Motivation and Learning: Technologies that Invite and Immerse

Semester: 

Spring
There is no learning without engagement, but engagement without learning is prevalent in today's digital world. This course explores the relationship between motivation (engagement, self-efficacy, tenacity), and learning, as exemplified via technology-based experiences. Media have long been used to excite students' enthusiasm, with mixed outcomes. Recently, interest has grown in the area of digital games and learning, with the argument that games and immersive simulations (1) motivate students who otherwise are uninterested in academic content and (2) engage learners in rich virtual or augmented environments that provide a powerful context for acquiring knowledge and skills. But just because a student is deeply engaged in a task does not mean that she or he is learning something of value. This course will build students' knowledge about theories of motivation and of learning, the extent to which technology based games and simulations exemplify those theories, and the methods and findings of research in this area. The course speaks to a wide range of interests about learning and motivation in various types of educational settings across a spectrum of learners. Lab sessions will focus on technical support, hands-on experiences, and guidance on course assignments. Students will participate in a blended learning community based on multiple digital media and will complete assignments that can be customized to individual preferences and can include participation in research projects.