What motivates a ninja? An exploration of students’ CoderDojo experience
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While previous studies have indicated that learning through digital game-play is highly motivating, young people’s motivation to create their own digital artefacts has received less attention. In particular, few studies have focused on young people’s motivation to learn within community-based informal coding environments such as CoderDojo. This research therefore aimed to explore young people’s motivations to attend CoderDojo and perceptions of their experience. Transcripts from three focus groups of CoderDojo students were thematically analysed using a deductive Self-Determination Theory-driven approach. Results suggest that CoderDojo is perceived to be a highly autonomy-supportive learning environment that also fosters students’ needs for competence and relatedness. Young coders were intrinsically motivated by the enjoyment found in learning and making digital artefacts, and had a strong desire to learn to code – for a variety of largely autonomously motivated reasons. Only boys expressed gave motivations identified as externally regulated. Main findings are consistent both with assertions made by SDT and with previous research in the area of constructivist game-based learning. Strengths, limitations and potential future studies are addressed.
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