Motivational Strategies


I think every educator knows the challenge of stimulating and sustaining leaner motivation and the difficulty of finding reliable and valid methods for motivating learners. In digital world, technology is making rapid progress reslising the personalised learning dream with adaptive learning technology. Such as Codecademy and Khan Academy as “the future of learning”, these learning platforms primarily offer learners with most up- -to-date content and problems, learning experiences has been placed more emphasis on problem-based adaptive learning rather than top-down content orientated structure.

Last year, I started to try to learn to code, since coding is the 21st century literacy and I am working in the digital field, I should learn some basic coding, so I started my learning with Codecademy. Since I’ve never taken a class or never read a “How To” book for coding, I found the learning program with Codecademy was quite an interesting one. I first started with an intention of learning codes, and ended up with the pursuit of knowledge about programming, as well as with the pursuit of those creative learning badges.  I actually think that the badges are a fantastic idea. Yes, the “love of learning” should be enough of a motivator, but the sad truth is that it isn’t. Social badges integrating into learning totally fits the gamification trend. People tend to compete for badges, whether they be sports trophies, post counts or website hits we all want to be able to show that we were able to do something.

That functionality taps into the some of the basest parts of the human mind, we love to acquire anything that is shiny and new, and for those that never gained a love of learning when they were young using something that we as a species find addicting can actually begin the process of instilling that love.

Keller (1987) breaks each of the four ARCS components down into three strategy sub-components. The strategy sub-components and instructionally relevant examples are shown below.

The design process includes these:

  • Knowing and identifying the elements of human motivation,
  • Analyzing audience characteristics to determine motivational requirements,
  • Identifying characteristics of instructional materials and processes that stimulate motivation,
  • Selecting appropriate motivational tactics, and
  • Applying and evaluating appropriate tactics.

I do not think that many developers of the Codecademy would know much about the Keller’s ARCS components, but I reckon a lot of learners whom have tried to learn coding were sharing the same problems – we wanted to learn but have no engagement or incentives to retain ourselves with the dry knowledge. I wouldn’t say the Codecademy learning is effective, since I almost forgot all of the codes I have learnt from the HTML5 course, but I really like the experiences I had for those couple of months, I was starting my class with similar enthusiasts like me and we’ve encountered the same problems, and discussed then solved them to gain our points. Some enthusiast determine to mastering what they’ve learnt, and me just for fun and the taste of community learning. But the skills of communcation, teamwork, project management and engagement were the instrinsic values of the course.


Keller, J. M. 1987b). “The Systematic Process of Motivational Design.” Performance &
Instruction, 26(9), 1-8.


One thought on “Motivational Strategies

  1. As I was reading your post, I could not help myself link the functionality of Codecademy with the “Enlightoons” carton you have posted at the top. Yes, that’s what Codecademy does very well from my experience. I have done evaluation report of Codecademy for an assignment and for that I have been asking my uni friends to use it to evaluate, and many enjoy Codecademy so much that they even forget about the evaluation task. Developers might not be referring to ARC model as you suggested, but these developers and designers have very well implemented features that assist individual learning of programming in Codecademy. I thought the interactive guidance they provide was really Web2.0 like.
    Looking at checklist like this can give more insight into what these developers and designers care in creating elearning environment which keeps evolving.

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