|The influence of communication on the participants’ motivation
Poor communication has a demotivating effect on participants
If a course or a module is based mostly on online education, it is possible that many factors which influence the participants’ motivation will be neglected or left out. It is of special importance to have in mind the participants’ different needs for e-education and motivation through a dequate communication with the participants.
Possible negative motivational factors of online education manifest in the following ways (although this differs from participant to participant):
- a participant did not manage to master the technology behind the online system on their own;
- a participant does not get feedback about whether they are doing something right, nor do they get the possibility to compare among themselves (e.g. in order for the others to try to solve the same problem);
- a participant does not find it interesting to learn the educational content on their own (outside of a group);
- a participant feels lonely without the interaction with other participants;
- nobody (apart from the computer) notices the participant’s progress and results;
- there is no possibility of comparison with another participant;
- there is no possibility for a competition and proving yourself;
- a participant will have more difficulty affirming the feeling of self-worthiness and misses a social surrounding in which to acquire (self)respect;
- due to lack of personal contact, a participant does not trust the content authors or their course/module instructor.
The influence of many of the mentioned motivating factors can be reduced or removed by planning and organizing appropriate types of communication in online education systems. In any case different possibilities for communication between the instructor and the participants should be used to the utmost by using appropriate communication technologies.
Here is an overview of some of the positive ways to influence motivation of the participants through different types of communication:
- clearing up the participants’ expectations and explaining the methods that will be used to work in the system and on the educational content;
- precisely define the demands which will you will put before your participants;
- creating positive expectations and attitudes about the online distance education system and educational content/methods;
- promotional activities and emphasizing the advantages/benefits of taking an online course;
- encouraging and maintaining interest;
- complimenting and rewarding the participants;
- emphasizing particular results in front of other participants;
- competition between participants and/or group;
- providing feedback about a participant’s progress and results in relation to those of the others;
- creating a learning community (a group of participants with the same task);
- increasing the level of interpersonal interaction in online distance education;
- encouraging the participants to mutually ask and provide help/support ;
- identifying and additionally encouraging the less motivated participants.
Tips & tricks: Do an analysis of the positive and negative communication factors which can influence the motivation of participants of online education for the course/module you are in charge of, and then try to reduce/remove the influence of the negative factors, while increasing the number and influence of the positive communication factors of participant motivation.