Training the Workforce, Part 5: Feedback Motivation in Action

Jen Loglia, Training the Workforce 2 Comments

Jen Loglia | March 14, 2013

This is part 4 of an on-going series of blogs on using games for training the workforce.

My boyfriend was sitting at the computer and called out to me “We should do this together.”  Naturally, I responded “Do what together?”  He replied, “Learn French.”  Nuh uh, nope, I did not want to do it, I said.  But then I peered at his screen, and on it was a simple request:

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Of course I instantly clicked “l’homme” and clicked “Check.”

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Violà!  I clicked “continue” and my boyfriend just smiled.  “I thought you didn’t want to learn,” he teased.  I thought I didn’t, either.  What was so exciting about clicking the correct answer?

The Office of Personnel Management states that timely feedback is important.  Why?  Because if something needs to change, the sooner a person knows this, the sooner they can implement this change.  But, why else?  Timely positive feedback is also rewarding.  If a person accomplishes or exceeds a goal, and the quicker he/she receives the positive feedback, the more rewarding it is for that person [1].  (See also Skilan’s blog.)

Could this be enough motivation alone to continue my language training?  A meta-analysis concluded that verbal positive feedback increased intrinsic motivation [2].  But, how much motivation could this contribute, and how can we use this to improve training?

Some training programs can be very boring.  And no one feels motivated to do boring tasks.  But, even boring tasks may seem more appealing when presented in a game-like manner, and people may be motivated to complete the task perfectly to gain that positive feedback.  So, utilizing this knowledge, organizations and educators can structure training or classroom lessons so that learners get instant and positive feedback.  That drive to achieve perfection may also increase learning.  For example, I play a game on my Window’s phone in which you can earn 3 stars per level completed.  If I don’t earn all three stars, you know I’m playing that level over again.  I am therefore practicing playing this game even more, and theoretically, getting better at it….theoretically.

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The question is how much transfer is happening via this method?  Does where my motivation comes from affect how much or well I learn?  I smell the next topic in this series.

We’ll see if I can speak French soon.


1. U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Performance Management.

2. Deci, E.L., Koestner, R., Ryan, R.M. (2001).  Extrinsic rewards and intrinsic motivation in education: Reconsidered once again.  Review of Educational Research, 71(1), 1-27.

2 Responses to “Training the Workforce, Part 5: Feedback Motivation in Action”

  1. Isaac Paul says:

    You spelled workforce wrong in the article title.

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