The article “Designing Online Instruction for Success: Future Oriented Motivation and Self-Regulation” that appeared in the Electronic Journal of e-Learning draws attention to the high rate of student drop-out and withdrawal from courses and programs. In particular, the authors refer to the question of whether perceptions of student motivation, self-regulation and future time perspective can be positively influenced through future oriented instruction and blended learning. The article presents a summary of what was a program of research on this topic at the University of Applied Management in Erding, Germany.
As far as value, the research offers plenty of it for my professional development. Future orientated motivation and self-regulation (also known as time management) are two key components in the way my classroom operates. The research also has value because of how much it can impact the success of a student. The authors write that researchers who examine future goals agree that “task value increases when a present task is viewed as ‘instrumental’ to achieving a relevant goal in the more distant future” (Schmidt, Werner 2007). Barriers to the value of a task includes negative views, attitudes, beliefs or values about the future. Therefore, the authors determined there is a distinct connection between the value of an activity and the student’s relationship or attitude regarding the future.
Schmidt set out with a reasonable design to answer the question of whether perceptions of student motivation, self-regulation and future time perspective (FTP) can be positively influenced through future oriented instruction in a blended learning environment. He used a group of first-year undergraduate business students in blended learning courses. Schmidt used surveys and interviews over the course of two semesters.
The methods that researchers used on the treatment group for future orientated instruction included the following:
- A hands-on tool for determining the relevance of coursework. Was the course work a stepping stone? A hurdle? Or a hoop to jump through?
- Explanation of present and future goals.
- Self-reflection and assessment and practice in goal setting.
The non-treatment group focused on the following:
- Future goals for life and career
- Time management strategies (no materials provided for anything)
The results concluded that future orientated instruction — which in layman’s terms means teaching students skills they will need when they grow older — increases awareness and understanding of future time perspective. It also concluded that high future time perspective increases the goal orientation, self-regulation, time management and help-seeking. These results are significant, but they should also seem pretty obvious to an educator. Knowing what jobs will be available in the future is sometimes difficult to predict, this research shows that we should be teaching our students authentic, life-long skills that build a well-balanced person.