Monday, 6 May 2013

On motivation, and more on the MOOC

It's a long weekend here in the UK and my parents are down visiting. They decided to use this trip to present me with a folder full of school reports, including this charming self portrait:



It forms part of a junior school record of achievement, where I was asked many questions: what was important to me, from friends to family, to how I rated my ability to work alone or in groups, what skills I thought I had, and what targets I was setting myself for senior school. It was basically a personality profile done way before I knew what one of those was. Impressive really, looking back!

What struck me was what it asked in order to identify drivers and motivators. And what was even more interesting is how what I recorded about myself as an eleven year old hasn't really altered all that much.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm in the final stages now of a Gamification course (my first MOOC). One of the key things I've been learning about has been motivation. What makes gamification particuarly worthwhile is its ability to take something otherwise dull or mundane and making it fun. Kevin Werbach's course neatly applies the principals of psychology, understanding what drives motivation, to creating game structures, whether that be external drivers, like points or badges, or intrinsic motivators like the desire to do something for others, or being part of something bigger than yourself.

What I identified about myself aged eleven was that I really hated not understanding something - I wanted to get it straight away, and even now I find it difficult being put on the spot and will spend hours preparing myself and knowing every minutiae about a subject when it's important (a typical introvert response). I also identified that I felt good learning new things. That is something that stays true now, and is one of the biggest drivers for me professionally. I like being challenged, and will go out of my way to find opportunities to increase my skill-set. I'm hungry for new information and am inspired by reading around subjects that stretch my understanding of business and communication. That's really what prompted me to sign up for the Gamification MOOC in the first place.

It makes me wonder what research has been done about the setting of motivators and the application of that knowledge for business. Definitely one to do some more reading around.