A sociocultural analysis of evolving motivation in the study of computing knowledge and skills

Year: 2002

Author: Ng, Chi-hung

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Within the cognitive paradigm, learning motivation is often investigated either as antecedents to or consequences of learning using standardized self-report instruments. Such conceptualization often fails to capture the developmental nature of motivation and loses sight of the possible impact of different contextual influences originated from the social milieu in which learning occurs. Drawing on sociocultural theories concerning social interaction and learning, this study provides evidences showing how motivation to learn is developed through collaborative participation in learning, and therefore, forming an inherent part of the learning process. The learning experiences of a selected group of elderly learners studying computing knowledge and skills at a social centre were described. Data generated from classroom observation, interviews were used to develop a model of evolving motivation that explains how this group of anxious novices has gradually developed into motivated experts capable of showcasing their computing achievement to the public in various occasions. The model highlights the significance of scaffolding derived from the extended social network in helping elderly learners make sense of their learning and develop lasting interest in computing.