Week 5 Blog: Motivation

Infographic Project Update

I was recently accepted as a volunteer participant in a project with Designers for Learning, a non-profit described to me at AECT’s annual convention by founder Jen Maddrell as “the match.com for instructional designers and projects in need.” My interest in the project stems from its objective of “mining and mapping existing open educational resources to the 2013 College and Career Readiness Standards” and “preparing a written report that identifies existing open educational resources that align with the standards for both English language arts and literature, as well as mathematics” (Designers for Learning, 2014, par. 2). My background in directing college programs for at-risk learners as well as ID work in mining and developing open OER courses brings these two passions of mine together in a way I’ve never experience before in my work. Thus, my infographic work for this class certainly feeds needs for the project’s partner, Grace Centers for Hope, and I see the infographic adding another dimension to the text report I’ll be writing for the volunteer project.  I see the final product assisting high school and first-year seminar faculty. I’m excited to apply the working knowledge and products from this class directly to this project as well as my start-up work.

Some of my issues with the infographic project are:

-deciding the interactive element of the infographic is beyond the scope of this project (as well as my resources)

Professor Myers was right in saying it was not clear in my paper and pen example how the interactivity of the infographic will work.  Part of my thinking last week was the software and my capability will drive this, but now that the infographic is actually due in just a few days, and as good practice not to jump too far ahead in my infographic zeal, I’ve decided to create a static non-interactive infographic so I meet the goals of the project first.

I’ve thought more about my idea of interactivity with this infographic and my initial idea was to create links to OER, but this really isn’t what an interactive infographic is all about – those infographics have the user manipulate the data itself, and the goal of this project is informing about OER to make it more adoptable by the viewer.

Now that I’ve thought more about what interactivity really means to my goal, I convinced it would  require the backing of some grant dollars and software developers: picture a DIY to OER adoption where the user creates an OER course via a “choose your own adventure” idea beginning with selecting the subject, course, course outcomes, module outcomes, OER content, OER assessments and then the final click packages the course as common cartridge file compatible with any LMS (yes, I dream big and know this is highly not even possible).  In essence, the faculty builds a blueprint for their course based on backwards design principles.  This idea is NOT going to happen with this infographic project for the idea is not an infographic anyway!  I’ll keep exploring this on my own.

-maintaining the LATCH principles of Category and Alphabetical

Professor Myers mentioned the alphabetical principle of LATCH was not visible in my paper and pen version of my infographic and my intent in the listings of the courses with the OER was alphabetizing, although I didn’t do this in the paper and pen version since it was a working idea.  I have encountered problems with how best to organize the subjects of OER groupings: do I drill down to the “genus species” of the classification system (the course), such as Introduction to Psychology, or do I organize by the “order/family” of course, like Behavioral Science?  I’m still not 100% sure about this yet.  I like the latter given it seems to emulate what a faculty member would encounter in a college catalog and would offer a simpler approach of organizing.  By course title organization, I’m afraid it would be cluttered given some courses might have the title “Introduction to…” and others “Principles of…” – I’d rather not worry about semantics and focus on streamlining.

-merging the two sketch ideas

The first sketch was my initial attempt at organizing my ideas about the infographic.  It allowed the mining theme to be born and explored ways I might have the user interact with the infographic, such as with the wheel.  The second attempt explored the theme, which I think works for this idea, and I like Professor Myers’s idea about creating a pie chart of percentages about the 500+ Creative Common items in existence today.  This addresses my worry about not having enough – or any for that matter – statistical/chart-y information typical of infographics.

I do plan to include the most restrictive to least restrictive CC license graphic pulled from a presentation from Cable Green (2013, sl. 15):

I’ll cull more OER slides and pull some interesting stats into the infographic.  It also offers a way for the viewer to gain insight into the current leaders in the OER field: David Wiley, Cable Green, Kim Thanos, Stephen Downes, David Lippman, James Sousa, Nicole Allen…maybe it would be interesting to develop a chart in a mining cave with these people and their association to the OER world?

-communicating the goals and purpose (and most importantly developing a process in the infographic for mining OER)

I most appreciated Professor Myers’s advice in using text over graphics for the definition and developing my idea of a procedure for mining OER, which is exactly what I was aiming for in my gut, but precisely what I had missed in my planning.  I like the idea of the branching tunnels for the mining.  I thought more about his question: “what is that information and how can it be displayed as visually as possible?”  The information would be the best of existing OER grouped by subject and the visual display would be using CC BY icons from the The Noun Project to represent the different subjects/course materials (plus the graphics would match my mining theme ideas of clean silhouettes) as well as the icons from the OER developer, such as Saylor, Boundless, OpenStax, etc.

Thank you, Professor Myers, for the infographic feedback this week.  It definitely offered more direction in my planning.

Major-project

We did not meet this week about our major project given we submitted the proposal and are waiting feedback.

Self-Study

I pushed onward with the lynda.com and reviewed portions of Creating Infographics with Illustrator to gain some insight into creating custom charts and layers.  I must admit the lynda.com tutorials are great and although I’m thankful my subscription is included in my IU tuition, of course I wish they were openly licensed.

Weekly Readings

It is appropriate the weekly readings focused on motivation this week…I found myself wishing I had more of it juggling this intense week!

Keller and Burkman (1993)

I found the Keller and Burkman reading to be of personal interest given my struggle at this time with my current conundrum in what to do about my children’s preschool.  They are currently attending a Montessori school an hour from our rural home and the commute is taxing on both my kids, my schedule and the family that helps.  I’m considering alternatives for next year, but am torn about the philosophy of education since Montessori schooling is more concerned with students developing their intrinsic motivation to love learning versus academic achievement – not that the latter isn’t important, but the logic is if one loves learning, then academic achievement will follow.  I agree with this philosophy and am not sure how the public and parochial schools (which are my other choices) embrace this philosophy…and my personal experiences with schools as both a substitute, high school teacher, and even in higher ed have focused on the bottom lines: standardized test scores and retention – not developing a love for learning.  Dr. Montessori understood the concept of motivation and its impact on learning – yet it’s interesting to me that although I feel this concept makes sense, but in my teacher prep programs in both undergraduate and graduate levels, the focus on outcomes-based learning was there, but the focus on motivation was limited.  As Keller and Burkman discuss, “The motivation to learn depends largely on the learner’s personality, the nature of the thing or skill to be learned, and the learner’s perceptions of the value and difficulty of learning it” (p. 4).  I am surprised that as much as I have been exposed to the motivation concept in this IST program, it is not yet naturally ingrained in my application-at-work process.  I know I need to develop this more, especially with reference to variation and curiosity (p. 6) and positive outcomes (p. 22).  My consistent approach to developing course materials that make sense to the learner at times approaches a fill-in-the-blank swap out approach of content with the intent to make it easy for the instructor to swap out materials but I fear the result is boring the learner.  This is a fine-line to walk.

Foshay, Silber, and Stelnnicki (2003)

The Cognitive Training Model presented in this reading helped me think more about the field of instructional design beyond the scope of academics.  I think it’s easy to take for granted the base fact that higher ed students are motivated because of an array of reasons beyond instruction: scholarships, GPA, family, friends, coaches, and ultimately being responsible for paying for college may impact a learner’s motivation beyond the scope of the classroom learning environment.  Faculty certainly need to keep attention, WIIFM, and YCDI and the cues and signals for the most important information in their planning process, but I do wonder how many higher ed faculty actually do it.  I remember these courses from my training in the education discipline, but have not seen this in other courses of disciplines I’ve been interested in pursuing, such as Literature and Creative Writing.  These fields seem to focus on the discipline itself and not on how best to teach the discipline – let alone focus on student motivation – to college attendees.  In Beyond the Rhetoric: Improving College Readiness Through a Coherent State Policy published by The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education (2010), there exists a gap between what high schools teach and what colleges expect, and since expectations are not in sync, I would imagine that ways of encouraging motivation are not either.  The model suggestions on p. 29 would benefit higher ed faculty in their planning, and I’m certain my collaborators in the major group project will revisit these elements in our development of the instructional materials. I appreciate how the author’s contrast their work with Gagne’s and find these differences important in the application of the model to IST.

Malone (1981)

I enjoyed the Malone text and thought about how my preschool aged children learn and how my college aged students continue to learn.  The idea of using a game to deliver content is a given, but the idea of using a game to develop intrinsic motivation was only obvious when I read about it.  Equating fun and learning for the preschool child makes sense, but embracing that theory for a college-aged learner – including non-traditional learners and those in the workplace – is compelling.  I’m not sure I’ve ever had anyone in higher ed even talk about this as a motivational tool.  What’s happened? I agree with Malone that an “overpowering factor that has been largely neglected…is the role of motivation in learning” (p. 334) and even more how external reinforcement “destroys the intrinsic motivation a person has to engage in an activity” (p. 335).  This language bothered my teacher-soul for as much as I hate to admit it, the external reinforcement of “a bad grade” is likely what sucks the fun out of learning in the first place.  The use of games by employing a “die and try again” vision makes sense especially when married with the theories of “challenge, fantasy, and curiosity” (p. 335).  I liken my younger days of playing the original Nintendo Legend of Zelda for days on end similar to writing college papers for my undergrad English courses: I loved the challenge, explored the fantasy, and satiated my curiosity to learn and grow more.  This is what learning is and should be about: not fearing a poor grade.  I know there has been much in the last three decades since the Malone text was published about game-based learning and motivation (a Google searched returned 24,900,000 results) but the overall take-away is still relevant.

Keller, J. M. & Burkman, E. (1993). Motivation principles. In M. Fleming & W. H. Levie (Eds.) Instructional message design: Principles from the behavioral and cognitive sciences. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Educational Technology Press

Foshay, W. R., Silber, K. H., & Stelnnicki, M. B. (2003). A cognitive training model. In Writing training materials that work: How to train anyone to do anything. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Peiffer

Malone, T. W. (1981). Toward a theory of intrinsically motivating instruction. Cognitive Science, 5(4), 333-369. [Read 333-340]

Image credit: Author Cable Green, Source WA K-12 OER (2013) via SlideShare link http://www.slideshare.net/cgreen/wa-k12-oer-2013, License Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

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