Using motivational theories from Maslow, Herzberg and Vroom, I will try to give an insight to how I learn as a student. The focus is on my understanding on my learning and motivation employing the theories from the above theorists. I assessed my own motivation with regard to being a student of the HRM MA programme at TVU. A diary served this purpose well. I kept a diary to reflect my experiences in the MAP module in particular, Oct this year. The analysis of the open diaries takes an interpretative orientation.
In this sense, there was no objective measure of how motivating my study was, as I would interpret a lesson or experience from my own perspective. Motivation has been described as a feeling that comes from within, something that drives us forward towards a goal-oriented behaviour. Every person in England is required to attend some schooling up until at least 17 years of age and thereafter it is the responsibility of the person to seek further education if he/she wants to. It seems to me that, since university is not required, Motivation is one of the biggest factors or reasons that people do decide to go.
I entered University to improve my chances of furthering my career in the HR sector. At the start of the MA course, I found myself pursuing it for some of my reasons above. I put and a lot of value in the MA and I remain extremely driven to pass all the requisites of the course to reach my objective. I feel that if I put in great effort, I will ultimately get the MA. One of the most influential theories of motivation is Vroom’s (Vroom 1964, 1974) expectancy theory which is based on the assumption that people are motivated by what they regard as the likely impact of their actions.
Vroom’s stated that, ‘The amount of effort the individual will expend is determined by the expectancies that the person has at the time'(Vroom 1964). According, to the theory, the motivational force is the product of the two perceptions. V’room would argue that my expectancy would be that of my effort required to pass the module and the value in reference would be how much I value the reward of obtaining the degree. Looking over my journals from start to finish, it can be seen that my motivation on most occasions has been very high.
I feel actually very motivated and am putting a lot of effort into my studies. In short, I believe that if carry on with the ‘hard effort’, I will surely reach my goal. Obstacles are in the past (different story from my under graduate days) and if I push myself to do the required work, I will not fail. Am I extrinsically or intrinsically motivated? Of course, a part of efforts to learn as a student is extrinsically motivated. The reward for passing the course will ultimately place me in a suitable advantage of finding a well-paid job.
Extrinsic outcomes are related to Lower-Order Needs but can be found in Herzbergs hygine factors. According to Herzberg, ‘Extrinsic “rewards” are only “hygiene” factors’ (Herzberg 1959). Other extrinsic factors on the course are the assignments and exams. If I don’t do them, I will surely fail. I never understood the reasons for exams but I have begun to realise that they are there to motivate us to study further. Exams shouldn’t be feared! As one of my lecturers recently commented ‘It should be a day to celebrate what you have learnt ‘.
And through my inputs in the diary, I have begun to realise how effective exams are in my efforts to learn. It’s effective in the way it encourages me sit and study things that I would probably not do. Even though I may not a scholar of the MAP module, I can honestly say that I have actually learnt some valuable things, things I would never have learnt if it were not for the exams. So as it follows, I think It’s okay to be externally motivated by such things as getting higher grades, praise from one’s parents, or filling one’s money bag.
However, I believe goals that foster external motivation will be difficult to maintain. That leads me onto intrinsic motivation: Internal motivation means that your motivation to accomplish your goal comes from within you and Intrinsic sources corresponding theories can be further subcategorised as either body/physical, mind/mental (Maslow, 1943). Life in general at University can be very stressful at times because of the many pressures that a student maybe under. I believe stress is a normal part of University life and without stress, I would not feel any ambition to learn.
Stress only becomes a problem if it begins to block your ability to study. It can make you eat inappropriately or causes physical symptoms and this is one aspect that I believe to be a very influential factor to my motivation. I think it’s important to look after one’s health. I believe that burn out can account for lost motivation and taking on too much and not eating properly and not getting enough sleep will all have a part to play. At the start of the course, I realised that my concentration in class was very high and I was able to take in a lot of new information during the class.
One lesson in particular I was not able to concentrate on at all. I thought about the distraction during in the writing of my diary. I realised that I had constant thoughts of food during the lesson. The lesson was actually very stimulating but thoughts of food would come up periodically. I recalled what I learnt about Maslow. According to Maslow in his hierarchy needs, he identified a number of different needs and food being one of them. Maslow’s model implies that if students basic needs are not met (e. g. food and sleep), learning will suffer. Eureka!
I have learnt that eating well and incorporating some light exercise in my routines combats the feeling of tiredness and it clears my head when I get ready to sit down and study. Suffice to say, if it hadn’t been for my diary inputs, I would not have known how detrimental my eating habits were having on my psychological being. The new insight has had a very positive impact and I am able to study for longer periods of time. If I continue on this path, my motivation levels for the future should remain in a healthy balance as it can be seen that energy is a necessary ingredient for motivation.