Publication Details

Dawson, S. P., Macfadyen, L. & Lockyer, L. (2009). Learning or performance: predicting drivers of student motivation. In R. Atkinson & C. McBeath (Eds.), Ascilite 2009: Same places, different spaces (pp. 184-193). Auckland, NZ: Ascilite.


There is substantial research demonstrating that a student’s motivation for learning can be largely explained in terms of their preferred achievement orientation. This paper explores a case study investigating ICT derived lead indicators of student achievement orientation, and therefore underlying motivations. The study incorporated Tan’s (2009) research on learning dispositions to quantify student achievement orientations. These findings were then correlated with student LMS data to identify if patterns of online behaviour are indicative of the observed achievement orientation scores. The results suggest that there is a significant correlation between student achievement orientation and participation in discussion forums. Students reporting a strong learning orientation were more inclined to utilise the unit’s ‘learning forum’. Conversely, students tending towards a performance orientation were more prone to use the ‘administration forum’. The findings and data harvesting methodology employed, represent a novel, scalable and automated approach for rapidly identifying the drivers of student learning motivation.

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