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Motivation for Learning: Behavioural Approach on Motivation

By Angel Luk Hoo Jee May Jessica Debbie Maheskumar Nor Anisah Norzieana Patrick Duffy

What is Motivation?
A kind of stimulus which arouses and sustains the interests of an individual towards the direction of achieving a certain goal, including the change in attitude and behaviour. (Mok Soon Sang, 2008) According to Woolfolk (1990), motivation is an internal power which arouses, directs and controls human interest and behaviour.

Four General Approaches to Motivation



Learning Theories



Behavioural Approach
Rewards are consequences of behaviours Incentives encourage or discourage behaviours

Thorndikes Laws of Learning

Thorndike (1993) formulated three laws of motivation: Law of Readiness: People learn best when they are ready to learn. Law of Training: People enhance their memory through repetition, drill & practice. Law of Effect: Learning is strengthened when accompanied by pleasant, non threatening situation. It is decreased when associated with unpleasant situation.

Thorndikes Laws of Learning

Conclusion Reward will encourage organism to response to a certain action, while punishment will prevent organism to repeat certain behaviour.

Skinners Operant Conditioning

Learning occurs through operant conditioning. Reinforcement occurs when an event following a response increases an organisms tendency to make that response. Positive reinforcement, which yields pleasant effect, will increase the possibility of repeating the response. Negative reinforcement, which yields unpleasant effect, will be repeated with a transfer (change) to undesirably behavior. During the learning process , responses can be strengthened through positive reinforcement or removal of negative reinforcement.

Operant conditioning interpretations

Operant conditioning interpretations of learning may help reveal why some students react favourably to particular subjects and dislike others. For instance, some students may enter a required math class with a feeling of delight, while others may feel that they have been sentenced to prison. Skinner suggests that such differences can be traced to past experiences. He would argue that the student who loves math has been shaped to respond that way by a series of positive experiences with math. The math hater, in contrast, may have suffered a series of negative experiences.