The Purpose of Education
At the broadest level, one could state that the purpose of education (and by extension instructional design) is to enable an individual to live a successful, meaningful, contributing life. I believe that I have a basic grasp of how to help students gain knowledge and skills, but I believe I have an opportunity to understand more about how I can positive influence students to adopt outstanding habits, build their motivation, and help them move forward with success in their lives.
A Shift in My Research Interests
I am now beginning to feel a shift in my personal research interests. I have realized that some of the most important aspects of a student's success learning do not occur outside of an individual (e.g. the instruction we present to a learner). In the field of educational technology and instructional design we tend to focus on doing something to students to influence there learning and behavior. I know from research and experience that using effective strategies to provide students with learning experiences is vital to helping a student succeed. However, I also believe that the internal motivation, habits, and characteristics of a student are perhaps even more important than the external strategies we use to help instruct them.
Learning About the Internal
All of my own research has focused on what the instructor or instruction (external to the student) does to engender learning. I have asked fundamental questions about what good instructors do, what strategies more effectively help students learn, and what steps designers can take to create effective instruction. I will never stop seeking the answers to these questions; however, there are other fundamental questions about learning that I plan to start to investigate.
My Emerging Interests
Among other things, here are the general topics that I am interested in learning more about. These are areas that I have some knowledge of, though my knowledge is more peripheral and perhaps biased.
- What are the psychological and neurological features of motivation?
- What creates the motivation to act in an individual?
- What strategies can be used used to influence and create motivation in an individual?
- What are the most effective strategies for influencing motivation in an individual?
- What are the psychological and neurological features of habits?
- How are habits formed?
- How can undesirable habits be eliminated or modified?
- How can positive habits be created and automated in a person's life?
- What strategies can be used to help others eliminate undesirable habits?
- What strategies can be used to engender positive, automated habits in another individual?
- What are the psychological and neurological features of success?
- What makes an individual successful in achieving meaningful, difficult goals?
- What strategies can be used to help an individual be successful in his or her own life?