How to Leverage Motivation in Your Learning Strategy

• 3 min read

Humans are simple beings.

If we can muster up enough motivation to do something – either with the reward of a special treat on the horizon, or simply because it takes us one step closer to reaching our goals – we get even the most dreaded things done.

Sometimes this can go ary – like when I bribe myself with a doughnut if I get through another spin class – but, if we nurture this motivation and connect it to our end goals, we achieve better results.

In the learning sphere, spurring the motivation to engage has to be part of your enterprise learning strategy if you want to see more consistent and better quality results.

But what type of motivational tactics should we lean upon in our learning strategy?

To help us with this, let’s break down the two main types of motivation and how to use them:

Extrinsic motivation:
Refers to external motivational techniques such as earning badges, money, food (my doughnut reward), or a fear of being seen as a failure or receiving punishment for not completing a task.

Intrinsic motivation:
This refers to internal motivations such as autonomy, the satisfaction of becoming a master in a related field, a natural curiosity and love of the topic, and driving meaning from your achievements.

Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Motivation Strategies

Extrinsic motivators work best with simple and clear tasks.

A learner could receive a reward, such as a badge, after accomplishing a specific task, or get a penalty when an assignment is not submitted as requested.

But if you want your learner to complete a complex task, such as problem solving, you need to promote learner autonomy and curiosity.

Something important to note is that the usage of extrinsic motivators in learning strategies works equally for all learners – so no need to customize your programs for individual learners.

In contrast, intrinsic motivators depend on each individual, so more personalization would be required to reach the same outcome.

Despite the disparity, the boundaries between intrinsic and extrinsic motivators are not so cut and dry.

A good example of this is if a learner shared their achievement badges (extrinsic motivator) with colleagues through a social network, they would be doing something that gives them a sense of satisfaction (intrinsic motivator).

With intrinsic motivators tending to be longer-lasting than extrinsic motivators, we need to focus on a strategy that incorporates both at the appropriate times and promotes greater buy-in to the learning process.

The Use Of Technology As Motivators

Technology has the power to amplify your motivation strategy, but technology alone should not be relied upon to be the sole source of motivation.

For example, smartphones are intrinsically linked to enjoyment, but the activation of mobile learning alone cannot be used as a motivator.

Gamification is a common motivation tool in digital learning and includes some of the most common extrinsic motivators, such as the use of competition, badges management, and point systems.

Despite these technologies, it’s important to realize that people are motivated by different things, at different times, and in different ways, so be careful not to misuse these tactics.

When designing your enterprise learning strategy, be sure to have a clear picture of the types of motivators you can use depending on the nature of the learning task, demographic, and individual learning style.

Cultivating A Sense Of Pride In Learning

Digital learning naturally aligns itself to intrinsic motivation, especially with some learning platforms able to provide learners with the autonomy to choose what courses they want to take, and decide when & where to take them. With extrinsic motivators acting as easy to add-ons, you can create an all-encompassing motivational strategy.

When Artificial Intelligence is added into the mix, the learning experience can be tailored specifically to each learner with personalized course recommendations. Now, learners will see that courses have been selected for them based on their unique knowledge gaps, which helps motivate them to level-up their expertise.

By incorporating activities based on individual learning styles, you can add a sense of motivation, increase engagement, and eventually see greater learning success.

Cultivating a sense of pride in learning is the key to a successful continuous learning cycle, and will ultimately increase engagement and business impact.

Find the right balance of motivators and encourage your learners to grow professionally with the help of an award-winning Learning Platform.

Discover how Docebo can help to enable and motivate your learners – start a free 14-day trial today!