Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation Theory

Universities and schools use concrete rewards to assess students’ performance. Sometimes, traditional universities and schools do not provide individuals with an autonomy structure, thus not allowing students to study at their speed. Poor grades, strict regimens, and the absence of teachers’ positive feedback are the main obstacles students face during the learning process. Concrete rewards (grades) stimulate adaptive behavior development aiming at students’ motivation increase, or vice versa their emotional breakthrough.

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation approaches might not only motivate students but also affect their emotional conditions. Sansone and Tang (2021) state that intrinsic motivation refers to an activity done by a person who does not anticipate external rewards or appraisal. This activity is done out of a sense of the serene satisfaction it provides. Challenges coupled with particular aptitudes, curiosity, and imagination are significant factors triggering and enhancing intrinsic motivation. In this case, students are driven by a positive push to be evaluated positively. Research has shown that this kind of motivation correlates to academic achievements positively and significantly, as intrinsic motivation guides students to be involved in a course assignment to experience challenge, fun, and novelty.

Extrinsic motivation is a case of compulsory assignment distribution on teachers’ behalf to evaluate and reward pupils’ performances. Extrinsic motivation defines activities students commit while anticipating concrete rewards, be it in the way of good grades or out of fear of reprimands and compulsion. Being evaluated subjectively through poor grades, a student might decrease their motivational level and be emotionally affected. Concrete rewards are teachers’ subjective evaluations based on teachers’ personal biases towards a student. It is an example of the preconceived attitude that might influence individuals in terms of emotional level decrease.

As to internal motivation examples, many projects enable students to broaden subjects they are interested in, despite the fewer possibilities provided for pupils to express themselves freely. During online discussion, they might highlight topics, operating on reliable information data to share it with their peers, as they are decisive that this topic or issue has to be much spoken. Undoubtedly, nobody can function in the world acting on only internal motivation; external motivation has to be taken into account as well. While dealing with a project done out of fun or interest, accuracy, word choice, and reference to academic sources might come in handy. In this case, an assignment will be viewed by others and positively evaluated by a teacher.


Sansone, C., & Tang, Y. (2021). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and self-determination theory. Motivation Science, 7(2), 113-115.

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ChalkyPapers. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation Theory." April 15, 2023.