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Success or Failure as Motivation in Learning

December 20, 2012

Motivation is a key part of learning (Vockell, 2001) whether it is professional, non-professional, formal or informal. However under each aspect of learning the source of motivation can change. Many students are eager to learn but many also require their tutors to motivate them to learn (Davis 1999). Motivation is certainly not the only factor necessary in order for learning to take place; but without sufficient motivation, not much learning is likely to occur (Vockell, 2001).

Success and failure are also great motivators to learning. It is interesting to see that each plays a greater or lesser role depending on whether the learning is professional or non-professional.  It has been shown by research (Lepper 1989) that motivation can actually increases following failure for those striving towards the goal of success. On the other extreme failure avoiders tend to become less motivated following a set back. Failure avoiders prefer easier tasks as compared to success seekers who are more strongly motivated by tasks that have a higher level of complexity. Whereby failure avoiders tend to set goals that are either too easy or too difficult to attain, success seekers will set more realistic goals (Vockell, 2001).

Actively seeking knowledge about an aspect of your career is professional learning but where this is paired with self motivation and available learning resources can only result in success as it is actively sought. Therefore I surmise that professional self motivated learners can be considered as success seekers.

Learning for Success, Training against Failure

I consider self motivated professional learners as success seekers, I think it is important to consider professional learners who need to learn key information in order to be properly accredited for their role. This is an e-Learning context I am familiar with and I would consider this type of learning and as training. Stockley (2006) looks at the definitions between learning and training and defines training as:

“The conscious and planned process of transferring knowledge, skills and attitudes to others.”

Stockley (2006) notes key importance to the idea of transfer. Here we could consider transfer as the means of passing knowledge verbatim.

Stockley (2006) defines learning as:

“The processing and assimilation of what we hear, see or experience that alters or improves our knowledge, skills and attitudes.”

We assimilate learned knowledge to fit into our own world and in doing so it is somehow altered.

Professional training is something that is carried out as a group or as an individual and possibly at the expense of your employer either by the fees being paid or the time being allocated to carry out the training. Professional training is pertinent to the job the learner is doing. The information supplied will not deviate away from the point of making the individual better or more efficient at doing their job.

Self motivated professional learning is the choice of the individual and therefore can reach a deeper level of education (Price et al 2007, page 3). It may not be directly linked to the learners’ day role but may be critical in developing their career further in a direction they wish to pursue.

Stockley (2006) regards that the combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes forms behaviour. If someone trains us, or we learn something new or different, it is our behaviour that is affected. If our behaviour has changed then learning has occurred. Stockley (2006) believes that changed behaviour in the workplace is essential for corporate growth and when relative can make a real difference within an organisation.

Training is successful if learning occurs and therefore behaviour is changed.  In a familiar context this success is measured by the learner passing the summative assessment following a training course. Within the workplace this is measured by improved efficiency. For the learner we could assume that successful completion of training could lead to improved job prospects therefore trainees would use failure avoidance as motivation.


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eLPCO (2008) “Research Center for e-Learning Professional Competency”, Available from: (accessed 7th December 2010).

Lepper, M.R. & Hodell, M. (1989). Intrinsic motivation in the classroom. In C. Ames & R. Ames, Research on Motivation in Education: Goals and Cognitions (Vol 3)

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September 5, 2011

Part 1: Specification of e-learning and target learners


The Oil and Gas Industry (OGI) operates globally, under two main areas of exploration: onshore and offshore. Both environments are high risk to personnel and require strict legislation and regulation in order to ensure a degree of safe operation. Requirements for this level of control became apparent after the Piper Alpha disaster of 1989, when an explosion due to a gas leak caused during routine maintenance resulted in the death of 167 persons (Heaney, M. 2007). Following the disaster an enquiry led by Lord Cullen found critical levels of disregard for health and safety that led to an industry wide focus on safety over speed.

The single most important major change was a complete rethink in the attitude towards safety.” (Heaney, M. 2007)

The Cullen report was key to introducing ‘The 1971 Health and Safety at Work Act’ into the OGI. The means of making this health and safety training available included a blended solution of onsite training and the opportunities afforded by emerging computer based training as a means of cheaply and efficiently processing workers prior to embarkation (Edmonds R. 2002).


The Learner Profile

In 2009, Oil & Gas UK undertook research into its workforce. The data was collated over 12 months through a personnel tracking system providing the following information:

The average age for the total UKCS workforce is 41 years. This is an expected average for a workforce generally ranging from 20 to 60 years old. In 2006, just under 1800 female personnel travelled offshore (about 3.5% of the total workforce), with an increasing number of young professionals joining the industry.

The age profile for female workers was weighted towards the younger age brackets, with an average age of 34.1 years, indicating the recruitment of young females into the industry. A total of 117 nationalities are represented in the UKCS workforce with workers from the UK accounting for 85.1% of all personnel.”

(Oil & Gas UK, 2009, Page 2)

Key job positions include but are not exclusive to:

  • Catering
  • Crane Operation
  • Deck Crew
  • Drilling
  • Electrical
  • Maintenance
  • Mechanical
  • Medical
  • Production
  • Rigging
  • Scaffolding
  • Well Services

(Oil & Gas UK, 2009, Page 7)

This data shows that the types of personnel going offshore, although predominantly male, do come from varied professional backgrounds so will have specific learning ability and styles of learning.


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Shelley – The Revolt of Islam

September 5, 2011

Learn your Drupal

August 31, 2011

As good a place to start as any:

Also look at blocks and views has some mega drupal training (but I’m not buying!)

Import Data to Drupal

August 30, 2011

Might do some disassembly on this in order to allow for XML upload for aggregation

Write a custom module which ‘sucks’ in say 50 articles at a time (to relieve the strain on the server), use hook_cron;

Also building modules at:

Looking at Feeds module as a means of importing data to nodes. This module requires the following modules in order to work:

  • Views
  • Panels
  • Advanced_help
  • Features
  • CTools

OK getting closer, able to programmatically do nodes thanks to:

Feeds: Aggregating from RSS/Atom from Development Seed on Vimeo.

Creating Dynamic Drupal Content

August 24, 2011

Programmatically creating nodes with drupal_execute

e-Learning Development using Drupal

Import content into Drupal

Wiki page

The Smart Move

August 2, 2011

The Smart Move_SimonCowan2011

Either you change or you will be obsolete. Either you produce or you will go under. Either you define the moment or the moment will define you. Enter technology and a flattened world, and you have an educational system on the brink of self-sabotage.” Roe M.J. (2011)

This report will describe at a high level the processes required to enable e-Learning content on the new generation of mobile devices known as Smart Phones (SPs). The SP has evolved over the last 20 years from a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant). The current breed of SP is defined by Apple’s iPhone released in 2007.

Since this point, SP sales have increased exponentially and continue to grow globally. There are five main operating systems that run on SPs, one of which, Nokia’s Symbian, will disappear in favour of Microsoft’s Windows 7 Phone.

The current portfolio of e-Learning content relies on Adobe’s Flash Player for delivery. By the end of 2011 Adobe estimate that only 36% of SPs will be Flash Player enabled. This figure predominantly relies on the sales growth of Google Android phones. Executives at Apple have categorically stated that the iPhone will never allow Flash content to run natively.

The web standard of HTML is currently going through a transition period to its next release. Many of the features in HTML5 will make the need for Adobe’s Flash Player obsolete including video/audio recording and playback.

All SPs, when within network range, are able to access the internet using either a standard browser or a purpose built application called an App. Apps are downloaded from the operating system provider’s website and are fundamentally encapsulated websites. Browsers are still the favoured means of accessing the internet but Apps are quickly catching up. Apps that access content and data stored on the web are considered as the way to go for accessing learning content.

Because of the actual screen size and the methods by which SP users interact with their devices, existing and new content will need to be re-designed in order to run effectively on SPs. Simply shrinking down the content will not be an effective means of conversion.

In conclusion, this report recommends that e-Learing content is processed and extracted to allow for re-use and re-deployment to all internet connected devices. This report also recommends that open source content management systems are used to allow for scalable and adaptable learning portals that keep in step with emerging learner behaviours and strategies and allow learners to nurture their own personal learning environments.