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Examining motivation in online distance learning environments: Complex, multifaceted and situation-dependent

Ning Workshop - Oct2009Image by hazelowendmc via Flickr
This presentation by Maggie Hartnett who described some of the findings from existing research into motivation in online environments. There have been two main methods of research in online environments, one of which is a trait-like model that looks at motivation as something that does not really change, and is a characteristic of a learner, thereby it is linked to intrinsic motivation. The second view sees the design of an online environment as a way of creating learner motivation, and thus tends toward a notion of extrinsic motivation. Maggie pointed out that neither of these approaches allows for social learning and the building or relationships within online learning environments.

Maggie gave a description of her research that she has been conducting as part of her PhD thesis and findings to date (and used some audio from interviews with students from the case studies that Maggie). Her findings so far suggest that learner motivation in these environments is complex, and learners were not primarily intrinsically motivated, but rather was related to situational conditions and was multifaceted in nature.
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