How to motivate learners is a question we constantly challenge ourselves with at NogginLabs. What will encourage learners to take the e-learning we build? What will engage them while they are taking it? What will keep them coming back once it’s over? You might even say this question is what motivates us. When it comes to bringing something like mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) online, however, the question of motivation is put into new perspective.

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Over the course of the next few months, we’re going to explore this question in a series we’re calling, Motivation in MBCT. We’ll explore why motivation is important in the first place, where we looked to for inspiration, and what techniques we finally used. For answers—or the beginnings of them—let’s hear from NogginLabs founder and the primary instructional architect of Mindful Mood Balance for Professionals (MMBPro), Brian Knudson.

Help us understand the complexity of motivation in the context of MMBPro.

Brian: What's interesting about MMBPro is a little bit of the history of it. The main thing with bringing this subject matter online is you want to be sure that the content itself works. Our goal was to simulate being in an eight-week therapy, eight weeks of sessions. Of course, you always put your best foot forward, but you never know if you've fully replicated that and if it works. The first open trial that we did on MMB showed that, in layman's terms, it does basically work. People who actually completed four sessions or more had successful outcomes as compared to those who dropped out. On the surface, that's very exciting. We know that the content works.

But people still dropped out...

Brian: Right, then you step back from that and ask, "Well how many people dropped out?" We find out a large percentage of them, around fifty percent, dropped out. Now you have to look at just pure e-learning. Let's walk away from the content. Let’s not even talk about what the subject matter is, or the fact that we're teaching a therapy, or the fact that we're teaching mindfulness. We have to step a hundred percent in the realm of e-learning, or online learning. We looked at why motivation is important.

So that brings us full circle to motivation. Why is it important to MMBPro? If you sought MMBPro out, aren’t you already motivated enough to complete the program?

Brian: Yes, people have signed up, they have paid money to go through it—but people have very busy lives. There's a whole variety of reasons why you would drop out. What we decided to do was take some of the best ideas from the online learning space and gamification, but also from the consumer space. We knew that if we could simply get people to take four sessions or more, which to me is actually a pretty low goal, that we would be able to achieve success with people being able to learn this content.


Stayed tuned for next month’s post on how we turned mindful moments into motivation.

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