Problem Based Learning – Sample Project: MOTIVATION

PROJECT TITLE: Motivation Strategy

Project Aim
Create and present a plan with specific strategies for improving the employee’s motivation in the workplace, based on a clear understanding of the person’s needs, values and situation.

Learning Outcomes
1. Explain the significance of knowledge and understanding to motivation.
2. Identify tangible rewards and negative motivators appropriate to a specified motivation problem.
3. Integrate factual information with theoretical information to derive a sensible solution to a motivational problem within a limited time frame.
4. Plan the initiation of motivational action in response to a specified motivation problem.
5. Plan actions for sustaining motivation in a specified workplace situation.

Problem Definition
You are a supervisor in a workplace, in charge of 10 employees.

Over the last few weeks, you have noticed a change in behaviour in one employee. This person is usually efficient, cheerful, cooperative, accurate, energetic and productive. Two months ago, the person’s spouse unexpectedly left, clearing out the bank account. Since then, he/she has become increasingly withdrawn, gloomy, slow to complete tasks, and forgetful. The standard of his/her work has fallen, and co-workers are beginning to complain. This person is also a friend with whom you sometimes go jogging. You have also noticed that he/she has lost interest in social or physical activities, and in maintaining a healthy diet.

Your task: Plan a strategy to motivate this employee that also considers workplace requirements and conditions.

Team Structure and Mode of Interaction
Being a relatively short project, the quantity of interaction with others needs to be limited.

Your team will consist of yourself and your tutor. You are in the hypothetical role of a supervisor in the workplace. Your tutor is in the hypothetical role of an industrial relations consultant. You should approach your tutor in the same way that you would approach an industrial relations consultant.

*You must contact your tutor two times via phone, fax or email during the project, before attempting to commence the final submission. At each point of contact, you should be mindful that the hypothetical consultant (tutor) is both an expert but also one that charges by the hour; so questions you put should be meaningful, designed to contribute toward achieving the stated project aim, and above all, should not be repetitive. Contact should be concise and time efficient.
*You must also seek support from your tutor and any other interested parties within the school community, by submitting relevant questions to a student room forum, seeking meaningful feedback, on at least two occasions during the project, before attempting to commence the final submission. You must also check for responses and if useful, incorporate the responses into your final report.

You may ask for guidance, assistance or simply report on your progress. You may request more frequent assistance if necessary, within reason. It is not your tutor’s role to solve the problem.

Discussion Questions
• Why is an understanding of grief relevant to this situation?
• Which key factors affecting this person’s behaviour can you expect to influence and which might you not expect to influence?
• What are reasonable goals in motivating a person in this situation?
• How can you ensure that co-workers are not adversely affected by this person’s current attitude or by any individual attention that he/she may receive?
• How can Maslow’s hierarchy of needs help clarify this person’s changing needs?
• What are reasonable parameters or boundaries when friendship and workplace roles overlap?
These are issues or questions that you should address in your solution, whether or not you can find answers.

Human resources (optional) – You may draw on the skills, knowledge and assistance of others – other students, experts whom you consult, friends. All assistance must be formally acknowledged.

Other resources (compulsory)– You are expected to use some resources, but the choice of which ones are yours) You may gather the information required to solve this problem from course readings, books, journals, news programs, the internet, etc. All sources must be acknowledged.

Internet Resources may include:


Duration - This project should take between 8-10 hours (including communications with a tutor or others). When 10 hours of work has been completed, submit what you have, no matter what stage it is in. You may be penalised for exceeding this time limit.

Assessment - You will be assessed on your capacity to work through the problem to a logical conclusion. You are not being assessed on the report.

The report will be part of what shows the school that you have worked through the problem in an appropriate way. Your interaction with a tutor, and use of a forum in the student room are also indicators that you have worked through the problem appropriately

Final Report

You may use any if a variety of means to present your project but should not spend more than a quarter of the total time involved in the project, on preparing the presentation. Most students are likely to submit a written presentation, possibly with one or more illustrations. If you have the equipment at hand, and appropriate skills, it is acceptable for you to submit a presentation any other way (eg. Multi media presentation with Power point or Flash, Video, CD, DVD).

Your presentation must include:
1. an account of the problem-solving process you experienced,
2. your solution,
3. a list of issues that arose during the project, that you either could not deal with or that were not essential to the project
4. a list of resources used, including human resources.
5. an evaluation of your performance, including what you did very well, and what you can improve
6. a precise summary of you learned about problem solving and motivation from this project.

Presentation Component Minimum Required Maximum Allowed
account of the problem-solving process One paragraph or 1 minute presentation or equivalent One page or 3 minute presentation or equivalent
your solution One sentence or 20 second presentation, or equivalent Half page or 1 minute presentation or equivalent
list of issues A few words for each point bulleted or equivalent Half page or equivalent
list of resources A few words for each point bulleted or equivalent Half page or equivalent
evaluation of your performance 100 words 1 minute presentation or equivalent 300 words 3 minute presentation or equivalent
precise summary of you learned 100 words or 30 second presentation or equivalent Half page or 90 second presentation, or equivalent