Motivation and Network


I find that the technology can enable many collaborative networks in learning processes. However, these need to be tailored to the intent of the specific educational goals or practices that must be clearly established. Also the network should have both an individual and collective function. According to Wegner each community  “is engaged in the production of its own practice—in relation to the whole system, of course, but also through its own local negotiation of meaning”.(p.4) In this sense, participants of an online course should be able to find a network as well as a clear purpose in it in order to maintain it. According to Capdeferro “frustration is a common phenomenon among students involved in online collaborative learning experience” and the main source of frustration is “the imbalance in the level of commitment, responsibility, and effort”.(2012, p44) It is of course, difficult to avoid this situation since in there might be some students that might find more motivation than others in a particular subject. But if each person was given a specific role and responsibility within a specific common purpose these experiences could be minimised.  That is why, I personally find that gamification in online learning processes can make a network to be really connected since both individuals and collective goals can be easily established. Especially, if some value is established that emphasises the importance of the connectivism in the network.In this case is to find the worth in the network. As Dron and Anderson connectivism “shares many of the attributes of constructivism, notably in its valorization of diversity and a philosophical basis that knowledge is constructed in a social context”. (2014, p.59). Therefore, give a context and a worth to the network can maybe motivate and accelerate online learning processes.


Capdeferro, N. & Romero, M. (2012). Are online learners frustrated with collaborative learning experiences?.

Dron, J. & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching crowds: Learning and social media. Athabasca University Press.


Wenger, E. (2010). Communities of practice and social learning systems: the career of a concept. In Social learning systems and communities of practice (pp. 179-198). Springer London


Thank you, very interesting idea of how gamification can support making a group work better. I got this feeling when I read your text that it rests on the conclusion of students being frustrated because of commitment imbalances, thus it falls on the course designer to make sure that commitment balance better. However, can the basic assumption of that the students’ answers explain something of what is going on (rather than just describing an attitude) is false? Perhaps what is there to do might be to allow for the commitment issues to become a process discussion in the group, rather than to find ways of covering them up? What is the right level of commitment for example? And what does commitment actually mean? Do we mean the same thing?
Thank you for making me think and think again, and perhaps I need to think again – let me know!

Youngjae Lih says:

Hello Lars! Thanks for your comment. Yes definitely, what you mention about commitment issues to become a process discussion in the group is something that we should revisit with our students as part of the pedagogical process!

Thank you for some interesting thoughts Youngjae! I think it is a worthwhile approach to include gamification to both hopefully get more commitment from those with less from the beginning and to create a common goal, which in my opinion creates a whole different aspect of commitment. I understand Lars’s comment about how can we gauge or even presume to know what the “right” level of commitment should be, but I would argue that stipulating external motivation or goals through gamification can create a sense of commitment that was otherwise not there and thereby hopefully remove some unnecessary friction from student collaborations.

Karin Graf says:

I like your ideas on the importance of a human network and the need (or wish?) to keep students motivated. Interesting aspect, that if you give them a specific role and responsibility within a common purpose, you can create commitment. It’s like a self fulfilling prophecy: If you trust in participants to take reponsibility, they might do just that. Should be worth a try (I think it works with most employees, at least in self-oraganised teams – hopefully)!

Youngjae Lih says:

Thanks Karin, yes I think trust is key then of course with a degree of responsibility so participants are active and not passive recipients.

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