Pink’s ideas have been applied to learning by others, but the basic idea is that for all but the simplest tasks, people aren’t motivated well by big monetary rewards. What rewards people is autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
This, of course, has implications for instructional design. When we create lockstep learning, we are removing autonomy. When we create learning experiences where the content is distanced from context and seems irrelevant to learners, we don’t take advantage of the motivation of purpose. Learning itself is a form of mastery, but we disguise it sometimes.
The research Pink shares in his book reinforces the idea of lifelong learning. We keep learning even when we aren’t being paid because learning itself is intrinsically motivating. The bigger question is how do we support that lifelong learning, providing people with the tools and coaching to be self-directed learners?