find (or create) a social role as motivator


I was reading the fascinating talk "Extreme Thinking" by Michael A. Nielsen. In it he sets up three main principles that can vastly further learning in difficult subjects. Some of the ideas in those are equally suitable to application to countering the "reluctant volunteer" effect.

Here are the three principles in brief:

I find especially the third principle interesting and usefull. It states that a "social role" can be found that supports the task at hand. This role can be an existing one (teacher) or a newly invented one. (Please do read the "Extreme Thinking" link above to fully understand this)

So my thinking was: what if I can find a suitable "social role" for my volunteers to fullfill? A social role that would support them being highly motivated?

Actually, now that I think about it, something like this was already happening, only in the wrong direction. By assuming the role of "coach" and giving out "assingments" I was already giving my volunteers a social role. That of students with "homework". Ouch. We all remember procratinating and dreading homework...

So this looks like a good way of approaching this topic. But the roles will need some thinking about still.


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Martin Spernau
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