Motivation and learning
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MOTIVATION AND LEARNING. VIEWS OF MOTIVATION. Behaviourist Expectancy theories Needs theories Self-perception and self-worth theories Learned helplessness Social theories Significant learning. BEHAVIOURISM. A particular stimulus provokes a particular response.

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Motivation and learning l.jpg


Copyright Keith Morrison, 2004

Views of motivation l.jpg

  • Behaviourist

  • Expectancy theories

  • Needs theories

  • Self-perception and self-worth theories

  • Learned helplessness

  • Social theories

  • Significant learning

Copyright Keith Morrison, 2004

Behaviourism l.jpg

  • A particular stimulus provokes a particular response.

  • Behaviour that is positively reinforced is learned.

  • Repetition and rote lead to learning.

  • Learning is largely extrinsic.

  • Negative reinforcement leads to forgetting.

  • Lack of repetition leads to extinction.

  • Learning is conditioned behaviour.

  • Learning is evidenced in observable behaviour.

  • Learners can be programmed; it is robotic.

Copyright Keith Morrison, 2004

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  • Motivation for learning (M) is a function of the expectancies and likelihood of success by the learner (E) and the value that the learner attributes to the goals and outcomes of the learning (V).

  • M = f (E,V).

  • The amount of effort people expend on an activity is a function of the degree of expectancy that they have that a particular activity will lead to better performance, rewards and meeting their own desired objectives.

Copyright Keith Morrison, 2004

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  • Learning is a humanistic activity, engaging all aspects of the person’s make-up.

  • Learners have needs which must be met in a hierarchy.

  • Lower order needs must be satisfied before higher order needs can be met.

  • Self-esteem and self-actualisation are high in the hierarchy.

  • Physical, security and emotional needs precede cognitive needs.

Copyright Keith Morrison, 2004

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The Maslow Hierachy of Needs


standing and




Love and belonging



Copyright Keith Morrison, 2004

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  • Learning is effective if self-esteem and self-worth are high and deserved.

  • Low self-esteem and self-worth are major barriers to effective motivation and learning.

  • Self-esteem and self-worth are linked to the degree control that learners have over their learning.

  • Learners must experience success and a sense of achievement.

  • Learners must be given rich and positive feedback; it is a sign of respect for the learners.

Copyright Keith Morrison, 2004

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  • Learned helplessness is related to loss of control over one’s learning.

  • Learned helplessness occurs when we feel there is no response to a situation we can make to change the course of events, even if we exert maximum effort.

  • Learned helplessness is a consequence of taught dependency, obedience, passive learning, compliance and docility, didactic and irrelevant teaching.

  • Over-emphasis on rewards and punishments (behaviourism) can lead to learned helplessness.

  • Learned helplessness is a motivational problem.

  • Teachers cause learned helplessness.

  • Learned helplessness results from being trained to be locked into a system.

Copyright Keith Morrison, 2004

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  • Lowered initiation of voluntary responses.

  • Negative cognitive set (self-reproach and guilt and tendency to underestimate their effectiveness).

  • Passivity.

  • Lack of self-confidence and feeling hopeless.

  • Poor problem solving.

  • Wandering attention.

  • Poor social skills.

  • Learned helpless children are extrinsically motivated and not so much intrinsically motivated because of their failures.

  • A child suffering from learned helplessness eventually gives up.

  • You only get noticed or attention if you fail.

Copyright Keith Morrison, 2004

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  • The social learning environment is highly significant.

  • Collaborative learning is highly effective.

  • Higher order cognition is motivating, and is socially learned and transmitted.

  • Cognitive, behavioural and environmental factors constantly interact to promote motivation and learning.

  • Students model their learning on their observation of other learners.

  • Effective learning is interactive.

  • Peer group behaviour affects learning significantly.

Copyright Keith Morrison, 2004

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  • Motivation requires personal involvement, interest and commitment.

  • Learning is self-initiated.

  • Learning makes a difference to the ‘whole person’.

  • The learner is involved in the evaluation of learning.

  • Effective teachers must inquire about the significance of the learning for the learner.

  • The teacher, as a ‘significant other’, must be a model of ongoing and effective learning.

  • Learners must be made to feel valued.

Copyright Keith Morrison, 2004

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  • Motivation is a central feature of effective teaching and learning.

  • Motivation is neglected in Macau schools and needs to be addressed a lot more.

  • Make motivation intrinsic; extrinsic motivation risks killing longer-term and deeper, intrinsic motivation.

  • Motivation increases when significant, real-world, social and collaborative learning takes place.

  • Reduce behaviourism, increase self-worth, self-esteem and collaborative learning.

  • Increase student autonomy.

  • Break learned helplessness.

Copyright Keith Morrison, 2004