Introduction: Challenge of motivation in e-learning

“The problem with e-learning isn’t e-learning; it’s motivation”. By definition e-learning offers the learner more freedom of choice in terms of when and what to learn. In comparison with traditional courses the facilitator has less control. For the learners it means that with greater freedom comes greater responsibility for organising their own learning process and not everyone finds it easy.

Motivation is often the driving force that keeps students constantly working hard when subject matter becomes monotonous and boring. Already at the begining of the course different participants are motivated by different things, both internally and externally. And the level of their motivation will be changing as the course progresses. On one hand it may depend on the actions of the facilitators, on the other it may depend on the preferences and decisions of the course participants. Loss of motivation can make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to complete any education program. We constantly need to strive to keep the motivation high among the course participants. And it is one of the main tasks of the course facilitator.

Demotivating factors

Our experience shows that motivation levels during an e-learning course can be often visualised by a U-shaped graph. At the beginning the participants work a lot, which is most likely propelled by their curiosity about novelty. With time the participants’ work becomes less systematic; they invest less effort but it rises again before they have to submit their final assessments. What factors influence this pattern? Marta, a teacher from a Croatian vocational school, answers that “fear of new technologies (fear of the unknown), lack of ICT skills, too much new information, unclear or too high learning objectives, unclear purpose of learning, poor facilitator engagement (lack of encouragement, slow online communication, slow assignment feedback) and lack of regular practical work are the main demotivating factors in vocational training and education”.  She advises “as little theory as possible and more specific content related to the vocational area”.

In this Module you will think about possible demotivating factors together with the other participants. Take into account the following categories:

  •   technology,
  •   self-evaluation,
  •   course organisation,
  •   tools,
  •   interpersonal factors, communication,
  •   self-organisation,
  •   goal and expectations,
  •   priorities,
  •   feedback.


Last modified: Friday, 13 June 2014, 12:44 PM