Motivation to learn.


Motivation is "the process whereby goal‐directed activities are instigated and sustained". Four concepts from this definition:

  1. Motivation is a process
  2. Motivation is focused on a goal
  3. Motivation deals with initiation of activity directed at achieving a goal
  4. Motivation deals with continuation of activity directed at achieving a goal

Five motivation theories:

  1. Expectancy-value
    "The degree to which individuals believe they will be successful if they try (expectancy of success), and the degree to which they perceive that there is a personal importance, value or intrinsic interest in doing the task (task value)."
  2. Attribution (onbewuste, causale uitleg voor resultaten)
    "... explains why people react variably to a given experience, suggesting that different responses arise from differences in the perceived cause of the initial outcome."
  3. Social-cognitive
    "...a theory of learning. It contends that people learn through reciprocal interactions with their environment and by observing others, rather than simply through direct reinforcement of behaviours (as proposed by behaviourist theories of learning)."
  4. Goal orientation
    "Rather than referring to learning objectives (‘My goal is to learn about cardiology’), the goals in this cluster of theories refer to broad orientations or purposes in learning that are commonly subconscious."
    Performance goals: primary concern is doing better than others.
    Mastery goals: focus on intrinsic value of learning (see Intrinsieke motivatie and Extrinsieke motivatie and Zelfdeterminatietheorie).
  5. Self-determination
    "...motivation varies not only in quantity (magnitude) but also in quality (type and orientation)."

Four conclusions:

  1. Motivation is far from a unitary construct. When speaking about motivation, find the theory that supports it, instead of just speaking of "motvation" without a theory backing it up.
  2. Measuring the outcomes of motivation studies is challenging. Which outcomes do you measure? What instruments do you use to measure the selected outcomes?
  3. Researchers should test clear, practical applications of motivation theory. Make sure you can proof a cause-effect (causality).
  4. "We call for research that builds and extends motivation theory for education generally and health professions education specifically." Show that something works, then why it works, then for whom it works, then under what conditions it works.