If you saw the movie, the Social Network, you know that Mark Zuckerburg spent more time when he was in college working on his website then he spent studying for his classes or even paying attention in class. He was just so absorbed in developing his website that it took all his attention away from what he was — supposed — to be learning. This relates to “purpose” in learning, which is the third component that is needed for successful motivation.
Purpose means that learning must be relevant. It must be related to real-life and be perceived as useful and needed. This is especially true for older learners. However, what is often lost in this definition is that purpose increasingly must be relevant to the learner themselves. It is how we adapt, and we were not designed to learn everything we come across is life. We were designed to determine what is most useful for our own needs.
There must be choices in what is learned, even within a classroom setting, or else the necessary motivation will never be achieved. It is the reason why adults must take control of their own learning.
Educators often create real-world scenarios in their classroom for their students, but these scenarios are usually a one-size-fits all approach that may not relate to everyone equally. It is probably the reason that post-secondary education has not been very successful for the vast number of students, the majority of whom tend to drop out or are not interested at all. Technology can allow us to customize learning to a greater degree so as to achieve the needed purpose for adults to learn throughout life. We simply have to do this!