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Motivation & Learning. Christopher Price, Ph.D. Director, Center for Excellence in Learning & Teaching, The College at Brockport cprice@brockport.edu. Motivation & Learning. Case Example Extrinsic versus Intrinsic Motivation Increasing Student Motivation . Case Example.

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Motivation & Learning

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Motivation & Learning

Christopher Price, Ph.D.

Director, Center for Excellence in Learning & Teaching, The College at Brockport

cprice@brockport.edu


Motivation & Learning

  • Case Example

  • Extrinsic versus Intrinsic Motivation

  • Increasing Student Motivation


Case Example

  • After years of avoiding it, Professor Skinner was scheduled to teach the introductory course in philosophy for non-majors. The students in this class typically are not interested in philosophy and only take the course because it is a graduation requirement. The difficulty of the material also leads to a high drop, withdraw, and failure rate. Students frequently complain about the course to the administration. The college is considering eliminating this requirement which would likely lead to a reduction in the number of faculty in the Philosophy department.


Case Example Questions

  • What are the motivation challenges in the case example?


Case Example Questions

  • If you were Professor Skinner, which strategy would you adopt to increase student motivation:

    • Rethink the grading policy so that more students are likely to achieve the grade they desire.

    • Assess what students know about the course content at the beginning of the semester and adjust the content so that it is neither too easy or too difficult.

    • Suggest that the course be combined with the section for majors in order to improve student interest and the grade distribution.

    • Redesign the course to incorporate student interests and ideas into the course content and assignments.


Case Example Questions

  • What motivation challenges do you have as a teacher that are not addressed by the case example?


Motivation & Learning

  • Case Example ✓

  • Extrinsic versus Intrinsic Motivation

  • Increasing Student Motivation


What is Motivation?

  • The degree to which someone is invested in the process or outcome of an activity

    • Motivation is primarily influenced by individual goals

    • Individual goals have both internal (natural) and social (nurture) sources

    • Nature and nurture combine to affect how individuals perceive their goals


What affects the perception of learning goals?

  • Values (what matters)

  • Expectancies (what we think will happen)


What type of values affect learning goals?

Sources of Intrinsic (Internal) Motivation:

  • Attainment Value

    • Task/job/activity well done

  • Inherent Value

    • The task/job/activity on its own


What type of values affect learning goals?

Source of Extrinsic (External) Motivation:

  • Instrumental Value

    • Rewards for achieving goals/punishments for failing to achieve goals


The Trouble with Extrinsic Motivation

  • Daniel Pink, The Surprising Science of Motivation, TED Talk, July 2009

    • http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html


The Trouble with Extrinsic Motivation

  • According to Pink in Drive, rewards (and punishments)

    • Extinguish intrinsic motivation

    • Diminish performance

    • Crush creativity

    • Crowd out good behavior

    • Encourage cheating, shortcuts, and unethical behavior

    • Can become addictive

    • Can foster short term thinking


The Value of Intrinsic Motivation

(Also from Drive)

  • Autonomy

    • Control over task, time, technique, team improves performance

  • Mastery

    • Pursuit of mastery most likely to lead to engagement

  • Purpose

    • Purpose goals lead to higher levels of individual satisfaction and sense of well-being


Motivation & Learning

  • Case Example ✓

  • Extrinsic versus Intrinsic Motivation ✓

  • Increasing Student Motivation


What can instructors do to increase students’ motivation to learn?

  • Help students value learning

    • Connect material to their interests

    • Provide authentic tasks

    • Communicate relevance of and connections between subjects

    • Give students more control over their learning


What can instructors do to increase students’ motivation to learn?

  • Use rewards (and punishments) very carefully and as little as possible


When to Use Rewards (from Drive)


What can instructors do to increase students’ motivation to learn?

  • Help students build positive expectancies


How do expectancies affect learning goals?

  • Expectancies = what we think will happen

  • Outcome

    • Specific action will bring about expected/desirable outcome

  • Efficacy

    • Belief that one is capable of action that will bring about the expected outcome

    • More likely when achievements are attributed to internal and controllable causes


What can instructors do to increase students’ motivation to learn?

  • Help students build positive expectancies

    • Identify appropriate level of challenge

    • Create assignments that are not too easy or too difficult

    • Clearly articulate expectations (use rubrics)

    • Be fair in evaluating student work and offer targeted feedback

    • Encourage meaningful self-assessment and practical strategies for improvement


Motivation & Learning

  • Case Example ✓

  • Extrinsic versus Intrinsic Motivation ✓

  • Increasing Student Motivation ✓


Questions/Comments?


References

Ambrose, S.A., et. al. (2010) How learning works: 7 research-based principles for smart teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Pink, D. (2009) Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us. New York: Riverhead Books.

Svinicki, M. (2004) Learning and motivation in the postsecondary classroom. Bolton, MA: Anker.


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