Motivational Analysis

This assignment will help you to analyze motivators as people use web resources.

This module addresses the following standards:

  • The online teacher demonstrates knowledge of motivational theories and how they are applied to online learning environments. OTE.2.P.3

Picard - Engage

In this assignment, you will apply your understanding of motivation to analyze the behavior of a person. To complete this assignment, you should complete the following tasks in order.

Choose a Participant

Begin by choosing a participant. It is preferable for this person to represent the demographic that you desire to teach (e.g., children if you want to teach online K-12 courses, adults if you want to teach online college courses). Explain to the person that you would like to observe them as they use a web resource and then to ask them some questions about what motivated them as they used the resource. If the person does not want to participate, then you should find another participant.

Choose a Resource

Choose a resource for the participant to use. This should be a common, web-based resource and might include anything from a game or shopping website to a social networking site or video service. Concrete examples of resources might include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, a course website, Amazon, or a game like Angry Birds. It is preferable that the participant has used the resource before and is using it naturally. (If the participant switches between resources [e.g., starts on Facebook and goes to YouTube], that is okay, too. Just be sure to note this and try to figure out why.)

Silently Observe

For 10-15 minutes, silently observe the participant as he or she uses the resource. As you observe, take notes on what the participant is doing (what, where, when, how) and write down any questions that arise in your mind. Some example observations might include:

  • Frequency of clicking
  • Eye movement
  • Body movement
  • Facial expressions
  • Breathing patterns
  • Distractions or changes of focus
  • Signs of engagement or disengagement
  • Time between activities
  • Motivators and demotivators

Write these observations in your notes for future discussion.


For 20 minutes, discuss your observations with the participant. As you discuss, try to understand why the participant behaved or reacted in certain ways, and use your notes to spark conversation. Example questions might include:

  • I noticed that your eyes were very wide at this point in the game. What were you feeling?
  • I noticed that you started shopping for shoes but then started looking at lawnmowers. Why did you change?
  • I noticed that you skipped the advertisements in the videos you were watching. Why?
  • You seemed to get excited after finding the hidden treasure in your game. How often do you find those treasures, and is it always exciting?

Take notes on your conversation.

Reflectively Observe

For 10-15 minutes, observe the participant as he or she uses the resource again. However, this time you are free to ask questions and to converse with the participant. Use this observation time to clarify any questions that arose previously or to reaffirm interpretations.


In 750-1,000 words, write a Motivational Analysis of your participant. Follow APA formatting guidelines, and do not reveal the name of your participant (i.e. use a pseudonym).

In your motivational analysis, you should discuss the following:

  • Who was your participant, what resource did they use, and what did you observe?
  • What are signs of engagement or disengagement?
  • What motivates your participant?
  • How universalizable are your findings (i.e. who else will act like your participant in the same situation)?
  • How do these findings relate to online learning, and how can you apply these findings to how you teach online?


Share your motivational analysis with your instructor or submit it via email.