Designer Influence Methods

While it is true that Delphinium is flexible and does not require you to change your course in any way to add motivation and engagement to your course, by now it should be clearer that your course can be purposefully designed to better take advantage of influence, beyond what Delphinium can do alone. You are likely doing many of these things already through intuition. The Educational Influence Framework provides many specific, actionable recommendations for ways you can add more influence methods to your course as a designer. You are likely intuitively using many of these. After you are comfortable with using Delphinium in your course, you may want to "level up" by applying more of these principles over time to your course. These are listed below.



Onboarding - Provide onboarding tasks that ease students into understanding the rules of the classFun and Play - Provide opportunities for students to experience fun and enjoymentGenerate curiosity through questions and explorationProvide variety in activities and presentation styles

Self Regulation

Provide a clear structure for the class
  • Syllabus
  • Course calendar
  • Clear process for submitting assignments
  • Limit ambiguity
  • Give a clear indication of what "counts" and what does not
  • Clearly define what success looks like
  • Structure learning experiences so that they guide the student towards mastery
  • Clarify path, pace, period, points, grading style, organization, release schedule, total points, group weights, and where points are tracked
Clearly show progress
  • Where you have been, where you are, and where you need to go

Agentic Thinking

Give people opportunity to consider information more deeply and act according to itSalient information
  • Provide feedback on how to improve future performance
  • Provide opportunities for introspection and articulation
Situated cognition
  • Provide opportunities to interact with content in situ through experiential learning, simulation, role plays, etc.



Provide meaningful content and experiences
  • Make sure future utility is clear
  • Align/establish relevance with students goals and values
  • Provide a meaningful context/narrative, we are all story tellers
  • Make an emotional connection
Provide opportunities for social connection
  • Group problem solving
  • Collaboration
  • Competition
  • Companionship
  • Conformity
  • Comparison
  • Reputation


Ensure a balance between appropriate difficulty and challenge and being too easy
  • Reward problem solving with harder problems
Ensure students can recover from failure
  • Include rapid feedback cycles and low stakes
Success is clearly defined, goal orientationProductive experiences guided/scaffolded towards masteryProvide a fair evaluation of student performanceHighlight and celebrate success
  • Rewards as informational feedback, not behavioral control
Show progress: where you have been, are, and are going


Give students meaningful choices in the sequence, goals, pace, and strategy they use to complete the class



Provide opportunities for social connection
  • Collaboration
  • Competition
  • Companionship


Create a sense of urgency
  • Lost opportunities
    • But be sure students can recover


Limit ambiguityLimit excess selection
  • But still allow for autonomy and choice


Learning Identity

Provide social credibility and recognition for academic achievements that might otherwise be invisible or denigrated by peers

Emotions and Moods

Provide for positive emotional experiences (e.g., curiosity, joy, optimism, pride)Help students persist through negative emotional experiences (e.g., frustration, failure, anxiety, fear, helplessness, overwhelmed)Avoid creating negative emotional experiences

Socio-economic Influences

Create a learning community
  • Promote citizenship and loyalty
Consider how socio- economic and cultural influences affect your students


Accommodate different personality types
  • Inventive and curious vs Consistent and cautious
  • Efficient and organized vs Easy going and careless
  • Solitary and reserved vs outgoing and energetic
  • Challenging and detached vs friendly and compassionate
  • Secure and confident vs sensitive and nervous