The studying of motivation has a long history in psychology, and it is generally agreed that motivation is a theoretical construct that can be used to explain such things as the initiation, direction, intensity, persistence, and quality of goal-directed behavior (Brophy, 2004; Maehr & Meyer, 1997).
This contemporary definition stems from a core classic view of what constitute motivation (Eccles, 1983), which is called the 'expectancy and value' model. It suggests that people will only be motivated when both of the following conditions are fulfilled:
From our laymen understanding, it seems that we have placed much emphasis on the value component in explaining students' motivation (e.g. they are not interested, they can't see the relevance...), but we may have overlooked the importance of the expectancy component. It is key that students have to feel BOTH capable and interested in order to be motivated.
Much effort has been made to enhance student's felt relevance and interest in learning (such as the use of cases, video-clips, and discussions), however, if we know it is both expectancy and value that matter to foster motivation, what should be done in relation to the expectancy component? The following are some general strategies we can start with:
The following are two excerpts drawn from focus group interviews with associate degree students, examining their motivation level during study in relation to articulation opportunities. These two excerpts elucidate the importance of expectancy very vividly, which we tend to overlook.