Leveraging Intrinsic Motivation

Following up on my previous post about motivational design, it seems that the ideal form of motivation is intrinsic in nature – it’s always better to have an individual possess an internal desire to do something, so you can bypass the whole spectrum of providing external rewards.

Turns out intrinsic motivation is described well by a concept called self determination theory.

Self Determination Theory

Self determination theory lists three factors that when present suggest that an activity will be worthwhile to people by itself. These factors are:

  • Competence – providing users with a sense of ability, that they are accomplishing something or solving problems.
  • Autonomy – allowing the person to feel that he/she has control and can make meaningful choices.
  • Relatedness – that the activity is connected to something above and beyond yourself.

Ideally every gamification implementation should be based on some attempt to engage these intrisic factors of motivation that self determination theory outlines.

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