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The Influence of Motivation on Successful Learning


The learning success among students is powerfully influenced by the learning beliefs and goals. Most students across the globe have unending in-drive to succeed on their academic tests; however, it has been established that the likelihood of their success is largely influenced by not only actual ability, but also by the goals and beliefs that they bring to achievement situation. In essence, student motivation is a vital contributor to his/her learning success. Student motivation within a classroom setting can be exhibited by elements such as self-confidence, self-esteem, task-mastery, self-efficacy, pride, goal orientation, empowerment, cooperative learning, and personal goals. Experts in this learning field have established that there is a direct correlation between motivation and the use of learning strategies such as self-regulation, persistence, self-confidence, and self-monitoring. It is evident and clear that motivated students use learning strategies that are directly associated with successful learning. Similarly, successful learning on the other hand reinforces student motivational elements. Given these facts, it is true that increase in student motivation increases success levels in classroom learning. For instance, once students are motivated, they will automatically learn how to access learning strategies, which eventually help them in the overall learning success. This paper discusses the influence of motivation on successful learning. In order to meet the aforementioned objective, the paper will discuss productive work habit using participation, motivation to learn, and achievement work structure and teacher instruction.

Productive Work Habit; Participation

Students can develop positive work habits either by being naturally motivated to learn and/or by having good teachers (Dembo & Seli, 2012). Participation in lesson is a key facilitator of successful learning. Various ways are available through which students can overtly participate in learning either by offering thoughts and ideas spontaneously, answering questions voluntarily or when they are called on, participating in chalkboard activities, actively interacting with peers or teachers with regard to learning tasks, and above all, by completing written work (Nakata, 2006). In the same breadth, students can actively participate in learning activities without necessarily exhibiting the above mentioned behavioural indicators; for instance, listening, watching and thinking (Salili & Hoosain, 2007). Student’s degree of participation in learning activities largely depends on his/her level of motivation (Wlodkowski, 2011). As already mentioned, taking part in learning activities is regarded as an important and critical learning behavior (Nakata, 2006). Participation in learning activities is associated with providing learners with tremendous chances to acquire and exercise newly acquired skills and approaches; help them articulate their thinking, and more importantly, it allows examination of their thinking processes together with recognizing the need to revise thinking (Dembo & Seli, 2012). In the same line of discussion, when learners take part in classroom activities provides teachers a chance to understand the student’s understanding processes and learning, it empowers them to evaluate the student learning issues, and thus tutors can provide cognitive and effective support for the overall students’ understanding (Flemens, 2009). Student’s learning participation levels are strongly hinged on his/her drive to acquire new knowledge together with the types of situations and encouragement for taking part in learning which is undertaken in classroom instructions.

Learning Motivation

Students’ learning motivation is extensively provided by the theory of achievement goals, which explains various approaches that learners adopt in order to engage in academic tasks (Flemens, 2009). These purposes are strongly associated with different student thinking patterns, emotions, actions, and achievement. The two main purposes that are discussed here are performance goals and mastery goals. The performance goals in this regard vastly focus on competence demonstration while mastery goals focus on increasing competence (Dembo & Seli, 2012). The aforementioned goals can be possessed by students individually as well as be accentuated in classroom environment. Students with personal mastery goals are described as having an inherent drive to increase their competence and their main concern is to master material. They solidly believe that improvement standard is based on ones past performance and not the performance of others (Flemens, 2009). Students in this category consider persistence and putting forth effort regardless of how difficult the learning process may be as the sole way to success; mistakes are also regard as opportunities to acquire new knowledge and not avenues to failure (Flemens, 2009). Mastery goals are displayed particularly when students exhibit diligence and interest on undertaking a particular task and/or through expression of excitement when gaining new knowledge or skills. Personal performance goals are adopted by those students whose main focus is competence demonstration; performance oriented goals (Dembo & Seli, 2012). These students are especially worried about their performance as compared to their colleagues or standards established by educational system. In this scenario, investing in more efforts and making mistakes is usually associated with poor performance and thus students with performance oriented goals value simple learning activities which make them feel successful with less effort (Salili & Hoosain, 2007). These goals are shown especially displayed by students with strong focus on performance and hence they tend to compare themselves to others. From the above explanation, we can establish that mastery goals oriented students are highly motivated and hence have higher chances of attaining positive outcomes in learning activities (Dembo & Seli, 2012). They can confidently handle demanding learning activities, excellently use learning strategies that are adaptive, free to seek assistance particularly during times they are in need, they have strong attitude and emotions towards learning, classroom situations/conditions and themselves (Salili & Hoosain, 2007). Students with performance oriented goals are also associated with having efficacy beliefs and persistence in their studies; this is a recipe of successful learning. However, performances -avoid goals students tend to avoid engaging activities and thus have lower learning motivation which on the other hand result into poor learning performance.

Individual personal disposition, classroom environment, and beliefs vastly affect students’ motivation as established by the goal theory. For instance, the environment within the classroom can also communicate purpose and reason for taking part in learning tasks to students (Flemens, 2009). Accordingly, the learners’ view with regard to the information is associated with the way they take part in learning activities (Nakata, 2006). Classroom goal structures that are perceived to have structures with strong emphasis on mastery goals are widely adaptive and thus associated with students’ learning and understanding rather than memorization. Similarly, low cheating rates among students, they are not disruptive, and they like ask for assistance. Those classroom structures regarded to be high performance oriented are associated with negative outcomes or failures such as high student cheating rates, disruptive behaviour, and self-handicapping (Dembo & Seli, 2012).

Learning participation is an involving task including taking risks and making mistakes. With regard to this understanding, students with mastery goals are likely to succeed as compared to those with performance –avoid goals. Accordingly, learning participation of learners with performance oriented goals largely depends on their capacity together with self-belief in that capacity (Nakata, 2006).

Achievement Goal Structures and Teacher Instructions

Students’ motivation is also influenced by the instructional practices and discourse of the teacher. Classrooms perceived of having structure with high mastery goals comprise of instructors characterized by having passion for learning and also anticipate that all learners would learn (Salili & Hoosain, 2007). Accordingly, they work to ensure that all students participate actively in learning activities. On the other hand, classrooms perceived to have high performance goal structures, teachers convey that not all learners would be thrive in their learning activities. Teacher discourse is another important motivational factor in students’ successful learning; for instance, what the teacher says, and how he/she says it, is directly linked to the learners’ attitude to learn. The teacher discourse pattern that is facilitative comprise of traits emphasizing on the significance of understanding and helping learners to comprehend; holds learners answerable for what they have been taught, encouraging student determination and regarding errors as learning experiences, showing positive emotion and eagerness about learning, and motivating learners to help one another (Dembo & Seli, 2012). This described teacher discourse pattern above is associated with motivating students highly and thus helping them to succeed in learning. Contrastingly, teacher discourse pattern associated with low student motivation can be characterized by stressing on correct results or strictly following direction instead of gaining knowledge, finishing perfectly the given exercises instead of acquiring knowledge, expression of pessimistic effects like sarcasm and threats, and using social comparison (Flemens, 2009). Students are highly motivated and ready to take part in learning activities in environments with teachers who are enthusiastic about learning, communicate beliefs that all students have the capacity to learn and above all provide both academic and emotional support for students’ understanding (Nakata, 2006).


Motivation is vital in successful learning. Students with high learning motivation have the capacity to succeed in the learning activities. The learning success among students is powerfully influenced by the learning beliefs and goals. The discussion above has extensively discussed how student motivation vastly influences his/her success in learning. For example, the paper has discussed participation as a productive work habit; students can develop positive work habits either by being naturally motivated to learn and/or by having good teachers. For instance, by actively participating in their lessons, students will automatically have higher chances of succeeding in their educational venture. Similarly, the paper has also discussed how students can be motivated to learn. More importantly, teachers’ instructions and achievement goal structures have also been expansively discussed.


Dembo, M., & Seli, H. (2012). Motivation and learning strategies for college success: A focus on self-regulated learning. London: Routledge Publishers.

Flemens, K. (2009). Motivation, language-learning strategies, and course performance among English-speaking college students learning a romance language. Lynn: ProQuest Publishers.

Nakata, Y. (2006). Motivation and experience in foreign language learning. London: Peter Lang.

Salili, F., & Hoosain, R. (2007). Culture, motivation, and learning: A multicultural perspective. London: IAP

Wlodkowski, R. (2011). Enhancing adult motivation to learn: A comprehensive guide for teaching all adults, 3rd Ed. London: John Wiley & Sons.