What is the Place of Motivation in Learning?

Motivation has been defined as impulsion to do something to satisfy a need. The stronger the need, the stronger the impulsion and stronger the motivation Till the need is not satisfied the person remains in the state of tension. This state of tension forces him to something to satisfy the need and reduce his tension.

The need is satisfied by the attainment of a goal perceived by the person himself and learning results from action directed towards the attainment of that goal. An example will make the matters clear.

The child, who has an appetite for candy, feels a need and if a challenging problem is placed before him to find out the candy which is hidden under a book placed in a shelf in an almirah he feels a kind of tension and is motivated to screech it out.

Till he does not discover the book under which the piece of candy lies, he remains in the state of tension. The stronger is the appetite for candy, and the stronger is the desire to find it out, and the stronger is the motivation to learn.

Incentive Motivation |

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Other definitions of motivation and motives are given below:

1. Motivation is the process of arousing, sustaining and regulating activity. Good

2. A motive is particular internal factor or conditions that tend to initiate and sustain activity. J.P. Guilford


3. A motive is a state or set of the individual which disposes him for certain behaviour and for seeking certain goal. Woodworth

4. Motives are conditions physiological and psychological within the organism that dispose it to act in certain ways. McDougall

The Place of Motivation in Learning

Motivation, arouses, sustains, directs and determines the intensity of learning effort. Therefore, it is said that without motivation learning is not possible at any level. Motivation is at the heart of learning.


And no teacher who hopes to induce learning can ignore motivation. The central problem faced by the school involves motivational status of its students. Various ways and means that have been devised to motivate the students to learn are given below:

(1) Intrinsic and Extrinsic Forms of Motivation

Motivation has been classified as intrinsic and extrinsic. The intrinsically motivated child does an act, because the mere performance of the act pleases him and because its outcome satisfies him.

For example, he solves a problem because he has a strong desire to do so and he does so whether his teacher requires him to do or not. He solves even the most difficult mathematical problems because finding a solution appeals to him as an end in itself.

(2) Intrinsic Motivation

It is a state of impulsion in which the learner wants to learn something for its own sake. The teacher, who impresses upon the child the idea that learning a particular subject has its own rewards, is using the most powerful weapon.

If all our activities were intrinsically motivated we would have derived very great satisfaction in life. Very few learners learn a thing for its own sake. Hence intrinsic motivation is unrealistic in practice

(3) Extrinsic Motivation

It is defined as a state is which a child learns something not for his own sake, but as a means of obtaining some desirable goal which is artificially related to the activity.

For example, the child, who solves a problem in algebra or who does his home assignments not for his own sake but either to avoid his teacher’s sarcasm, is extrinsically motivated.

Many students learn a lesson or master a subject because they want to gain approval or prestige or regard from their teachers or their parents or their class­mates.

In reality, most of the behaviour of children in schools or adults in general is extrinsically motivated. A boy, who wants to learn how to deliver a speech in the public both for his own sake and for the cup he will win, is in a fortunate position.

It is the function of school to help the child progress from his present status to a more advanced one by inducing him to learn something for its own sake but where intrinsic motivation is not possible sensible extrinsic motivation can be accepted as a substitute. The teacher may ask the child to accept something originally extrinsic as worthwhile and interesting to him for his own sake.

For example, if the child wants to learn problem-solving in algebra, he may be asked to take interest in the solution of equations for its own sake.

The child, if interested in the steps for their own sake and if strongly motivated to go through a series of such steps as may be helpful for the solution of the problem, will certainly achieve the desired goal.

Motivation whether intrinsic or extrinsic forces an individual to learn but there are conditions for its successful operation. Those teaching methods are found to be effective ‘which pay a necessary regard to students’ interests and experiences. Motivation is the art of stimulating interest in the pupil’, says Thompson.

Children learn the material which is related to their needs, concerns and environment the teacher should start with the interest a child has and relate his school work to those interests so clearly and effectively that he may have strong desire to learn.

The teacher who wants to attract the attention of students should find out and make use of interests of his children. If the learning is to be permanent, mere arousal of interest is not enough; interest has to be sustained also.

The children have to be led to keep on trying to learn and progress in a particular subject in spite of all kinds of difficulties, distractions and interferences. In simple words, the children should be led to persist in their goal. The more motivated they are in attaining the goal, the greater will be their goal persistence.

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