Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Daniel Pink on LearnCentral

Just listened to Steve Hargadon interview Daniel Pink about his new book, Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us. There were over 200 people (mostly teachers) in the Elluminate room for this discussion, and the chat was going like crazy.

The gist of the presentation was that what motivates us is
autonomy - our desire for self-direction
mastery - our desire to get better at what we're doing
purpose - we want to be part of something larger than ourselves

He is writing mainly for business, but the concepts translate very well to education, especially adult education where our learners are not forced to be in class, but choose to be there because they have a purpose, they are striving for mastery. I'm not sure how well we address autonomy. We talk about project-based learning and students being in charge of their own learning, but how well do we really do that? We remain, I think, mostly teacher-directed, and don't leave enough room for learners to choose their own path through the learning.

The other concept that stuck with me might not be originally his, but he called it a FedEx day, in a company where for 24 hours employees can work on whatever they want in whatever way they want, at home or at work, during the day or all night, whatever. Their one responsibility is to share with their colleagues what they are working on. Now that's tempting!

Here are some links from the chat:

An article on social networking for students, K12, but some good ideas about acceptable use for adults as well.

An article from Harvard Business Review on motivation and what really motivates us - short answer: progress. Is that really true? I guess I do feel more motivated on days when I feel like I''m making good progress on a task, especially a particularly challenging one, because on the days when I'm not making progress I feel very UNmotivated!

Last one, a short video of Daniel Pink talking about the two questions you should ask yourself every day.