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Intrinsic Motivation

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Intrinsic motivation is motivation that comes from internal motivation, rather than external rewards.

Understanding - and enforcing - intrinsic motivation is key for forum administrators and community managers because it helps uncover the underlying reasons for why people return, participate, and become involved.  Although members can be motivated by external rewards (like badges, money, or promotion), it's usually the intrinsic motivation that drives the behavior.  Members feel greater satisfaction in their achievements.  The more you can align your member journey to intrinsic motivation, the more you can unlock the human potential of your members.  

Here are some factors in intrinsic motivation:

  • Curiosity: to explore and learn for pleasure and enjoyment
  • Challenge: to work toward your goals while maintaining optimal performance
  • Control: to control outcomes and make decisions that affect those outcomes
  • Influence: to persuade and offer thoughts that are valued by others
  • Recognition: to feel appreciated and recognized for our efforts
  • Cooperation: to belong and feel satisfied sharing goals with others
  • Competition: to challenge and be ranked against our peers in importance
  • Fantasy: to create and envision new behaviors or even entire worlds

Discussion Questions

  • What is your intrinsic motivation in building your forum?  Is it a sense of satisfaction, friendship, or something else?  
  • What pathways to intrinsic motivation do you offer in your community? 
  • What's an example when you affirmed a member's intrinsic motivation?    

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