Wait – Carrots and Sticks don’t Work?

Daniel Pink gave an interesting TED talk on the science of motivation, particularly motivation in a world that places high value on right brain conceptual abilities.

To lift the main idea:

As long as the task involved mechanical skill, bonuses worked as they would be expected: the higher the pay, the better the performance. But once the task called for “even a rudimentary cognitive skill”, a larger reward “led to poorer performance.”

At issue is the age old dilemma of intrinsic vs extrinsic rewards.

What implications and questions does this raise for online education?

At least in the business community, Pink asserts that personal autonomy produces better results. I’m not certain how relevant this is to younger minds (which work differently than adults), but online learning certainly grants a larger degree of autonomy.

There’s also the question of how this plays out in my new job (which is considerably more reliant on “right brain conceptual abilities” and functions under a good degree of autonomy).

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