Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation within the Context of Modern Education

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation within the Context of Modern Education

Martin Timothy Hall (Charles Sturt University, Australia) and Jason E. Marshall (University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9634-1.ch014


This chapter examines the implications of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation for modern education. The historical antecedents of these two distinct motivational sources will be highlighted and their implications discussed within the framework of contemporary education. More specifically, the focus of this chapter is on the importance of fostering motivation among students in modern educational spaces such as: gifted classrooms, inclusive settings, and technology assisted teaching spaces. Deci and Ryan's (2000) Self Determination Theory provides the theoretical lens through which this discussion is framed. Three basic psychological needs have been highlighted and explicated. These psychological needs - competence, autonomy, and relatedness are examined as catalysts that can be used to promote and maintain motivation in modern teaching and learning spaces. Recommendations are advanced on instructional practices that educators can use to create classroom environments that facilitate motivation.
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Education has evolved from the era where teachers didactically engaged students mainly through face-to-face modalities (Redman, 2011). According to Redman, the infusion of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has caused a shift from traditional pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning. Techniques now used in modern education have advanced and precipitated a new academic ethos requiring a paradigm shift in how ideas are contextualized and understood (Redman, 2011). Virtual classrooms, blended formats, online instruction and MOOCs now typify modern day teaching and learning spaces. One may argue that education has been hit by the ‘digital meteorite’. This has led to the emergence of innovative instructional strategies (such as gamification) that are designed to stimulate interest and excitement to learn among students (Sailer, Hense, Mandl, & Klevers, 2013). This technological surge has placed pressure on educators to move away from sole reliance on traditional face-to-face methods to the incorporation of teaching methods that include online instruction (Redman, 2011).

Although the infusion of technology into education is inextricably linked to the modern education era, other classroom models characterise modern day teaching and learning spaces. These include: inclusive, gifted, and student-centred classrooms. These changes are a reflection of how today’s society is evolving, and mirrors global changes in lifestyles, culture, and the needs of the modern generation. At the core of these educational transformations is the desire to increase student interest and motivation to learn. Learning theory and design in the area of motivation research provides a solid foundation on which instruction can be designed in modern educational spaces. In light of this, the purpose of this chapter is to provide a framework which demonstrates how advances in motivational principles related to learning theory and design are incorporated into contemporary learning spaces.

Instructional design and planning has become more student-centred, and with this, the increased use of technology in this digital age will be necessary to keep students interested and motivated to learn. Moreover, educators now more so than ever, are required to become flexible in their pedagogical and andragogical approaches to teaching. Unlike previous teaching eras, students are now considered to be at the helm of teaching and learning, particularly as educators aim to employ modern-day student-centred learning practices. Teachers are encouraged to foster within students, a genuine desire to learn and achieve. In light of this, student motivation has re-emerged as a primary focus in learning environments.

Research has consistently shown that the use of didactic teaching methods along with the unwillingness of some educators to adapt to the current trends in education are counterproductive and serve to impede student motivation (Burbules & Callister, 2000). By contrast, most researchers concede that educators who are flexible and innovative in their teaching approaches are more likely to positively influence student motivation (Blumenfeld, Soloway, Marx, Krajcik, Guzdial, & Palincsar, 1991; Dolezal, Welsh, Pressley, & Vincent, 2003; Heafner, 2004). Given the positive results associated with students who are high on motivation, it has received considerable attention in the academic literature over the years. However, despite burgeoning research which corroborates the positive impacts of motivation, there is still some concern about how this construct operates and is mediated by external stimuli within modern educational spaces. As such this chapter focuses on motivation among students in modern educational spaces such as: gifted classrooms, inclusive settings, and technology-assisted teaching spaces.

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