HPL II – Chapter 6 – Motivation to Learn

Motivation changes.

“Motivation is also increasingly viewed as an emergent phenomenon, meaning it can develop over time and change as a result of one’s experiences with learning and other circumstances” (p.111).

This makes it a challenging concept to pin down to a neat set of bulleted points to follow. However, it does not mean that learner motivation can not be impacted by a teacher’s actions. This chapter connects motivation to several components of a learners’ beliefs and values including

  • A growth vs. fixed mindset
  • Self-efficacy
  • A sense of belonging
  • The value of a task to a learner (based on interest, connection to learner identity)
  • Learner interest (personal or situational)

Intrinsic motivation has a strong impact on learners as well. Autonomy, competence, and psychologoical relatedness all play a role in motivating learners. (p.115). Conversely the impact of external rewards on learning is strongly contested with some believing that “External rewards…may also undermine the learner’s perception of autonomy and control” (p. 115). However, others point out that external rewards like praise can positively impact learning if they focus on interest, encouragement, and guiding learner progress (p. 116). It’s also important that praise focus on effort vs. ability.

Putting it into practice – tips for applying this information in the classroom

  1. Incorporate self-assessments and goal setting into the introduction of the course to enable students to integrate interests and strengths into their plan for the course.
  2. Include community building activities like peer review and pre-assessment into your course structure to reinforce a sense of belonging among the group. Use office hours to get a better read on students’ sense of belonging as the course progresses. Make adjustments as needed based on this feedback.
  3. Ask students to monitor and share their progress towards personal goals and next steps based on this progress throughout the course.
  4. Use the information collected in steps 1 and 3 to help direct feedback to guide learner progress and their effort towards meeting those goals
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