Chapter 4: Motivation

Think of an activity you do regularly that you love. Why do you do it? How hard do you work at it, and why? Now think of an activity you don’t like so much. Why do you do it, and how hard do you work at it? Are there differences between the activities you love and those you dislike, in terms of your reasons for doing them, the effort you put into them, or the results and satisfaction you receive?

Motivation can be defined as “a theoretical construct used to explain the initiation, direction, intensity, persistence, and quality of behavior” (Brophy, 2004, p. 3). Or more simply, the reasons a person engages in a given behavior. It is important for educational technologists to understand and consider motivation when designing learning experiences for students.

There are several theories of motivation that each describe different aspects of the concept and that contribute to our understanding of it in different ways. This chapter briefly introduces the major theories of goal-orientation, expectancy-value, and self-determination theory.

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Foundations of Educational Technology by Penny Thompson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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