Conversation: Setting Expectations & Motivation

I’ve been having a series of conversations about a project I’m working on … and as luck would have it, Cathy Moore posted a good piece of advice: How to make course objectives more motivational

Set the stage … this project is to update some current content and to design a brand new module.

Me: One of the items we’d like to update is the long list of learning objectives. Right now in the current course there are forty listed here. With the new module – that will add 23 more objectives. Listing over 60 learning objectives at the beginning of the course is not effective … and might even be un-motivating to the learners.

Group Member 1: Well, we really need to make sure the learners know what to expect in the training.

Group Member 2: What do you propose? Removing the objectives?


Me: Oh no … sorry … wasn’t very clear. No, what we can do is list the objectives at the beginning of each module. For the course introduction we’d provide a more general statement about what the goal of the course is.

Group Member 2: So, we’re not going to lose the objectives?


Me: Not lose them. Just reposition them in the course materials. And tweak them so that they are meaningful to the learners.

Group Member 2: So long as the learners know what’s expected of them …

Group Member 1: They need to know what is expected.


Me: Is it a matter of knowing what’s expected or being motivated to learn what’s expected?

Group Member 1: I don’t understand. What’s the difference?

Group Member 2: You’re saying like a “what’s in it for me?” type of presentation?


 Me: Yes, that’s right. The suggestion is so that the learners know quickly and clearly why they should spend time with this content … so the intent here is to motivate them to learn and not bury them with a long list of bullet points, which they’ll probably not read because it’s so long.


About Rory

I make my home in the central part of the Garden State along with my family. When I'm not working as an Instructional Designer (focusing mostly on Web-Based learning ... and other eLearning technologies) or researching something, I'm found at home playing computer or video games. Among other things, I volunteer as a choir member and catechist for 8th graders at my parish.
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