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formal learning and motivation

on April 22nd, 2010 at 9:22:36 PM

Trying to distill some of my thoughts and notes after DrupalCon. I'm sitting here in the coder sprint at SFSU, but I have to get these ideas out of my head!

Had an excellent convo with Jeff Beeman from ASU where we hashed some of these ideas out. Excellent #lrnchat today on informal & formal learning got me thinking.See a transcript of this chat.

Educators, especially ones focusing on adult education (Andragogy) talk alot about motivation. Self-directed learners in the Drupal community who attend local user groups, conferences, and even participate on the forums are intrinsically motivated. Learning itself is satisfying.

However, there are others who may be extrinsically motivated. Jacob Reddin from Chapter Three talked about training people for whom Drupal is their "day job". For example, if management made a strategic move to Drupal, developers familiar with .Net or a custom CMS could find themselves disorientated.

For them, their motivation is keeping their job. This is an example of extrinsic motivation. It's plainly a difference in focus. These types of learners may also experience frustration, distraction and exhibit low-motivation for the task of learning.

Some trainers on the Training panel suspected many of their training participants are on Facebook, email, etc. And as Jacob pointed out to me: They're professionals, they're adults, we can't be telling them what to do. They have jobs.

But I think we can create learning opportunities to help increase their focus and motivation. I heard a great quote today about the difference between informal learning and formal learning:

petersonandrew lrnchat

To extend that metaphor, are there ways we can increase one's appetite for learning? This is a huge area of research, and I think we can apply some new techniques to make learning Drupal in a formal training situation fun, engaging, relevant and "appetizing".

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