The world of academia possesses a wide range of challenges for both professors and their students. One of such challenges has historically been finding an incentive for engaging with the classroom material. The types of engagement motivation discussed in this essay can be divided into intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Through this work, I intend to show that relying on only one type in the learning process is profoundly inferior to using the combination of both.
Committing to a college major and the subsequent class choices is a long-term commitment. Continuous commitments require continuous motivation sources, which is why intrinsic motivation is beneficial. Intrinsic motive hinges on the sense of purpose, independent from contingent rewards. However, there is a limit to how long the individual could stay engaged if they feel their passion is not seen. As such, if an otherwise motivated student attends classes of an unfair and dull professor, the student’s sense of purpose might begin to dim under external pressure.
The next aspect of intrinsic motivation is the sense of mastery or improvement. Surrounded by the learning-focused environment, students want to feel like they are progressing in their understanding of the curriculum. If the student is receiving only good marks, a type of reward commonly referenced as extrinsic motivation, the feeling of a challenge and interest may dissipate. In this case, the lack of intrinsic motivation effectively destroys the benefit of extrinsic motivation.
Lastly, a vital aspect of a student’s intrinsic motivation is autonomy. Ironically, this aspect may be largely dependent on the support of the superiors, who, for instance, be students’ parents. An example of mixed motivation might be a student studying to receive approval or avoid punishment from a success-oriented family. In this case, drawing a line between intrinsic and extrinsic is challenging, further proving that such a distinction is ineffective.
To conclude, focusing on only one type of motivation for truly encouraging academic success and engagement is not feasible. Firstly, the external factors may affect the extent to which intrinsic motivation or the sense of purpose persist long-term. Secondly, having an external reward system alone may be rendered ineffective by lack of improvement. Lastly, sometimes distinguishing types of motivation is an artificial approach that will not benefit students.