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  2. 2. 2MOTIVATION Motivation in the process of learning Motivation is an aspect that has attracted a number of researchers whose aim is toresearch on the topic and offer their views regarding the same. The notion motivation applies inall aspects of life. According to studies, motivation is a major factor that should be considered ifindividuals are to perform their level best in all activities(Vallerand, 1993). For instance, inorganizations, motivation has been pointed out as one of the major factors that results to successthrough productivity enhancements; in learning, students are able to perform better only whenthey are motivated. Studies have revealed that motivation is an essential element of learning(Corno and Randi, 1997).Motivation is defined as the aspiration to attain a specific objective,combined with the energy to work towards achieving that goal (Boekaerts, 1998). Motivation issomething which directs, energizes, and maintains behaviour and in learning, it assists studentsin moving forward, points them in a specific direction and furthermore keeps them going (Turnerand Meyer, 1998).Frequently, students’ motivation is mirrored in personal investment and inemotional, cognitive and behavioural engagement in various school activities(Boekaerts, 1998;Corno and Randi, 1997). This paper will seek to explain the role of motivation in the learningprocess. Essentially, students are motivated in various ways. For instance, some students may bedeeply interested in classroom activities and as a result, look for challenging course work, takepart in class discussions, which leads them to earning better grades on assigned projects. On theother hand, other students may be interested in the social side of the school, attendextracurricular activities, and interact frequently with students. Motivation is of specific interestto various academicians including educational psychologists due to the essential role it plays inthe process of learning. Nevertheless, the particular type of motivation which is studied in the
  3. 3. 3MOTIVATIONeducation setting is in terms of quantitative factors from the general forms of motivation that arestudied in other fields by psychologists (Corno and Randi, 1997). It is apparent that learners who are motivated to learn employ complex cognitive learningprocesses. Certainly, motivation to undertake a specific activity comes about in various ways.For instance, it can be either a personality characteristic or a long lasting interest in a particularactivity. There are various theories of motivation some of which put forth that motivation is tiedto the perception that past behaviours which have been rewarded are more probable to berepeated by students in future(Boekaerts, 1998). Thus past experiences are believed to motivatelearners to take part in future ones. Students’ motivation which is influenced by their teachers’expectations also plays a vital role in enhancing the process of learning. Research has typicallyfound out that learners will live down or up to their tutors’ expectations, especially in youngergrades, a time when tutors know quite little regarding their learners’ levels of attainment (Cornoand Randi, 1997). In order to make certain that students prevail in their learning, teachers mustmake certain that they communicate efficiently positive expectations. Some of these expectationsencompass: treating all the students the same in addition to spending equal time with them,waiting for the learner to respond to a specific question before asking another student, andensuring that no distinction is made regarding achievement amongst students (Corno and Randi,1997). This kind of motivation will definitely make students- both the fast and slow learners-identify themselves with learning, putting their all effort with an aim of succeedingacademically. In the education process, motivation plays various roles and affects student’s behaviourtowards learning and subject matter. One of the major roles played by motivation is improvingstudent performance. As stipulated by Turner and Meyer (1998)90% of the students who excel in
  4. 4. 4MOTIVATIONtheir examinations are those who are enormously motivated. For instance, motivation helpsstudents, especially those pursing science courses to fully participate in research, which is a keyfactor of improving academic excellence. Through other influences of motivation includingeffort and energy, goal-directed behaviour, cognitive processing, initiation and persistence, andthe effects of results, motivation usually results to enhanced performance. This means thatlearners who are highly motivated to learn and succeed in classroom activities usually tend to bethe highest achievers (Wentzel, 1996). Research has proven that motivation is directly linkedwith performance and success implying that the higher the levels of motivation, the higher theperformance and the opposite also applyBased on these arguments, it is clear that the need tomotivate students is an urgent measure that should be enacted in all learning institutions globally. Furthermore motivation directs student’s behaviour towards specific goals. As proposedby social cognitive theorists, students set goals and objectives for themselves and also direct theirbehaviour in view of that(Wentzel, 1996).According to Boekaerts(1998) motivation determinesstudent particular objectives towards which they strive to achieve. This implies that it impactsthe choices individuals make, for example, whether to study specific subjects such as chemistryor physics, or whether to spend their leisure or part time completing certain class assignments.This means that whatever students thrive to achieve or the goals they set is partly determined byhow motivated they are. Motivated students will always set goals and direct their behaviourtowards accomplishing the same. Achievement motivation, which is deemed as the mostsignificant type of motivation which explains the tendencies of individuals to choose goaloriented activities and strive for achievement. The only difference in students’ success isdissimilarity on how they are motivated. Research has confirmed that some students aremotivated to learn whereas others are motivated to perform well which results to the attainment
  5. 5. 5MOTIVATIONof better grades (Vallerand, 1993).It is necessary for tutors to convince their learners on theimportance of efficient learning rather than just obtaining good grades as the former is the aim ofacademic work. Through the emphasis of practical importance and interest value of the materialsbeing studied, teachers can be able to achieve this objective. Motivation is also evidenced to contribute to amplified energy and effort. Research hasproven that motivation boosts energy and effort that students extend in various activities that aredirectly linked to their goals and needs (Boekaerts, 1998). It determines if such students will beable to wholeheartedly and enthusiastically pursue a task or they will undertake themlackadaisically or apathetically. According to studies, motivated students are able to put all theireffort and energy in specific activities such preparing personal timetables, setting aside sometime to undertake their assignments and complete them in time in addition to taking time to studyon their own.Initiation and perseverance in various activities is also increased by motivation.Studies have revealed that students are more probable to initiate a specific assignment they reallywant to undertake and in addition, such students are more likely to carry on working until suchtasks are completed even though they are frustrated or interrupted in the process (Corno andRandi, 1997). Generally, it is true that motivation boosts learners time on certain tasks and this isdeemed to be a significant factor which affects their learning and attainment. Besides, studies have proven that motivation influences cognitive processes. Accordingto Corno and Randi (1997)motivation impacts what students pay attention to and how efficientlythey process it. For example, studies have revealed that motivated students usually make acombined attempt to correctly understand what they are taught in the classroom and in addition,learn it eloquently as well as considering how they can be able to use the knowledge obtained toimprove their lives. It is apparent that some subjects such as mathematics and physics are
  6. 6. 6MOTIVATIONdeemed by students to be very hard but through motivation, this can be overcome. Studies havein fact revealed that the number of students enrolling in these subjects have increased in themodern times with most students (over 60 percent) enrolling in the same enthusiastically andenergetically and recording better performance(Wentzel, 1996). Motivation also determines which effects are punishing and reinforcing(Wentzel, 1996).It is apparent that more students are motivated to attain academic success. For instance, moststudents will be proud after attaining an A grade and will be upset after obtaining a low grade.This means that learners will work towards attaining a better grade in order to be respected andaccepted by their peers and avoid distress which is brought about by ridicule from their fellowclassmates after obtaining low grades. For learners who are not interested in specific subjects,passing or failing in such subjects is not a big deal but to a student who is interested in thosespecific subjects but cannot get better grades may be an effect of monumental significance.Through motivation from teachers and fellow students, the latter student can be able to formulateshort term goals which will assist him/her undertake his studies effectively resulting to success. Research has revealed that students are highly motivated in performing activities theyperceive to have significance competence or that which they value (Boekaerts, 1998). Forinstance, some students may like particular subjects such as economics as they deem them to besimple, whilst other may like physics because they want to enroll in certain careers such asengineering, while others do not like specific subjects but they do their best because they aremotivated by various factors and individuals. Generally, students who value novel skills alwaysestablishfavourable motivational beliefs (Corno and Randi, 1997).Most students undertake andcomplete assignments which they do not value just because they will receive some rewards fromitsuch as social approval, high marks or a pass (Vallerand,1993). Students who merely embarkon
  7. 7. 7MOTIVATIONlearning assignments with an aim of getting a reward can be termed to be extrinsically motivated.For instance, students may claim to hate mathematics tests but they are always motivated in oneway or another by their teachers, parents or friends before undertaking the exercise. On the otherhand, some students may be said to be intrinsically motivated and these groups of students neednot to invest energy and effort and besides they feel gratified from performing an activity. Anintrinsically motivated activity is an activity that is not influenced by external factors andstudents will always perform it from free will. For example, learners who are intrinsicallymotivated may put forth that they lose track of time while performing certain activities. In caseof difficulties, such learners continue with the activity due to the fact that they experience afeeling of self-determination (Boekaerts, 1998) According to Wentzel (1996) students are usually excited and eager to learn novel thingsat school during the early elementary grades. However, this intrinsic motivation to master subjectmatter and learn new things declines with time and this is linked to a number of factors. Forinstance, as put forth by Vallerand(1993)extrinsic motivators are employed to students as theybecome older whereby there are frequently reminded of the significance of good grades forcollege admission, graduation or for promotion which makes them to focus their energy andefforts to obtaining high grades. Moreover, such students develop to be more cognitively capableof setting and striving for long term objectives, and they start to assess school subjects based ontheir significance to such objectives, rather than on the basis of any intrinsic appeal (Vallerand,1993). Besides, learners may grow greatly impatient with the repetitive, overly structured, andboring activities which they frequently encounter at school. As a result, extrinsic motivation inthe form of extrinsic reinforcers for productive behaviour or academic attainment may be termedas one of the main factors which ascertainstudents’ success in the process of learning.
  8. 8. 8MOTIVATIONNevertheless, intrinsic motivation is eventually what maintains learners in the long run. This istrue because intrinsic motivation encourages students to make sense of and further put what theyare learning in application and this boosts the odds that they will keep on reading and learningabout various academic subjects even after leaving their formal education(Vallerand, 1993). Ingeneral, it is true saying that motivation, both intrinsic and extrinsic are very beneficial in theprocess of learning although intrinsic motivation is deemed to be more effective compared toextrinsic motivation due to the fact that students feel contented while participating in a certainactivity. Still, motivation assists in developing students’ self- efficacy. Contemporary ideas ofcognitive development emphasize that the construction of knowledge differs as a function ofstudents’ developmental level and experiences(Boekaerts, 1998).These ideas focus onmodifications in processing functions, for instance, encoding, attention, metacognition, retrievaland use of strategies (Wentzel, 1996). Self-efficacy is delineated as the belief that a person hasthe capacity of performing in a specific manner to achieve particular set objectives. Mostresearch reveals that self-efficacy highly sways learning, academic motivation, and achievement(Boekaerts, 1998). Self-efficacy is influenced by various factors including psychological factors,social persuasions, modeling and experience. Mastery experience is deemed to be the mostessential factor determining an individual’s self-efficacy. Success is linked with high self-efficacy whereas failure reduces it. Besides individuals self-efficacy will amplify when they seeother individuals succeeding while it will lower when they see other individuals failing. Thisimplies that self-efficacy is directly linked to motivation; the more persons are motivated thehigher their self-efficacy which will assist in promotes learning while the opposite also applies.
  9. 9. 9MOTIVATION In conclusion, it is apparent from this assessment that motivation plays a major role in theprocess of learning. In fact, studies have revealed that motivation is an essential element oflearning.Some of the major roles of motivation as discussed in the essay include improvingstudent performance, directs student’s behaviour towards specific goals, motivation alsodetermines which effects are punishing and reinforcing, motivation influences cognitiveprocesses, and it contributes to amplified effort and energy. Frequently, students’ motivation ismirrored in personal investment and in emotional, cognitive and behavioural engagement invarious school activities(Boekaerts, 1998). For this reason, teachers are encouraged to motivatetheir students and treat them equally in the classroom as this will assist in enhancing the learningprocess.
  10. 10. 10MOTIVATION ReferencesBoekaerts, M. (1998). Boosting students’ capacity to promote their own learning: a goal theory perspective. Research dialogue in learning and instruction, 1, (1), 13–22Corno, L. and Randi, J. (1997).Motivation, volition and collaborative innovation in classroom literacy.Reading, engagement: motivating readers through integrated instruction, Newark, DE, International Reading Association.Turner, J.C and Meyer, D.K. (1998).Integrating classroom context into motivation theory and research: rationales, methods, and implications.Advances in motivation and achievement: a research annual, 11, 87–121. Greenwich, CT, JAI Press.Vallerand, R. J. (1993). The Academic Motivation Scale: A Measure of Intrinsic, Extrinsic, and motivation in Education. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 52, (4), 1003-17Wentzel, K.R. (1996). Social and academic motivation in middle school: concurrent and long- term relations to academic effort. Journal of early adolescence, 16, (4), 390–406.