Motivation is an essential factor in the
learning process since it is considered to be the driving force that influences
students to complete tasks which build their knowledge.
Irvin et al. (2017) supports that there are
two different types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. On the one hands, intrinsic
motivation comes from within and it is associated with the joy or passion that
the task itself gives the learner rather than any kind of external reward. On
the other hand, extrinsic motivation has more to do with external factors which
are associated with the task. These factors can also be related to learning
conditions, educational technologies and other elements such as learning tools
and systems. Moreover, grading-wise, according to Ward and Bodner (1993) by evaluating
student performance on an absolute scale rather than comparing students against
each other emphasizes student participation and self-improvement in the
Woodburn (1977) emphasizes the contributions
of the discipline itself as it relates to current daily activities students
perform. He claims that students are motivated since they know that what they
are learning has a “greater purpose”. By knowing that want they learn in the
classroom has relevance and significance to their daily lives and eventually
their future careers, their motivation level is increasing.
Another aspect of motivation is the concept
of motivation in relation to psychological needs. Taking the leaders role in
modern motivation theory, Ryan and Deci (2000) formulated the self-determination
theory that links motivation to well-being and social development. The theory
claims that humans are pro-active and engaged based on their social condition
in terms of competence, autonomy and happiness. This concept has proved to be
also applicable to students in their development and motivation for learning.
Based on it, students are motivated to learn if they perceive having adequate
support from their social environment, a positive environment to master skills
and tasks, and an environment where their needs are met.
By having a look at the bigger picture of
what motivation implies, social factors are also relevant. Anderman and Kaplan
(2008) researched various types of social motivational factors, from classroom
settings, social motives, and the role of culture, to interpersonal and
relational factors in student interaction. In a special issue of the Journal of
Experimental Education they have concluded that classroom social environment
and student-teacher interaction play a significant role in student motivation.
Ryan and Patrick (2001) report that when students feel a sense of relatedness
or belonging they are motivated to learn and perform well in school. Students
feel this sense of belonging if they believe teachers are supportive of social
aspects in the classroom, such as promoting interaction and respect among
students. Teachers report that students are motivated to perform well if they
believe their teachers care for their social, as well as academic needs.
Other than that, on a more personal level,
student feelings and emotions directly relate to social factors in the form of
interpersonal relationships with their peers, parents, and teachers. Ainley
(2006) claims that emotions play an important role in motivation and cognition
as these three factors are important drivers of learning. As a conclusion, interest
in learning raises alertness and attention, which is essential in the process
of facilitating someone’s desire to learn.