A Qualitative Examination of Participants’ Reactions to a Motivational Climate Intervention

Candace Hogue, University of Kansas, USA
Mary Fry, University of Kansas, USA

Theme: Motivation and self-perceptions

Poster Number: 47

Program ID: POS-1

Presentation: October 3, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


The purpose of this study was to examine participants’ reactions to a motivational climate intervention while learning a new skill. Specifically, participants (N = 107, 61 females, 46 males) were randomly assigned to either a caring/task- or ego-involving climate where they were taught to juggle for 30 minutes. Participants were then asked to share their perceptions of the experience in written form. A deductive qualitative analysis of the data revealed the participants had contrasting responses based on climate assignment, yet there was very little variability within each climate. The caring/task group described a fun, low stress and helpful learning atmosphere, while the ego group reported experiencing a discouraging, stressful learning environment. When asked what, specifically, participants found to be helpful (or unhelpful), the following themes emerged: The caring/task group reported 1) individualized technical instruction 2) extensive encouragement/praise 3) peer support and 4) peer coaching to be helpful. In contrast, the ego group reported the following to be unhelpful for learning 1) performance based rankings 2) instruction by comparing skills to other participants and 3) instructors only giving praise and attention to those with high skill. With regard to their personal experience during the session, the following themes emerged: The caring/task group: 1) felt great/positive 2) tried hard 3) learned to juggle 4) met new people 5) wanted to continue juggling and 6) believed they could continue to master the skill of juggling. In contrast, the ego group reported the following: 1) being in a negative mood 2) feeling embarrassed/shamed 3) feeling nervous 4) a lack of interest in juggling 5) disappointment in not having learned to juggle and 6) disliking the experience. In line with previous research, perceptions of a caring/task-involving climate were related to more positive experiences for participants, relative to an ego-involving climate, while learning a new skill.

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