Motivation in Education: Confidence

Professor and Student at Computer
This royalty free image comes from Rowan University Publication on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/j3d4fF

Throughout this series, we’ve explored the four components of Keller’s ARCS Model for Motivation: attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction.

In my last post, I discussed practical ways to motivate your students by making your course content relevant to them in and outside of the classroom.

Today we will look at ways you can motivate your students by boosting their confidence.

In her article, Miller (2015) asserts that “students with self-confidence pay more attention in class, get along better with their peers and generally have a more focused and inquisitive attitude.” She offers creative strategies to improve students’ confidence in face-to-face, online, and blended learning environments:

  • Provide positive feedback when appropriate.
  • Give only genuine praise.
  • Set realistic goals.
  • Provide opportunities for equal participation.
  • Create an open, positive environment for learning.
  • Show enthusiasm for the subject you’re teaching and for your students’ success.

Some other strategies to increase and maintain students’ motivation in the area of confidence include: “making expectations and assignments clear, and making sure students know they can ask questions” (Chesebro & McCroskey, 2002, p. 90).

In both undergrad and graduate school, the enthusiasm and passion of my two favorite communication professors sparked the same enthusiasm and passion in me—not only for the subjects they taught but also to learn and do well in their classes.

My undergraduate professor’s enthusiasm and passion for the fight against human trafficking opened my eyes to this horrible injustice. Our class discussions challenged and inspired me to do all I can to spread awareness and join the fight myself.

My graduate professor’s enthusiasm for the infamous film, The Sound of Music (1965) allowed me to see and appreciate the film and story in a whole new way. Now, I catch myself using the same methods he taught us to notice the cinematic detail in other films, allowing me to appreciate the power of this form of storytelling even more.

In both cases, my new-found passion and enthusiasm increased my confidence in what I learned—directly increasing and maintaining my motivation to learn

In the final post in this series, we will discover the final component in Keller’s ARCS Model for Motivation: Satisfaction.

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References:

Chesebro, J. L., & McCroskey, J. C. (Eds.). (2002). Communication for teachers. Pearson.

Miller, A. (2015, October 23). How to build a student’s self confidence. Retrieved from Live Strong website: http://www.livestrong.com/article/188430-how-to-build-a-students-self-confidence/

From On Air to Online

When you were a kid, what were some of your favorite games and activities? Oftentimes, insight into a child’s future career can be gained by watching how they play.

One of my favorite “toys” as a kid was my family’s handy-dandy cassette recorder. Although now archaic, it was cutting edge in the 70s. My love for recording began at age three, as I unashamedly performed such songs as “Happy Birthday” and “Old Susanna.” As I got older, I started putting together my own radio shows, which I thought were genius works of comedy.

So, how did this childhood interest translate into a career? I became a professional broadcaster.

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This royalty free image comes from pexels.com.

Wait, what?

Yes, it’s true. For the first twenty-plus years of my adult life, I worked in radio. I’ve hosted music shows, served as a reporter and news anchor, conducted interviews, and scripted more commercials than I can count. I have even taught audio production and broadcasting courses at the college level. Those childhood interests really were a forecasting of my future.

Fast forward to my current career as an instructional designer. How does my broadcasting background mesh with eLearning? Surprisingly, in many ways. Here’s what instructional design can learn from the world of broadcasting:

Brevity 

Rule of Radio: Take the First Exit

I was mentored by a talent coach who encouraged me to “Take the First Exit” when communicating an idea on the air. Put simply, don’t overwhelm your audience with verbosity. Take the shortest route to the destination by stating information concisely.

Instructional Design Takeaway: Avoid Unnecessary Content

Cognitive load theory contends that extraneous material can inhibit learning. After all, the human mind can only handle a limited amount of information at once. Clark, Nguyen, and Sweller (2011) argue that eliminating non-essential content from the learning environment will result in faster and better learning.

Priming

Rule of Radio: Prepare Your Audience for What’s Coming Up

Good radio hosts tease what lies ahead. For example, “Stay tuned for your opportunity to win concert tickets right after this song.” This builds anticipation and keeps listeners engaged.

Instructional Design Lesson: Prepare Your Students for Learning

Have a new concept to introduce to the class? Use scaffolding to sufficiently support the learner. According to Chen (2014), this will promote engagement in the task as well as achievement of the learning outcome.

Clarity

Rule of Radio: One Thought Per Break

On-air personalities report the news, share humorous anecdotes, give prizes away, and more. However, they don’t do it all in one announce break. Rambling on and on will cause the listener to tune out.

Instructional Design Lesson: “Chunk” Your Material

Chunking refers to breaking down large amounts of content into smaller “bite-sized” pieces. As you do so, be sure to cut out extraneous information. According to Pappas (2013), staying on topic is one of the most challenging aspects of content chunking.

Looking at the elements above, we see a common thread: avoid information overload. Whether it’s a radio listener or an online learner, simplicity is the key to engaging your audience. Have any of your former jobs prepared you for the world of online learning? Have any of your childhood dreams become reality through instructional design? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

author-michelle

References

Chen, S. (2007). Instructional Design Strategies for Intensive Online Courses: An Objectivist – Constructivist Blended Approach. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 6(1), 72-86.

Clark, R. C., Nguyen, F., & Sweller, J. (2011). Efficiency in Learning: Evidence-Based Guidelines to Manage Cognitive Load. Somerset: Wiley.

Pappas, C. (2016, August 18). 6 eLearning Content Chunking Strategies to Apply In Instructional Design. Retrieved September 06, 2017, from https://elearningindustry.com/elearning-content-chunking-strategies-apply-instructional-design

Wright, B. (2017, August 06). Take the First Exit. Retrieved September 06, 2017, from http://www.hisair.net/brian-wright-take-first-exit/.