© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
What am I going to talk about?
“What is motivation?” – motivation inside
and out
“Motivation is so yesterday” – enter
‘shovelware’
“A tour of motivation” – a tour of theory
and software
“Did it work?” – results of the study
Conclusion – summary and Q & A
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Part I: “What is motivation?”
motivation inside and out
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
“The great disclaimer”
One possible definition of motivation: “a
general cover term – a dustbin – to
include a number of possibly distinct
concepts, each of which may have
different origins and different effects and
require different classroom treatment”
(McDonough, 1981).
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Two types of motivation
Motivation is what makes you want to do
something to begin with.
Intrinsic motivation: “energy called forth by
the circumstances that connect with what is
culturally significant to the individual”.
Internal drivers: curiosity, personal goals, fun, etc.
Extrinsic motivation: “performing a behavior
to attain a specific reward”.
External drivers: prizes, grades, money, etc.
(Saadé, He, & Kira, 2005)
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Motivation and a whole different
animal
There are many theories on and gurus of
motivation in the fields of education/ESL (and
other fields too!).
But software is a “whole different animal”.
There is no physical environment. NO:
Teachers
Students
Grades and/or parents (in most cases)
So the real question is: “How do we
motivate people aside from adjusting
these factors?”
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Part II: “Motivation is so
yesterday”
enter shovelware
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Motivation, that is so yesterday.
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Enter “Shovelware”
“Virtually all of the instructional efforts on the Web are simply the
delivery of shovelware….What pedagogical value is added if we
merely distribute virtually the same course resources through a
computer rather than, say, on paper? That sort of unimaginative
computerization is….warmed over, insipid, pedagogically
pointless”. (Fraser, 1999)
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
So what do we have?
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Part III: Tour of Motivation
a tour of theory and software
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
So where to gain information?
Through the lenses of varied
disciplines!
We looked to other fields to get ideas how to
foster intrinsic motivation - encourage a sense of
fun, humour, and curiosity.
Psychology and theories of motivation
Usability Studies (Computing)
Humor as studied by philosophy and
organizational behaviour/psychology
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Stop One: Psychology and theories
of motivation
As aforementioned, we can assume that most
learners begin using software with at least some
degree of intrinsic motivation. So how can feed
intrinsic motivation?
Catch their attention. We have to get their attention
before we can hold it.
Graphics, descriptions, advertising.
Hold their attention. We have to give the
information we present meaning via personal
application.
Active, not passive information distribution. Games, engaging
exercises, interaction (Durik & Harackiewicz, 2007)
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
catch
Stop Two: Usability and Computing
Studies
The first concept from usability is flow: A state in which
“people’s minds are captured; they are immersed in
activity; they feel of sense of exhilaration and
enjoyment…and accomplishment”.
Can be experienced regardless of cultural background.
Activities that proceed flow need to be relevant.
Structure important, but so is control.
Challenging (i.e. there must be a balance between anxiety and
boredom – not too hard, not too easy).
Software is an ideal medium to promote flow…students
can choose their activities and customize them in a
structured environment. Good software is also adaptive
to students abilities (Sedig, 2007).
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Stop Two: Usability and Computing
Studies cont’d
The second concept is lost in
hyperspace. Studies have shown that
many learners have a hard time organizing
their learning activities using traditional
webpages. They click and skip through
pages without regard for their semantic or
logical relations (Narciss, et al., 2007).
Which is not surprising, everyone “surfs the
web” which is by definition, meandering.
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
promotes flow and prevents “lost in hyperspace”
The Final Stop: Humour
Verbal humor, because of its plays-onwords and culturally-loaded content, can
sometimes be inaccessible to learners
(without the teacher giving
background/explaining)
Clever pictures and certain types of comic
strips can sometimes reach learners better
than verbal humour can (Berwald, 1992).
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
The Final Stop: Humor cont’d
The use of satire and sarcasm can
sometimes be problematic as ESL
speakers sometimes are unsure whether a
remark/quip is to be taken with humour or
not (Banitz, 2005).
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
The Final Stop: Humor cont’d
When we try to see how humour could
work in a cross-cultural context, we have
to realize we are dealing with cultural
norms. Everyone has ideas of what
should happen in the specific situation.
Humour plays off those assumptions
(Cooper et al., 2007).
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
catch
Home? Or to the shoe store?
The Final Stop: Humor cont’d
It has been well documented in communicative learning
theory (CLT) that not all students feel that learning
should be fun and interactive. Many think learning only
happens via drills and the like (Defeng, 1998).
People have been learning languages such the beginning of
time; many cultures have had many different ideas about how
best to get the job done – some of these ideas worked quite
well (Savignon, 2001). We need to be sensitive to that, and not
push any one way so much that it excludes other learning styles.
After all, next year, something else new and improved is sure to
come out.
In the end, we decided pictures and subtle jokes were the way
to go, because if you don’t like them, they are not an integral
part of the program. We tried to make sure that our attempts at
humour would be non-offensive (if not funny). But of course,
no humour or fun is devoid of culture.
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Waiting for
Dentist
Part IV: “Did it work?”
Results of the study
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
A tale of two research projects
This spring we started a study using two
versions of the software: a “fun” one and a
“dull” one. We wanted to find out which people
would like better.
That FLOPPED. Miserably.
We felt, that in the end, we were getting only the
“best” answers on our surveys.
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Sample excerpts from the survey
instructions
“We are trying to find out what people
would like”.
“We expect to receive negative feedback
some of the time”.
“We will not be surprised or offended if
you actually dislike the software”.
“Please don’t just circle the ‘best’ answer”.
“Tell us what you really think”.
Etc., etc., etc.
Sample excerpts from the survey
responses
Q: “How would you rate _____?”
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Research Question
We still needed to find out:
“Does our attempt at making software fun
(via games, graphics, and quizzes) motivate
people?” As evidenced by:
Do they like using it?
Do they find it interesting/intriguing?
Do they think it is fun?
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Distress to delight: The improved
research design
After getting nowhere with the previous
design – we decided to do something
novel: talk to people.
Friends
Workmates
Family
Acquaintances
If you knew anyone involved in AccentSchool,
you were a likely “victim”.
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Distress to delight: The improved
research design cont’d
We decided that the following methods of
communication were OK:
Email
In-person interviews
Notes given to us by the user about the user’s
experience
Observations of others who watched the user
use AccentSchool (spouses, partners, etc.
with the subject’s permission)
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Basis for the design
CALL (computer assisted language
learning) is a notoriously difficult beast to
research.
Johnson (1992) outlines a multi-faceted
qualitative approach in her book,
Approaches to Research in Second
Language Learning.
She was researching the effectiveness of SLA
software in NY schools.
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Basis for the design cont’d
Here’s quote from the article “SLA
Property: No trespassing” (Firth and
Wagner, 1998):
“SLA [Second Language Acquisition] has
collected data mainly in lab-like
situations. There is reason to believe that
this quasi-experimental situation triggers
a certain set of interactional activities
which…have been shown to occur
systematically in a large number or
studies…our conclusion is that
experimental elicited data may provoke
the nonnative speaker into acting as an
interactional guinea pig….We are
astonished that SLA research has, in
general, resisted data types from a
variety of mundane everyday, or
professional social contexts”.
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Results of the newly-minted
qualitative research
People liked the graphics.
Out of the 10 people we talked to, everyone
liked the graphics.
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Results of the newly-minted
qualitative research
People were not put off if they didn’t get
the joke.
Most people didn’t understand certain
attempts at humour, but they just overlooked
these parts.
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Results of the newly-minted
qualitative research
People liked the quizzes and games.
The quiz format seemed to keep people
engaged. People wanted to see “what’s next”.
However, 2 out of 10 people felt that we should
just tell them straight-away.
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Fun
People were motivated by the fact that is
was fun.
“I want a copy”.
“She really enjoyed the cats”.
“I liked the cats”.
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Limitations
Content and student attitudes also played a role in how
students felt about the software (our linguist presented
this part of our study in a separate presentation).
Our sample was not random – we talked to a lot friends
(but tried make the results more meaningful by asking
open-ended questions and talking to observers)
This study is not meant to be taken quantitatively or as a
statistical measure. It is a glimpse into the opinions of
some users.
However, it hints that we may be on to something
– that students may be motivated by a lighter
approach.
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Future Research Angles
How much does fun influence what a learner retains
when using learnware?
How much does fun influence how much a time a
learner spends doing a voluntary e-learning activity?
What types of fun are most effective at encouraging
students to spend time using learnware?
Games, graphics development, etc is very resource intensive due
to the fact that it is often separated from content development.
Some students may subconsciously be engaged by “nice” looking
learnware, but they may not feel games are real learning
activities.
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Future Research Designs cont’d
Click patterns: Electronic media gives us the
ability to objectively measure how users react by
statistically analyzing their click patterns (i.e.,
what did they click on, how long did they look at
a page, when did they exit a site, etc).
We would like to do a controlled, comparative
study with two software versions (one “fun” and
one “dull”) of and quantitatively compare the
click patterns and the time students spend
looking at various pages.
Surveys did not prove useful for this type of study.
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Part IV: Conclusion
summary and Q & A
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Summary
Qualitatively speaking, People seemed to
be motivated by our attempts at humour.
More research, particularly quantitative,
controlled research, is needed.
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
Any questions or comments?
Contact us:
Visit our site: www.accentschool.com
Email us: [email protected]
© 2007 ASLI, inc
www.accentschool.com.
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Would humour motivate students to use ESL software?