The problem of decreased student engagement and motivation in school the more years students attend school is grounded in the self determination theory. This theory was originally developed by Swereff in 1893 with extensive research in contemporary years by Deci & Ryan (1981 to present). This theory was primarily used to in the field of psychology to study individuals' motivation in a multitude of settings from general interactions (Swereff, 1893) to education (Deci, Vallerand, Pelletier, & Ryan, 1991). The theory of self determination indicates that an individual has choice in participating in an act and the locus of control can be either internal or external. Obviously when the locus of control is internal, the motivation is self determined and the motivation is intrinsic. There are times even when the locus of control is external that it can be perceived as voluntary participation and the motivation is still self determined instead of caused or mandated. The basis of the theory is that if an individual feels there is choice in participating in the activity, they are intrinsically motivated to participate and therefore more likely to be engaged and interested in the activity at hand. Three main focuses have been established within the self determination theory to be competence, relatedness, and autonomy. The competence aspect refers to the individuals ability to complete an action needed. The relatedness refers to the connection the individual has with the content or activity. Finally the autonomy refers to the individuals sense of choice in the subject or activity (Deci, Vallerand, Pelleteir, & Ryan, 1991).
I feel this is an appropriate framework for my dissertation because the students need the intrinsic motivation to stay engaged in school. If the engagement of students decreases every year from 3rd grade on, then there needs to be something that allows the students to be intrinsically motivated to participate in the learning. The use of gamification and game-based learning through the BreakoutEDU activities gives the students varying opportunities for engagement and draws upon an individuals interest in fun and competition.
Author: Keri Duncan
This is a blog created as a requirement for my dissertation. In different classes, there have been different requirements but hopefully it will provide good thought and discussion as I progress through the dissertation process.