Catherine Gewrtz, EdWeek, make great observation here that the ability to see progress is a great motivator.  Check out Harvard Business Review, “this is worth a look.”  Catherine continues:

It’s an argument for the importance of feeling that you are making progress in your work. The authors studied “knowledge workers” of many stripes, and found that recognition, incentives, interpersonal support and clear goals are not as high on the motivation scale as that sense of making progress in your work.”

Some schools and students will soon jump from no data to full keystroke data (tracked responses to instructional experiences to the keystroke level).  The instantaneous feedback, as we see from game playing, is addictive and instructive.

The power of individualized learning models (eg, RISC in Alaska, AdvancePath, EdVisions) is the ability for students to influence and monitor their own learning path.   Progress is motivation.

And motivation is everything in life and learning.

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Tom Vander Ark is author of Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, The Power of Place, Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and serves on the boards of Education Board Partners, 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.


  1. In the classroom, the lack of timely and constructive feedback is a killer for students. Many teachers make a trade off between meaningful work (with a longer turnaround time) and easily assessed assignments that do little for student motivation.


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