Can we design learning environments geared for maximum motivation?

What can we learn from human psychology about designing learning environments geared for maximum motivation?

Let’s start by identifying core human motivations using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs. Psychologist Abraham Maslow studied human motivation as a whole, rather than the discrete pockets of motivation prior studies had identified. Maslow’s Hierarchy is depicted as a pyramid, with the base of the structure housing the most basic needs and more rigorous needs building on top of those. Maslow referred to the first four levels of the hierarchy as deficiency needs, which is to say each lower-level need must be met before moving on to the next level. Should any lower-level need become deficient in the future, people will work to correct the deficiency before moving forward.

All this motivation builds toward the tip of the pyramid: self-actualization. This may seem like a stretch for students, given that most adults spend their lives striving toward this lofty goal. When we build a safe, motivating place for students to turn their focus inward, they’re free to pursue the beginning of self-actualization. How’s that for whole-child education?…Read More