Learning Motivators

In order for students to have agency and to be fully engaged as authors of their own learning journey, there must not only be purpose – a reason for the learning – but also the motivation to learn, that emotion which ignites action.

Learning is difficult without motivation. Unfortunately, far too often, fear has been used as the prime motivator. Or should we call it a manipulator?

Fear of failure, fear of rejection. Shame.

In The Dayton Practice students are being inspired by a different set of motivators that created Joyful Sandboxes. The Dayton teachers have found that there are three primary types of motivators for their students: * Curiosity * Creativity * Competition

Some students are motivated to do the sprint by their **innate curiosity** about the topics. Curiosity is the most powerful motivator for life-long learning.

But many students, given their past academic experiences, struggle to tap into their curiosity. They often lack the confidence and courage to walk into the unknown. For them, other learning motivators are needed.

For some students, this motivation might come from their **desire to create** something.

For other students, motivation can come from a **sense of competition**.

Students who are motivated by curiosity, tend to enjoy the Rabbit Hole Research part of the learning sprint.

Those students who are motivated by their desire to make something, tend to enjoy most the creating phase of the process.

And those who are motivated by competition tend to enjoy the In & Out Demo, particularly the prospect of winning the daVinci award, a recognition given to the best presentation at the end of each sprint cycle.

While students tend to enjoy one phase more than others, they are willing to do all three as they realize that by doing the other two, they can have the opportunity to do that phase they most enjoy.

Interestingly, Dayton teachers noticed that students who tended to struggle in traditional classrooms were often most inspired to learn by the creativity phase of the sprint.

They would, for instance, be willing to research, synthesize, write and ultimately share their learning with others if that allowed them to get out to the shop and get their hands dirty making something.

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