The Five Pillars of Motivating Instruction

In Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn: A Comprehensive Guide for Teaching All Adults, Raymond Wlodkowski (2008) gives his readers examples on how to enhance the motivation of adult learners. In the beginning of the text, he explains new developments in neuroscience and social science as it relates to educating adults.

The definition of adult for the purpose of his project is a person with a “life responsibility such as full-time work or dependents” (p. 32).

For instructional designers, his teachings on the “five pillars of motivating instruction–expertise, empathy, enthusiasm, clarity, and cultural responsiveness” are particularly useful when working with subject matter experts (p. 93-94).

A basic way for an instructor to use the motivational framework is to take the four motivational conditions from the framework and to transpose each into questions to use as guidelines for selecting motivational strategies and learning activities for a lesson plan.

1. Establishing Inclusion: How do we create or affirm a learning atmosphere in which we feel respected by and connected to one another?

2. Developing Attitude: How do we create or affirm a favorable disposition toward learning through personal relevance and learner volition?

3. Enhancing Meaning: How do we create engaging and challenging learning experiences that include learners’ perspectives and values?

4. Engendering Competence: How do we create an understanding that learners have effectively learned something they value and perceive as authentic to their real world?

See also (source).

See also Just Tell Me What To Do


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