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Adult Learning and Motivation
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Theories of Motivation
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Theories of Motivation
Theories of Motivation
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“Motivation is a force that initiates, guides and maintains goal-oriented behaviors.” (Cherry, 2011)
“Motivation refers to the drive and efforts to staisfy a want or goal, whereas satisfaction refers tot he contentment experienced when a want is is satisfied.” (Shah & Shah, part 2, pg 2)
There are many types of learning theories that are realted to motivation: behaviorist, humanist, cognitivist, social learning, and constructivist.
Several theories are available to explain motivation:
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
most widely known motivational theory
basic concept lies in that people have needs, do something to rectify that need and become satisfied and basic needs come first before others can be met
human needs follow of heirarchy flow from lowest to highest
it is these needs that influence human behavior
had 5 basic categories: self-actualization, esteem, belongingness, safety and physiological
Alderfer's ERG Theory
has 3 needs categories: growth needs (development of knowledge and potential), related needs (satisfactory relations with others) and existence needs (physical Well-being)
ERG – Existence- Relatedness- Growth
Acquired Needs Theory (McCelland)
needs are acquired due to life experiences
need for power, affiliation, and achievement
Power: people with a high need for power lean towards influence and control
Affiliation: people are social creatures and need relationships with other individuals and groups which are driven my love and faith
Achievement: people driven by the challenge of success and fear of failure. Peole are motivated by some chance of success
similiar to Maslow and Alderfer
most famous was B.F. Skinner
theorized that learning was pairing of stimuli with one another with a reward for doing good thereby using positive reinforcment to create more learning
people are motivated to do things because of external rewards
the outcome of learning was clear and observable
gave way to criterion based evaluations
treats motivation and behavior as if influenced by beliefs
Drive Reducation Theory:
there are certain biological drives ie. Hunger, upon being satisified, the drive goes away.
Useful in describing behaviors with a stong biological urge
Hard to test as everyone is different
early theories believed learning was “influence was primarily a result of the effects of the learner's prior knowledge and existing schemata (concepts) on the storage and orgainzation of new information, so it was not as if the learner was actively directing his or her learning yet
a person has the drive to attain a specific goal which is often the reward itself. “The goal should be objectively defined and intelligible for the individual.” (Wikipedia, pg 7)
learners are motivated by performance goals, learning goals and even work-avoidant goals
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
: a person has discomfort from incompatability between two decisions. A person then is uses motivation to repair the incompatability by changing a factor that is creating the discord.
(Edward Deci and Richard Ryan): places importance on intrinsic motivation. Similiar to Maslow's hierarchical theory for growth and development but does not include “autopilot” instead requires active encouragement
is when a person in internally motivated to complete a goal
is when a person is forced to do something or act in a certain manner because of outside factors
Professor Steven Reiss and the
16 Basic Desires Theory
(Intrinsic Motivation): these 16 desires govern almost all human behavior: Acceptance, Curiousity, Eating, Family, Honor, Idealism, Independence, Order, Physical Activity, Power, Romance, Saving, Social Contact, Status, Tranquility, Vengence. (Wikipedia, pg. 8)
Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory
: certain factors results in satisifaction but if no factors are present, it doesn't lead to dissatisifaction
Cognitive Evaluation Theory
: 2 kinds of motivators: one or the other of these may be more powerful motivator depending on the person.
a shift from external to internal rewards results in motivation. Even after external rewards are gone, the internal motivation is still present.
: achievement, responsibility and competence. These motivators come from performance
: promotions, feedback. Things that come from a person's environment which is controlled by others
Expectancy x Value Model
“offers a framework for identifying engagement strategies generally, it is also helpful in understanding and devising interventions for at-risk students whose low level of confidence and expectancy of failure have place them in a state of almost chronic disengagement.” (Barkley, pg 14)
increase in motivation by increasing the value of learning and positivity of learning
most widely accepted motivation theory is by Victor Vroom
proposes that “the strength of a tendency to act in a specific way depends on the strength of an expectation that the act will be followed by a given outcome and on the attractiveness of that outcome to the individual to make this simple.” (Shah & Shah, pg 4)
focuses on 3 points: efforts and performance, performance and reward, and reward and personal goal relationships
Valance x Expectancy = motivation>action>results>Satisfaction
premise is that a student's belief about their ability to meet their goal than their skill level or the difficulty of the task.
“students attribute success or failure to a variety of factors such as ability, effort, luck, fatigue, ease or difficulty of exam, and so forth, and that their belief is shaped by their perceptions of why they have succeeded or failed in the past.” (Barkley, pg 12)
people are very much motivated to maintain their sense of self-worth
question effort over ability
Porter and Lawler Model
developed more complete version of motivation on the expectancy theory
based on the notion of actual performance is showen by effort spent but can be affected by a persons ability and perception of the task at hand.
“satisfaction of the individual depends upon the fairness of the reward” (Shah & Shah, pg 4)
Barkley, Elizabeth. (2010). Student Engagement Techniques [The Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series]. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc.
Cherry, Kendra. (2011). Theories of Motivation. Retrieved April 26, 2011, from http:
Shah, Ken, Shah, Prof. Param. (2010). Types of Motivation: Part 2 of Motivation. Retrieved April 26, 2011, from
Shah, Ken, Shah, Prof. Param. (2010). Theories of Motivation: Part 3of Motivation. Retrieved April 26, 2011, from
Svinicki, M.D. (ed.) Teaching and Learning on the Edge of the Millennium
New Directions for Teaching and Learning//
. No. 80. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, Inc. , 1999
Theories of Motivation. Retreived April 28, 2011 from
Wikipedia. (2011). Motivation. Retrieved April 28, 2011, from
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