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Motivation in educational psychology

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Motivation is of particular interest to Educational psychologists because of the crucial role it plays in student learning. However, the specific kind of motivation that is studied in the specialized setting of education differs qualitatively from the more general forms of motivation studied by psychologists in other fields.

Motivation in education can have several effects on how students learn and their behavior towards subject matter (Ormrod, 2003). It can:

  1. Direct behavior toward particular goals
  2. Lead to increased effort and energy
  3. Increase initiation of, and persistence in, activities
  4. Enhance cognitive processing
  5. Determine what consequences are reinforcing
  6. Lead to improved performance.

Because students are not always internally motivated, they sometimes need situated motivation, which is found in environmental conditions that the teacher creates.

There are two kinds of motivation:

  • Intrinsic motivation occurs when people are internally motivated to do something because it either brings them pleasure, they think it is important, or they feel that what they are learning is morally significant.
  • Extrinsic motivation comes into play when a student is compelled to do something or act a certain way because of factors external to him or her (like money or good grades).

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