Motivational Design Project

designerIn this project, you will develop a complete design document for an existing course, workshop or unit of instruction. The end result will be a plan for improving the course based on principles of motivational design as laid out by Keller (2010) with additional ideas from the realm of gamification (Zichermann & Cunningham, 2011).

Note that this will not necessarily (or even usually) involve creating a game or turning a course into a game. Instead you will document ways in which the motivational elements can be added to instruction without detracting from learning outcomes.



  • bored studentThe duration of the instruction that you will work with should require at least three hours of contact time with learners, and no more than three weeks. So, a half-day workshop would be at one end of the scale and a multi-week unit within a course at the K-12 or higher ed level at the other extreme.
  • The instructor of the course might be you, or if not, you will need the consent and active participation of the instructor. This is not the place to retroactively fix a course you took and hated without involving the instructor who inflicted it on you.
  • You will need access to actual learners who have taken the course or will in the near future.
  • The course/unit/workshop can be entirely online, entirely face to face, or some combination of the two.
  • The course should be part of a learning environment with other participants and consequences. This project isn't appropriate for an informal learning experience that is completely self-directed and not graded.
  • To allow for testing of your proposed makeover and to gain the satisfaction of improving something real, the course should be one that will be offered again.

If you have a course in mind that meets these requirements, the first step is to propose it by completing this form. You can see the ideas put forth by others in previous classes here.


In completing this assignment you'll complete a series of worksheets as described in Keller (2010). You'll copy these into your own Google Docs account and allow them to be viewed publicly (by anyone with the link) to enable instructor and peer feedback.

Worksheets 1-10 Template


Using this template, you'll turn in a design document with...

  • The name of the course/unit, etc.
  • Educational outcomes
  • Motivational problems identified
  • Recommendations for change
  • A reflection on the process you went through in designing the changes. Turn in the reflection as an individual by creating a Google Doc and sharing it with

Within the final design document, you'll also link to the worksheets you completed as you gathered information about the learning environment.

Evaluation Criteria

Your document will be assessed based on the degree to which you were able to:

  • identify aspects of the course that have a motivational impact,
  • generate effective and doable suggestions for change,
  • make specific connections between the data you had the the concepts and principles of both motivational design and gamification.

More specifically, see this rubric for weights and points.

Due Dates

  • September 24, 2012: Project defined and approved
  • October 1, 2012: Worksheets 1 - 6 completed
  • October 14, 2012: Complete draft of the document
  • October 22, 2012: The final version is to be turned in.

Those working with external clients will be given additional leeway on these deadlines given the extra time needed to communicate with our partners. This assignment counts for 30% of your final grade.

This assignment comes from EDTEC 670 at San Diego State University