The danger of extrinsic rewards on motivation – What I learned from my 5 year old

20120211 085538 The danger of extrinsic rewards on motivation 8211 What I learned from my 5 year old

Andrzej Marczewski

Gamification Consultant with Motivait. I love to write about it, talk about it and bore people to death with it! If you really want to get to know me, check out the About page.

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16 Responses

  1. yudashkai says:

    Referring to Octalysis, parenting often utilizes “Development & Accomplishment” (stars/stickers), “Ownership & Possession” (candy/toys), “Loss & Avoidance” (punishing/grounding). You should look into Epic Calling & Meaning and Expression of Creativity & Feedback 😉

  2. I’m also rethinking my approach with reward charts. My 7 year old has a fairly complicated points system where he can earn points by doing various positive things from playing nicely with his younger siblings to doing his homework. He then gets to spend them on the things he likes doing, playing on the Xbox watching a movie etc. and there are other rewards for hitting certain points totals. It worked really well, but we ran out of sheets of paper and didn’t get round to setting up a new chart for a week or two, now it’s really hard to get him to do anything you want him to do. I was thinking of redesigning it (especially after watching Sebastian Deterding’s Google talk the other day) but I think it’s probably better to find other ways and stop using him as a lab rat (kidding!).

  3. Hi Andrzej, thanks for sharing your experience. The challenge is to step further from extrinsic to intrinsic to habit. Here is my experience I had with extrinsic rewards and my little siblings…http://www.scoop.it/t/gamification-motivational-design/p/2157941361/clear-the-table-the-game. So, I have also more work to do 😉

    • Which we thought we had achieved – the reward schedule had elongated to the point she was getting none, but was still being good. One critical error was leaving an old reward chart where she could see it 🙂 @e82870bc52d2609d52dc26b66de16000:disqus

      • Yeah, but it is also possible to change an extrinsic reward (result) into a useful kind of trigger (cause) to start the desired behavior. The challenge: to visualize the new reward that is more satisfying than the old one (now the trigger)…

  4. i had to rethink my reward chart too – when my lil man was about 5 (they are very clever) he had to get stars and it got to the point that when he reached his target the response was ‘well i have my stars for today’ hmmm

    • Hi @twitter-36331462:disqus Yes, she is a bit too clever with it. We had it so that she would get a cross in a box if she was really naughty and could get 3 per chart. She basically worked out she could be really bad a few times and still get her reward – so used it to full advantage!!

  1. December 21, 2012

    […] The danger of extrinsic rewards on motivation – What I learned from my 5 year old […]

  2. March 24, 2014

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    […] Not all (any) attempts have been 100% successful. The most gut wrenching failure was the use of the reward chart! However, in March, I decided to try a slightly less rewards based system – the Behaviour […]

  5. January 6, 2015

    […] new. I have openly written about my failure as a gamifier when it came to my eldest daughters reward chart!  However, now I am trying a little experiment, one that is nice and low tech and involved no […]

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