Psychology of Learning and Motivation

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Additionally, instructors conducting practice activities at spaced intervals distributed practice will help students achieve greater increases in long-term retrieval ability.

Practice tests should include open-ended questions that require both the retrieval of existing knowledge and the challenge of applying that information to new situations or contexts, thus also incorporating principle four. See also the APA teaching module on practice for knowledge acquisition. This principle highlights the importance of instructor responses and indicates the best manner in which to deliver feedback to students in order to maintain or increase motivation to learn.

Providing students with clear, explanatory and timely feedback is important for learning. Self-regulation skills, including attention, organization, self-control, planning and memory strategies, improve learning and engagement and can be taught through direct instruction, modeling and classroom organization.

Teachers can model organizational methods and assist students by highlighting learning targets at the start and conclusion of lessons, using classroom calendars, highlighting difficult concepts that will require more practice, breaking large projects into manageable components, using well designed rubrics and allowing sufficient processing time through questioning, summarizing and practice.

Psychology students can apply this research to their own study habits such as learning to practice self-control by limiting the distractions presented by cell phones and social media. Students can also be encouraged to design experiments related to the limits of attention and discuss the practical implications of their results. Creativity is considered a critical skill for the technology driven world of the 21st century and because it is not a stable trait, it can be taught, nurtured and increased.

This principle describes specific methods of structuring assignments to increase creativity and ideas for how to model creative problem solving. Creativity in the psychology classroom can include opportunities for student-designed research projects, video projects, demonstrations and model building. Students who are motivated and interested in learning are more successful. CPSE has outlined the most important ways to help increase student motivation and engagement.

Students tend to enjoy learning and to do better when they are more intrinsically rather than extrinsically motivated to achieve.

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This principle is directed at how instructors can increase intrinsic motivation through classroom practices and activities that support the fundamental need of students to feel autonomous. It is important to note that not everything of importance is intrinsically motivating to all students and that there is a place for extrinsic motivation in education.

During the unit on motivation, when intrinsic and extrinsic motivations are typically discussed, students can examine their personal motivations and how they influence their success. Lastly, students can examine the research related to the overjustification effect, also discussed in this principle. For more information about motivation and the over-justification effect and how they impact student performance, see the TED talk by psychologist Dan Pink. Students persist in the face of challenging tasks and process information more deeply when they adopt mastery goals rather than performance goals.

Students who form mastery goals are focused on attaining new skills or increasing existing ability, but students who develop performance goals typically are focused simply on showing adequate ability. When students set performance goals, they have a tendency to avoid tasks that might expose weaknesses and end up missing opportunities that would foster the development of new skills.


Those with mastery goals are more likely to be motivated to learn new skills and achieve higher levels of competence. Principle 10 provides specific methods for organizing instruction that can be used to help students choose mastery over performance goals although under certain circumstances such as competitions, performance goals may be more appropriate. Psychological research has uncovered ways for teachers to communicate high expectations for all students and avoid creating negative self-fulfilling prophecies.

When discussing self-fulfilling prophecies and the Rosenthal and Jacobson study during the social psychology unit, Principle 11 can be used by teachers to show students how they can prevent negative self-fulfilling prophecies. Setting goals that are short term proximal , specific and moderately challenging enhances motivation more than establishing goals that are long term distal , general and overly challenging. This principle explains how students can use short-term proximal , specific and moderately challenging goals to increase self-efficacy and build toward larger goals.

Students should maintain a record of progress toward their goals which is monitored by both the student and the instructor. After students experience success with moderately challenging proximal goals, they will be more likely to become intermediate risk takers, which is one of the most significant attributes present in achievement-oriented individuals.

As a result, they will be capable of achieving larger distal goals.

Theories of Motivation

Tips based on this principle can easily be used to create engaging class assignments for the motivation unit in the introduction to psychology curriculum. These principles reflect the importance of relationships, culture, community and well-being on learning.

They focus on how instructors can help students by fostering healthy relationships with them and an interest in their lives outside the classroom. Principle 13 emphasizes how the various communities students belong to e. This principle is related specifically to many concepts from social psychology e. Introductory psychology classes can incorporate opportunities for students to engage with the larger community through service-learning projects, guest speakers and psychology clubs.

Motivation, memory & the mind: The psychology of learning a language

Interpersonal relationships and communication are critical to both the teaching-learning process and the social development of students. This principle provides detailed and specific guidelines for improving both teacher-student and student-peer relationships in the classroom. Various components of emotional well-being can be included across many psychology units, such as self-concept and self-esteem social psychology , self-efficacy and locus of control motivation and personality and happiness and coping skills emotion and stress.

The two principles related to classroom management emphasize how to develop a classroom climate that enhances learning. Expectations for classroom conduct and social interaction are learned and can be taught using proven principles of behavior and effective classroom instruction. Numerous research-based ideas are presented for both correcting inappropriate student behaviors and for establishing appropriate replacement behaviors at both the classroom and school-wide levels.

Effective classroom management is based on a setting and communicating high expectations, b consistently nurturing positive relationships, and c providing a high level of student support. This principle highlights practical techniques to create a culture of high academic achievement and positive classroom behavior at both the classroom and school levels.

Volume 71. The Psychology of Learning and Motivation

The Top 20 document references information about restorative practices and social and emotional learning that includes a variety of specific and practical strategies for building teacher-student relationships. The three principles devoted to the process of student evaluation discuss methods for creating and implementing valid and fair assessments that contribute to student learning.

Formative and summative assessments are both important and useful, but they require different approaches and interpretations. Formative assessments are typically used as a part of everyday practice and are given either prior to or during instruction. Such tools are designed to collect evidence regarding the progress of student learning in order to provide effective guidance.

Summative assessments, on the other hand, result in an overall evaluation of student learning or program effectiveness and are typically utilized at the end of a unit or course thus having more limited impact on current instruction. Frequent use of formative assessment accompanied by immediate and specific instruction helps students achieve learning goals and assume a greater responsibility of their own learning process.

Psychology of Learning and Motivation: Volume 60

The analysis of data collected through formative assessment allows the instructor to differentiate instruction and provide appropriate individualized support. See also the APA teaching module on formative assessment. Student skill, knowledge, and ability are best measured with assessment processes grounded in psychological science with well-defined standards for quality and fairness. Those who have mastery goals strive to increase their ability and knowledge. Those who have performance approach goals strive for high grades and seek opportunities to demonstrate their abilities.

Those who have performance avoidance goals are driven by fear of failure and avoid situations where their abilities are exposed. Research has found that mastery goals are associated with many positive outcomes such as persistence in the face of failure, preference for challenging tasks, creativity and intrinsic motivation.

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Performance avoidance goals are associated with negative outcomes such as poor concentration while studying, disorganized studying, less self-regulation, shallow information processing and test anxiety. Performance approach goals are associated with positive outcomes, and some negative outcomes such as an unwillingness to seek help and shallow information processing. Home Educational Psychology. admin