Citation: Huitt, W., & Cain, S. (2005). An overview of the conative domain. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved July 17, 2010 from http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/brilstar/chapters/conative.pdf
Conation is defined as the “connection of knowledge and affect to behaviour. It involves the personal, intentional, plan-ful, deliberate, goal-oriented, striving component of motivation. It is proactive, and is associated with the concept of volition, or the use of will. It is a critical element in successful self-direction and self-regulation.
Conation is a primary focus of concern for facilitating learners to participate in online learning environments. Pedagogy that supports and develops conative aspects result in persistent, engaged, meaningful blogging (and the use of other networking tools) over a long period of time.
Kolbe (1990) identified four action/conative modes:
Fact-Finders (probing, refining and simplifying ideas)
Follow-Thru (organizing, reforming, and adapting)
Quick-Start (improvising, revising, and stabilizing)
Implementing (constructing, renovating, envisioning)
For effective facilitative of the conative elements, student bloggers require structured instruction on how to engage in these four diverse conative modes.
Setting a Direction for Student Bloggers
Learners need to be encouraged to cultivate a greater awareness of their needs and goals, and articulate their dreams and visions of possibilities of potential “possible selves”.
Students also need to engage in dialogue (with self, or with just their instructor, or with peers) about the choices they need to make, both covert (one’s own internal ideas) and overt (choices concerning the external learning environment). Students need to consider the task of goal-setting from a number of perspectives: mastery goals, performance goals, social goals, and affective goals – all of these are important and should be explored. In addition, blogging activities should foster planning, using both backwards planning and task analysis activities.
Energizing – student bloggers need some guidance on how to maintain their blogging activity throughout the course or program, and the modelling by the instructor of a insatiable curiosity and openness, will demonstrate and model the very tangible need for self-development and self-determination.
The chance that learners will continue blogging and persist as connective writers despite obstacles will improve if these students use self-regulation processes when they encounter a less than conducive learning environment. There are some effective ways to improve learner persistence, including matching goals to learners’ interests and values. Thus, instructors should try to encourage student bloggers to develop their own learning mission statements, and support these learners to develop specific visions of potential possible future selves, portrayals that are specific, well-elaborated, and vivid. To accomplish this, students should be encouraged to engage in self-talk and thought-capture, and the process needs to be modelled by their instructor.
Mission statements, tagging posts based on the type of conative mode it best represents, visioning of possible future selves, planning activities, and matching goals to learners’ interests and values, would all contribute to a richer conversation between learners and their instructors. The blogging tool is an excellent medium for encouraging self-talk and thought-capture.