Even if you think you already know the answer to this question, there is a need to reexamine the definition here, as it applies directly to the topic at hand. According the article on “Igniting a Love of Learning in All Students” plainly put: “Intrinsic motivation is the natural curiosity and desire to learn that we are all born with. We experience intrinsic motivation when we find ourselves seeking answers to a question that intrigues us or pushing ourselves to work hard to master a skill. Extrinsic motivation is when we work for an external reward or to avoid an external punishment provided by someone else (Gianni 2010)”. The authors continue: “When students are extrinsically motivated, they participate because they expect a desirable outcome like a reward or avoidance of punishment (Gianni 2010)”. However, when an intrinsic mode for learning has been accessed and incorporated into the learning environment, student engagement increases, where profound student learning begins its process of becoming a deep-seated trend in their own personal learning style.
Further quoting the depth of the article as it applies to student learning: “Researchers have found that intrinsic beliefs in our ability to be successful influence our level of motivation”, and “that working on a task for intrinsic reasons rather than extrinsic influences are not only more enjoyable for the participant, but it also facilitates learning and achievement.” “Researchers also have found that people have an innate desire to learn for the sake of learning and that this intrinsic desire is connected to our engagement in learning new concepts or skills (Gianni et.al 2010).” And while, “extrinsic rewards have been shown to be effective when used with students who were not intrinsically motivated…”, this form of incentive was only effective “when rewards were given initially followed by increasingly longer periods of time in which no rewards were given to reinforce effort and persistence.” The authors continue: “Extrinsic rewards must be given immediately following the success, as people in general and middle school students in particular are not motivated by rewards that are too far in the future. Researchers have also found that extrinsic praise or positive reinforcement of behaviors such as effort or persistence rather than fixed traits such as intelligence can increase behaviors associated with motivation. (Gianni et.al 2010)”
Now that we have established the difference between the two types of motivation, and which one is preferred for developing long-term learning patterns that will endure beyond the classroom, the authors further discuss the rationale that addresses the two contrasting forms. In addition to advocating for the lifelong learner in each of us, particularly our students, the authors continue to offer insight into the value of the daily learner’s innate desire to learn and grow, acknowledging that: “Learning and intrinsic motivation are also mutually reinforcing; intrinsic motivation facilitates learning, and when students acquire new skills and observe their own growth, they feel more successful and their intrinsic desire to learn increases.” However, while taking the time to establish an individualized learning environment that accounts for the personal motivation of each and every student certainly sacrifices time better spent working towards proficiency, because “indeed, instilling intrinsic motivation is a longer process that may use some external rewards, but (that time spent building a learning community) really focuses on self-improvement and helps students to shift from doing something for a reward or for a teacher or parent to doing something for themselves. (Gianni 2010)”.
Giani, Matt, and O’Guinn, Christina. “Motivation to Learn: Igniting a Love of Learning in All Students.” John W. Garder Center at Stanford University. 2010. PDF file retrieved from: jgc.stanford.edu/docs/YiM_WA3_Motivation_to_Learn.doc
This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.