Motivation 3.0 in the heart of ProAkatemia
I have had an incredible opportunity to study in a university of applied sciences in two very different, almost opposite styles of studying. For one and a half years I studied international business at TAMK’s main campus. It was like any other school: I had a schedule given to me, I went to classes and lectures, I listened to teachers explaining how accounting is done and what are the seven P’s of a marketing mix. I studied (or usually crammed the night before) for exams, I read books that I was assigned to read and forgot most of it after the course was over.
This was the style of school, studying and learning I was used to. That was how my previous schools had worked too, from comprehensive school to high school. I didn’t even know that anything else existed.
During this spring I studied team entrepreneurship and leadership at TAMK’s ProAkatemia. I again had a schedule given to me, but only for eight hours of the week. And the rest of the week? We just needed to agree on the schedule with the team I had. I haven’t gone to classes or lectures. Instead, we used dialog sessions with the team to teach our teammates something and to learn something new together. I did not have any teachers telling me answers, but instead I had a coach giving me ideas, support and direction, when I was in need of it. I have done accounting rather than listened to someone talk about it. I haven’t studied for exams, I have studied for myself, for my learning and mastery. I read books that I chose to read. One of these books was Daniel Pink’s Drive (the Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us).
In his book, Pink describes three different types of motivation. The first one, which he calls Motivation 1.0 is based on our biological drive to reproduce and our biological need to survive. It was the most useful for us thousands of years ago, when survival was the only thing we could think of. Back then, Motivation 1.0 steered most of our behavior. (Pink 2009, 18)
After Motivation 1.0, naturally comes Motivation 2.0. As more complex societies were formed and people more and more needed to cooperate in order to achieve things, Motivation 1.0, only the biological need to survive, didn’t serve us anymore. (Pink 2009, 18)
Motivation 2.0 included a very important assumption: humans are more than just biology. How the system behind Motivation 2.0 works is with “carrots and sticks”, as Pink describes them. In this case, carrots are external rewards, for example money or praise. Sticks in the other hand represent external punishments, for example getting fired or being humiliated. Utilizing this second drive has enabled economic progress and for example the Industrial Revolution. (Pink 2009, 18-19)
But as it turns out in the numerous examples of studies and researches Pink explains, humans are also more than just reward-seeking and punishment-avoiding creatures that would stay still unless a reward or a punishment is provided. We have an internal drive to reach autonomy, mastery and purpose. (Pink 2009, 18-59, 64, 85-87, 109-115, 131-134)
In addition, in today’s modern world tasks are more and more often rather creative instead of routine. While Motivation 2.0 worked for routine tasks many had to complete in their jobs during for example the Industrial Revolution, it isn’t as useful anymore. Through various examples Pink also explains, how carrots and sticks can hinder creativity and therefore might not be the best motivators in our modern world. (Pink 2009, 18-59)
After the basic needs of a human being are met and the circumstances are right (they survive, they get a sufficient reward for their work, they are healthy and so on), the third drive steps in. Motivation 3.0 doesn’t revolve around survival or external carrots and sticks anymore. It comes from within: Motivation 3.0’s core is the internal drive. It provides the satisfaction from the task itself, rather than from the reward of completing a task. (Pink 2009, 35, 51, 77, 88)
In addition to the differences I already listed between ProAkatemia’s learning style and the main campus’ learning style there are a lot more. One big difference between the two is the amount and variety of the things I have learned. I have said this to my coaches, to my peers and to my family, but I’ll say it in here once more: In just a couple of months at ProAkatemia I learned incomparably more lessons and in general more relevant lessons than I did in 1,5 years at the main campus.
I thought that the reason behind this is the fact that I personally just learn more by doing rather than listening. Which might be partially the reason as well. While I read Pink’s book Drive, I realized that maybe most of the reason comes from Motivation 3.0.
While studying at the main campus, Motivation 2.0 was utilized a lot more than Motivation 3.0. I always had someone telling me what to do and I knew the rewards and punishments waiting for me. If I studied hard, I was rewarded with a good grade and if I didn’t do my part in a group assignment, I wouldn’t have received my credits for the course. I had very little inner desire to sit in a classroom listening about an accounting software I didn’t even need at the moment (and haven’t needed after the class).
In comparison to that, at ProAkatemia I by myself and we as a team decide what we want to learn and when we want to learn it. We can choose to participate in a session about quantum physics if that is something we feel like we need and/or want to learn. We can look deeper into it after the session. It is our choice. Autonomy is an important part of Motivation 3.0 (Pink 2009, 64, 85-87).
Also, we learn for ourselves rather than an exam that we dread. Yet another big difference between ProAkatemia and TAMK’s main campus is in grading: at the main campus I got grades for exams, assignments and courses as usual, on a scale from 1-5. However, in ProAkatemia it is only fail or pass. Mastery is another key element of Motivation 3.0 (Pink 2009, 64, 109-115).
Lastly, we use what we have learned. We do projects and use our sessions to find out important things we need to consider with our projects and to brainstorm new ideas for our projects. Purpose is the third cornerstone of Motivation 3.0 (Pink 2009, 64, 131-134).
This realization is extremely valuable for me. Now that I know my motivation to learn new things in ProAkatemia, I can make the most out of my time in ProAkatemia. I can harness my Motivation 3.0, find the things I’m passionate about and take my desire to achieve autonomy, mastery and purpose to make things happen. I’m extremely glad to say, that I won’t be going back to TAMK’s main campus, but I will be studying in ProAkatemia from now on. I’d much rather utilize Motivation 3.0 in my studies than Motivation 2.0.
Pink, D. 2009. Drive. The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us. 1st edition. The United States.