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The Segway – A Mechanism of Motivation

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I was reminded of the power of motivation when I became a student of ‘The Garage’, a local Segway touring company, this past weekend. Having signed up for a one hour Segway tour of Cincinnati, a group of friends and I were required to watch a video and immediately follow that with a one-on-one instructor session with a Segway trainer and guide. I don’t remember being so focused on learning something new, even during my master’s degree oral defense! I was definitely motivated to learn.
I believe what truly motivated me was the imminent possibility of either pain or public humiliation. What if I just couldn’t ride one of these two-wheeled technological wonders? What if I failed in front of all the others? It had been rumored to happen, and pained visions of the Segway throwing me face first to the ground were haunting me as I stepped on to the vehicle for the first time. Are motivational factors like pain and humiliation in the background of every decision we make? Do they ultimately drive us to succeed, whether we want to or not? Are these the motives that thrust so many children ahead to future success, so abundantly so that some even become millionaires? I’ve given some thought to my experience, and what follows are some of the conclusions I’ve reached.
Dr. John Keller has talked a lot (1982) about motivational design. Attention, Relevance, Confidence and Satisfaction: these are the four pillars of his ARCS motivational theory. In reviewing my Segway experience, I can affirm the importance of each of these pillars. I’ve also condensed my experience into the following rules related to his theory.

Attention: The imminence of a personal experience was the attention-getter that first attracted my focus. Without the looming direct personal application of the pending lesson – the ride to follow – would I have concentrated quite so intensely? Probably not.

Rule #1: Training should have direct personal consequence for the learner: the more immediate, the better.

Relevance: What if we had received training for a similar brand of device with different options for control? What about a totally new device? Would we be as successful if we were then required to transfer that learning to the model we were actually using? Probably not.

Rule #2: Training should apply to the situation at hand and be as real and relevant as possible.
Confidence: One thing that the trainers did very well was start out slowly, explaining each step clearly and warning about possible roadblocks to success. “Everyone wobbles at first!” was the last thing I heard before stepping up on the device, immediately wobbling uncontrollably. Because I heard the advice, I was prepared for what seemed like instant failure. With some continued encouragement, my wobbling ceased as I began to feel the center of balance in my feet. I was soon rocking the Segway back and forth under me, controlling it confidently. Would I have succeeded so quickly without those well-placed words of instruction? Probably not.

Rule #3: Trainers need to map out the roadblocks for learners and help them recognize and get over those known speed bumps as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Satisfaction: At one point in our trip, my machine ‘whacked out’, for lack of a better term. It just sort of stopped and turned off. The guide came over and immediately assured me that it was not my fault. He turned a key and pushed some buttons, and I was off and riding again. He helped me through my rough spot, and we went on our way. Another rider who struggled to climb a slight incline lost his balance, fell off his machine, and scraped his arm on the blacktop in the process. The guide rushed to him with instruction and an apology for his having to bear with an unfortunate experience due to an unusual combination of factors. Although visibly shaken, the rider brushed the dirt from his arm and stepped back on the wheeled beast. The guide continued to encourage us as we rode, not dwelling on the accident but focusing our attention on the scenery and history around us. We all felt the ride was a success when we arrived back at ‘The Garage’. Would we have felt the same without his encouragement in spite of the setbacks? Probably not.

Rule #4: Satisfaction or Success is a learner’s point of view, often determined by the trainer’s ability to help them navigate around or through failure.

What about you?
How is your training working to help learners become more focused and confident? Have you mapped out the potential ‘wobble’ and failure points? Is your training relevant, or do you have unnecessary, potentially distracting information embedded in your course? Finally, are your learners – online or in classrooms – coming away with a feeling of satisfaction or success? If not, maybe it’s time to reconsider your approach. Your instructional and motivational design can make all the difference.

References

Keller, J.M. (1987b). Strategies for stimulating the motivation to learn. Performance & Instruction.
26(8), 1-7.
Keller, J.M. (1987c). The systematic process of motivational design. Performance & Instruction,
26(9-10), 1-8.

Illustration Friday post

Thought I’d try this for fun…modeled in 3ds Max.

Ice rendering

Illustration Friday entry

DIY Sturdy Heavy Duty Grill Hangers

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So you saved some money and got the cheaper grill. Congratulations.

Everything is working great, but RATS! –nowhere to hang the accessories like the cleaning brush, grill spatula, tongs, etc.

No problem. Just remain calm and follow these simple directions. You will have way better, more macho hangers than you can buy, even on a better grill!

Step 1:

Gather up the items shown here:

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Note: Use a drill bit that can cut metal. Some are only for wood. Try to match the bolt and the drill bit diameter pretty closely. I just used some spare bolts from some old project I found in my hardware bins. Two nuts are required per bolt. The screw (or nail) is only used as a nail set or punch tool. If you have a punch with a sharp, small end, use that.

Step 2:

Use the hammer and the screw or nail to make an indent in the metal facing of your grill where you want the hangers. This keeps the drill bit from skittering around and damaging the paint when you’re trying to drill the holes.

Step 3:

Drill the holes. The dent you made will help the bit not drift as you start the hole. Be patient if you haven’t drilled through metal before. It can take a minute to get the hole finished, depending on the sharpness of your bit.

Step 4:

hangers02.jpgWith one nut started on the bolts, insert the bolts in the holes, and start the other nut(s) on the back side of the metal facing. Leave enough room for hanging something on the bolt when done. Tighten with the two sets of pliers (or adjustable wrenches if you have them handy – mine were missing in action). Get the nuts as tightly screwed together on either side of the metal facing as you can.

Step 5:

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Hang the utensils and you’re done! I’ve tried various commercial sticky hangers over the years and nothing ever stayed stuck once the grease and grime from the grill, or the weather made it’s way to the sticky fastener. I’m hoping these will last for the life of the grill, but I’ve only just created them, so we’ll see. Let me know if you run into problems or have better ideas. I’m sure there’s a better way out there. Asta la vista, and happy grilling!

Alan

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Our Coop de jour.

Our Coop de jour.

Son-in-law and I came up with this design for a movable chicken coop. Still a vital part we don’t show here for easing the moving weight. What think you all? Click the photo to go to my website. No more coops there, but more of my 3d design.

Wow. I looked at the list of countries where this was viewed and there are over 100 for 2012 alone! 20,000 hits and counting! Ah, the power of Google! – alan

Ideas, Doodles, Commentary and Dirt Sculpture

stage-curtains

The following parts are assuming a finished size of around 5 to 6 feet high and 5 to 6 ft. across. The fittings cost a couple of dollars each and the tubes come in 10 foot sections and cost around 3.00 each. You want to cut and fit everything together first, then if something keeps falling apart (it CAN fall apart) you’ll want to glue it. I don’t glue anything unless it becomes a nuisance (falling apart constantly) so I’ll be able to take it apart and store it once I’m done with the play. Kids, ask your mom or dad for help if you want to cement the fittings. There are two bottles of PVC cement you have to buy. They’ll cost around 3 or 4 dollars each. One is a purple cleaner and one is the gooey cement (Oatey is the most well known manufacturer). They’re not entirely…

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How to make a PVC Stage curtain and pulley display

stage-curtains

The following parts are assuming a finished size of around 5 to 6 feet high and 5 to 6 ft. across. The fittings cost a couple of dollars each and the tubes come in 10 foot sections and cost around 3.00 each. You want to cut and fit everything together first, then if something keeps falling apart (it CAN fall apart) you’ll want to glue it. I don’t glue anything unless it becomes a nuisance (falling apart constantly) so I’ll be able to take it apart and store it once I’m done with the play. Kids, ask your mom or dad for help if you want to cement the fittings. There are two bottles of PVC cement you have to buy. They’ll cost around 3 or 4 dollars each. One is a purple cleaner and one is the gooey cement (Oatey is the most well known manufacturer). They’re not entirely safe for everyday use, so if your parents are not comfortable using those, you might be able to hot glue or just ‘white school glue’ the pieces together. I’ve never tried it. No guarantee how well it will hold or last. The PVC cement is for actual plumbing and is permanent and water tight!

See diagrams below for pipe fitting and layout!

1. Need 1.5″ and 1.25″ diameter PVC plumbing pipe (available in the plumbing section of any hardware store) and cut with a miter saw to lengths as needed. Use adapters to go from 1.5″ to 1.25″ pipe on top. I used the smaller pipe on top to keep it light weight.

2. Make curtains as shown in diagram. We used a soft velour-type purple fabric, but any kind will do. You’ll have to sew 4″ wide seams at top and bottom. Sewing machine recommended.

3. Slip curtains onto PVC rods and fasten PVC together as shown. Note the support structure in the bottom image. You will need some kind of supports like those shown.

4. The pulley system for the curtains is a bit tricky, but I finally figured out how to make it work with one loop of string or thin rope. Use Lego wheel rims for pulleys if you have them. Drill pilot holes into the PVC and fasten pulleys so they will turn easily with heavy duty deck screws.

5. Place the string or rope around the pulleys as shown and tie off or ‘burn-weld’ the ends together. (Click the pictures to enlarge)

If this was helpful to you, please leave a comment below. Thank you.🙂

stage-pvc-setup

The PVC tubing is pretty cheap actually, so you’re in luck!

Here’s a shopping list:
(Prices are from our local Lowe’s
online as of January 2013)
PVC:
2 – 10 ft. 1.5″ PVC tubes: $6.00 (get the cheapest ones they have — there are two kinds of pipe)
1 – 10 ft. 1.25″ PVC tubes: $3.00
2 – 1.5″ to 1.25″ adapters: $4.00 (get the smooth kind, not the threaded ones)
2 – 1.5″ 90º elbows: $2.00
2 – 1.5″ Tee adapters: $4.00
4 – 1.5″ Wye adapters: $8.00 (might have to order these online as I wasn’t finding them in the store last time I checked)
2 – 1.5″ End caps $2.00
Cement: Cleaner and Glue: $8.00

Curtain: cost will vary according to material/length.
Rope: 2 to 3 dollars. Make sure you get nylon, not cotton so you can ‘burn-weld’ the ends together. It helps if the burned together part is smooth and without bumps, and make sure the string fits your pulley size.
Lego wheel rims: ?? Someone said they used simple brass rings instead of the wheel rims. That would probably work fine as well.

Rough Total: $40 to $50.00 + your assembly time.