Motivation : theory and use in higher education

Nukpe, Philip (2012) Motivation : theory and use in higher education. Investigations in university teaching and learning, 8. pp. 11-17. ISSN 1740-5106


The study of 'motivation' in its variety of forms is something of an academic field in itself and it is a field that is vast. However, there are some pathways into that vastness and for those of us interested in its application to pedagogy, the pathways lead to some discrete (but not exclusive) destinations. First of all, there is the understanding that in terms of student motivation, there is the intrinsic/extrinsic ‘symbiosis’ to be considered. Secondly, there is the interpersonal dimension of tutor/student relationships for while there are models of ‘the tutor’ - and dominant cultural mental models - that emphasise the powerdistance dimension (Hofstede, 2001) in those relationships, the literature on motivation seems to show that "equality-closeness" is (paradoxically) a more powerful motivator. Finally, how we, as tutors, construct the ‘academic playing-field’ of assessments and feedback (amongst other things) are in and of themselves powerful motivators.

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