is to change what people do. However, we don’t want them to obey like robots — we want them to see why they should do it and happily incorporate the new behavior into their lives.

Research suggests that people are more motivated to do something if we satisfy their needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. How can we support those with some simple changes to our training design?

Join our 45-minute online discussion

Let’s get together online on Tuesday, January 16, to talk about how our activity design can help or hurt people’s willingness to act. We’ll meet for free at 12 PM EST / 5 PM GMT using Zoom, which requires you to download a small app. Sign up here (seats are limited).

In 45 lively minutes, we’ll look at elements such as:

  • Feedback: Avoid “telling” and preachiness — let them feel respected and capable of drawing the right conclusion; create relatedness by sounding like a friendly peer (here’s an example)
  • Information: Let people pull the information they need, when they need it; use scaffolding to increase difficulty — support their autonomy, let them build competence at their pace
  • “Voice” in elearning — How can we make lonely, self-paced activities feel more “human” to help people feel relatedness?

Come share your questions and ideas! This will be a discussion with lots of activity in the chat.

Check out these activities

Before the webinar, try the following activities and consider how they might help or hurt people’s sense of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. What works, and what doesn’t?

Consider submitting an activity or idea

Do you have some materials that could inspire discussion about motivation? Do you know about a public example that we could critique? Send them to me and maybe we’ll include them in the webinar. Obviously, you need to have permission to publicly show any materials that you send.

Maybe learn a bit about self-determination theory

The webinar is based on self-determination theory, which has been around for some time and appears to be supported by several studies. You might read this overview (PDF).

Can’t make the webinar?

Digital elves will be recording the session, and if they do their job right, I’ll post the recording on the blog. If you’re a blog subscriber, you’ll get a notification when the recording is available.

Vote for more topics

What would you like to talk about in future webinars or read about on the blog? Vote for others’ ideas or propose your own here. To add an idea, use the “Give feedback” button.

Dig deeper into activity design with the February scenario design course

The next scenario design course starts the week of Feb. 5. In four weeks of lively sessions, you’ll apply action mapping and scenario design to a project from your job and get personal feedback from me. There are online sessions for time zones in the Americas as well as Europe and South Asia. Check them out!

An Australia-friendly session of the course is tentatively scheduled for June. If you aren’t already on the alert list, sign up to be notified when the next course is open for registration.

Image credit: Unmotivated cat by katkabob

Launch of awareness eLearning program by SHE Teams Hyderabad City Police

To increase the horizon of training activities carried out by SHE Teams, an e-learning course/ online training has been initiated jointly by Swift elearning Services and Hyderabad City Police – SHE Teams with the sole purpose to raise public awareness on women safety among the citizens especially women. By adopting the online mode of training…

How can I motivate my learners?

A friend, Thomas, wrote me this morning asking this question – how can I motivate my learners? It’s an incredibly universal question. One that I have thought about quite a bit. I thought others might enjoy reading my reply – and it might make for an excellent conversation starter. It’s worth noting that we were talking about motivation in the specific context of learners using Adobe’s LMS (Adobe Captivate Prime.)  Below you’ll find my response:

1. Communicate relevance: Use the announcement system to invite people to explore a bit of content that benefits them. For example – a course designed to boost sales, or a common tech problem explained, perhaps some particularly video heavy or short form piece to start. You can also use alternative company channels to communicate the purpose / relevance of the training-  market your initiative based on it’s alignment to the company business objectives. Don’t be shy about branding it, and explaining how the project can help the organization meet important goals.

2. Use their desire to demonstrate mastery to supervisor and colleagues.  For example- use the gamification solution to award points for first to access content (You’ll find it on the instance of a course under gamification options – admin mode.) You can use the announcement system to notify them of the opportunity.  Publicly recognize those individuals that are doing training. Push messages via newsletters and your company website about recognition for achievements – even consider announcing when people achieve / master a given skill. Perhaps even recognize it with awards.

3. Craft the messaging as opportunities to get ahead, and invitations – rather than requirements. This one is a little counter-intuitive. Use the skill requirement engine to assign job appropriate skills to employees – but not specific courses. Ensure you message them about how to search for skill aligned content that will help them master the skill(s) that they have been assigned. Message about the importance of the skills you assigned – to the overall business strategy for the current quarter. This added sense of autonomy should encourage them to self-enroll.

What do you think? What methods are you using to motivate your learners? Have you got any success stories? Failures? Hot tips? Pitfalls?

Von Gamification zum systematischen Motivationsdesign mit kollaborativen und spielerischen Gestaltungselementen

Dieser Arbeitsbericht informiert einleitend über das Thema Gamification und den Forschungsstand. Da der Begriff “Gamification”, so die Autoren, häufig zu Missverständnissen führt, schlagen sie - mit Referenzen zur Selbstbestimmungstheorie von Richard M. Ryan und Edward L. Deci - vor, lieber von “Gameful Design bzw. von systematischem Motivationsdesign” zu sprechen. Anschließend werden zwei Gamification-Konzepte aus der eigenen Arbeits- bzw. Forschungspraxis ausführlich vorgestellt. In der Zusammenfassung werden noch einmal die wichtigsten Elemente eines systematischen Motivationsdesigns festgehalten:

1. Story/ Mission, Rollen und Ziele, 2. Herausforderungen (Challenges), 3. Dramaturgie, 4. Informationstransparenz, 5. (Echtzeit)Feedback, 6. Entscheidungsfreiheit (Freedom of choice), 7. Regeln (Spielmechanik)

“Dabei ist Gamification viel mehr als das Entwerfen von Spiel-Apps, das Vergeben von Punkten für alle möglichen Handlungen und das Führen von Ranglisten. Gameful Design beinhaltet ein strategie-basiertes und motivations-orientiertes Durchweben von Aktivitäten der Wertschöpfung mit (kollaborativen) spielerischen Gestaltungselementen.” (S. 62)
So verstandenes Gameful Design ist jedoch mit einem erheblichen Konzeptionsaufwand verbunden. Diese Botschaft zieht sich wie ein roter Faden durch den Arbeitsbericht.
Sabine Seufert, Leah Preisig, Joël Krapf & Christoph Meier, scil Arbeitsbericht Nr. 27, Februar 2017