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Learning through motivation

  • Published at 11:59 pm February 28th, 2019
How can teaching be effective?
How can teaching be effective? / BIGSTOCK

Making students genuinely interested in learning

Motivation and the nature of the learning experience are important factors for all learners, especially for those with issues like dyslexia. These factors need to be taken into account when developing a program of learning and executed with motivation, focusing on all learners.

Researchers have always said that learning is much deeper than memorization and information recall. 

Profound and long-lasting learning involves understanding, relating ideas, and making connections between prior and new knowledge, independent and critical thinking, and the ability to transfer knowledge to innovative and different contexts. 

And motivation is what drives individuals. It is what stimulates people to take action to accomplish their goals. 

Situational motivation exists when an environment enhances motivation to learn particular things or behave in particular ways. 

Educators can do many things to create a classroom environment that motivates students to learn and behave in ways that encourage their long-standing achievement. 

Learning psychology focuses specifically on motivation for learning rather than for behaviour. The major types of motivation for learning are intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation comes from within the student or from factors inherent in the task being implemented.

And motivation can be learned. Most motivation theorists assume that motivation is involved in the act of all learned responses; that is, a learned behaviour will not occur unless it is energized. 

The most important question among psychologists, in general, is whether motivation is a primary or secondary influence on behaviour.

Motivation involves the biological, emotional, social, and cognitive powers that motivate behaviour. Motives are the “whys” of behaviour, the needs or wants that drive people’s behaviour.

The determination and importance of motivation should be undoubtedly understood by the educator. The fundamental purpose of motivation is to stimulate and to facilitate learning. Learning is a vigorous process that needs to be motivated and guided towards a desirable goal.

Key learning principles

Learner motivation is sometimes deterred by fear of failure, based on the belief that grades amount to a judgment of their personal ability or intelligence rather than their performance on a specific learning assignment. This is a part of what drives intense learner interest in achieving high grades, in addition to beliefs about how their grades may affect future prospects.

To instructors, grades do not hold the same meaning as for learners; instructors’ primary goal is for students to learn the course material for its own sake. 

Because learners are so invested in grades, their expectations of a course can be very different from or at odds with their educators’ expectations.

Learning atmospheres and course designs that leverage intrinsic motivation and curiosity increase the students’ knowledge.

While asked what makes them learn and work hard in school, students typically say that they are trying to get the best grade possible. Grades, in fact, are the main focus of most learners, ie, extrinsic motivation. 

Only as a secondary reason do learners list the desires to become knowledgeable, to prove themselves, and to avoid errors, ie, intrinsic motivations. Knowledge about the content of the course for its own sake is the last of the reasons learners give.

Various strategies can connect with learners’ interests so that they come closer to their instructors’ goals for them. These include: 

λ Systematizing a lesson plan around a problem for learners to resolve using the course material. The problem should relate to things learners are already attracted to 

λ If the learner is creating his own course, organizing the entire course around a large question or problem that the course material will eventually enable them to accurately explain and resolve

λ Attaching course material with the non-academic world 

λ Taking advantage of events that the learners are interested in 

λ Engaging with their curiosity, which is invaluable for creating intrinsic interest. 

It is important to ensure that the learning experience is extended through constructivist approaches to schooling, teaching, and learning through motivation. 

Taslim Ahammad is Assistant Professor, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University (BSMRSTU), Gopalganj, Bangladesh.