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Identifying the dimensions of interest to support engagement and learning.

by Robert on June 25th, 2010

Presented at the 6th Global Conference for


3rd July –  5th July 2010
Mansfield College, Oxford


Robert B W Ely, Mary Ainley, Jon Pearce

University of Melbourne


Interest, as a motivational construct, is a necessary but not sufficient condition for engagement (Appleton, Christenson, Kim, & Reschly, 2006). If this is the case, then an examination of interest and its dimensions may be useful in the planning of engagement strategies. The purpose of the My Interests Now for Engagement (MINE) intervention is to develop, test and validate a tool to measure and profile interests in secondary school students using the four-phase model of interest development (Hidi & Renninger, 2006). The four-phase model of interest development distinguishes between those interests in objects, activities and ideas that are related to situations, and those that are integrated into the individual. The differing cognitive and affective states that are implied by this distinction may have implications relating to the design of engagement strategies. For example, those students who have a new or recently triggered interest may benefit from engagement strategies that are mentored, inter-personal and structured. In contrast, individuals who have a pre-existing well-developed interest that is personally integrated may benefit from engagement strategies that foster autonomy, curiosity and allow freedom of choice. The measurement of interest will be facilitated by using interactive, playful and exploratory online software (MINE), based upon the work of Jon Pearce (Pearce, 2008) at the University of Melbourne. The MINE tool allows for the triggering of new situational interests as well as the reporting of pre-existing individual interests. The tool has been developed with 100 first year students from the University of Melbourne and 100 students from secondary schools. This facility is in contrast to survey approaches that currently exist. This paper will examine the implications that the cognitive and affective dimensions of interest have for the design of engagement strategies, as well as report upon the design, development, testing, validation and preliminary results of the MINE tool.


Motivation, interest, engagement.

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