The motivation of web users and online learners

Is the motivation of online learners changing as the web itself – and the techniques and technologies available to educators – evolves?

I was writing about motivation of online learners for the eModerating and Online Tutoring course I’m tutoring next week. I’ve been teaching this unit for a few years now and I update the material every time, as one can with an online course.  This time I happened upon the BBC’s report  about web usability guru Jakob Nielsen’s annual report.

Apparently Web users are getting more ruthless and selfish when they go online – people are just  much less patient than they used to be. Users – and no doubt learners too – want simply to reach a site quickly, complete a task and leave. Users are beginning to ignore efforts to make them linger and have little patience. So it’s become even more necessary to be explicit about the kind of interactions that we want our students to take part in. Good and engaging design of online activities – or e-tivities as Gilly Salmon calls them – is more important than ever before. And dare I say it, courses like mine – giving teachers and lecturers the skills to facilitate interactivity, discussions and learning online – are more essential than ever before?

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