Learning means acquiring new knowledge and skills. This process is by no means over after the school years, but extends throughout life. The highest possible level of motivation to learn is important in order to make the learning process successful.
But we don't always feel like learning the required content, even if it is important. Often, the much-cited inner pig is at play, which must be overcome. Fortunately, there are some proven tips and tricks to outsmart this unpleasant contemporary and increase your motivation to learn.
What factors are crucial for motivation to learn?
The definition of learning motivation is far more complex than it might seem at first glance. The well-known educationalist and psychologist Andreas Krapp brings in his publications Various factors that can positively or negatively influence the motivation to learn.
According to Andreas Krapp, the foundation for successful learning is laid in early childhood. The nature and sum of our Childhood Experiences as well as the individual development conditions significantly shape our willingness to learn later on. This includes a sense of achievement in learning as well as dealing with failure.
The Learning Environment also plays a decisive role in motivation to learn. Children who are encouraged and supported by their school and home environment have been shown to learn faster, more readily and more effectively. Of course, the Learning material itself is decisive. This closes the circle to personal interests.
Want and ability: Both are crucial for successful learning
All of the above factors together add up to a person's current motivation to learn. In order to achieve the desired (learning) success, however, the necessary cognitive abilities must be present. Only then can the respective learning content be grasped and the acquired knowledge productively implemented.
So it is not enough to want to learn something at all costs: The person must also be intellectually capable of doing so. If this is not the case, the greatest Motivation irrelevant.
The difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to learn
If it is an intrinsic motivation to learn, the desire to learn something new comes from yourself. You personally consider the content or skills to be learned to be useful, relevant, and exciting. As a result, you enjoy the learning activity. In short, you learn voluntarily and on your own initiative, which can significantly accelerate success.
In the case of extrinsic (coming from outside) motivation to learn, on the other hand, you engage with the learning content to obtain a reward or to avoid negative consequences.
The best example is unpopular school subjects: Let's assume you don't like science subjects at all and have no career ambitions in this direction. To put it bluntly, the subject matter is "useless" for you. Nevertheless, you study for the exams in these subjects so as not to jeopardize your good report card average.
Is extrinsic motivation to learn the "worse" motivation?
In principle, both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to learn can lead to the desired result. To describe extrinsic impulses as generally bad or even harmful would therefore be short-sighted. Sometimes it takes just that external pressure to spur people on to top performance. However, this also depends on the characters.
Nevertheless, learning based on self-propulsion is undoubtedly perceived as more enjoyable. Therefore, it makes sense to intrinsic motivation to increase. We will come back to this later.
Overview of other forms of learning motivation
In addition to intrinsic and extrinsic learning motivation, there are two other forms of motivation that we would like to discuss in more detail: Achievement motivation and interest.
If you expect a certain benefit from your learning performance (e.g. a professional promotion), this is referred to as achievement motivation. The difference to intrinsic learning motivation is that it is not the learning content that is the focus of your personal interest, but the goal you are striving for.
Those who learn out of pure interest, on the other hand, do not expect any concrete advantages from acquiring the knowledge or the new skills - nor do they want to avert any disadvantages. Learning for the sake of it would be an apt description. Interest, by the way, can develop in the course of the intrinsically motivated learning process.
10 tips for parents: How do you motivate your child to learn?
Is your child listless and could use a little motivation to learn? Then the following 10 tips can help you:
1. encourage the curiosity of your children
Younger children in particular are naturally inquisitive. This can also be used to help them succeed at school. Let your children try out different solutions and experiments. In this way, even dry school material becomes exciting.
Example: Your child doesn't like to read? Then pick a book together on a topic that interests them and take turns reading one sentence at a time. Do you have a garden? Then explore the different plants and insects together.
2. praise and encouragement
Acknowledge your children's good achievements and praise them for them. Encourage your child to believe in himself. But be careful: This is where a tightrope walk begins. Do not make your affection dependent on grades!
Suitable motivational phrases are:
"You can do this."
"I believe in you."
"I'm proud of you."
3. consolation in case of failure
Failure is one of the biggest motivational killers, especially for children. That's why it's even more important not to reprimand your child when he or she has written a bad grade. It is much more effective to sit down together and look at where the problem lay and what could be done better next time: Was too little learning done? Did the child not understand the material?
Make your child aware that your affection is not tied to grades. Encourage your child: "A bad grade is not the end of the world. It will be better next time. I know you can do it."
4. explain to your children why learning is beneficial
Elementary school students don't yet understand that they go to school to get a good education and a well-paying job later on. Make learning palatable to your (young) children by setting milestones that correspond to their current life reality: "If you learn to write, you can send your grandma a card for her birthday."
5. do not intervene too quickly
As an adult, you will of course see more quickly if your child takes a roundabout way to solve a school assignment. However, don't correct them immediately, even if you know better. Let your child first try out whether he or she can reach the goal on his or her own. Don't offer your support too quickly, but wait until your child actively asks for it.
6. be patient
The motivation to learn depends not least on the form of the day. Even your child can have a bad day. Do not lose your patience, but remain as calm as possible. Do not overtax your child. Shift down a gear if you notice that your child can't concentrate properly (anymore). It may be a good idea to take a break.
7. show interest in the learning content
Don't focus on the grades, focus on the content of the learning. Get excited about the topics your child is learning in class. Ask questions and let your child explain the subject matter to you. In this way you promote his self-confidence as well as intrinsic motivation.
8. the right place
A noisy and messy environment significantly disturbs the motivation to learn. Make sure your child is undisturbed when doing homework or studying. Any chaos should also be eliminated. Ideally, the child should have a desk in his or her own room.
9. avoid distractions
Surely you know it from yourself: You just want to look something up on the Internet while you're working, and half an hour has already passed. Cell phones and the Internet should be absolutely taboo while you're studying. The TV should not be on in the background either. Talk to your child about this and enforce this measure consistently.
10. the right time
Every child is different: Some are motivated to start homework right after lunch. Other children want to play first and are not ready to resume learning until later in the afternoon. In this regard, be guided by your child's needs. Respect the time off that is requested. The more motivated your child will be afterwards.
No motivation to learn: Why is motivation to learn lost in children?
It's perfectly normal that a child sometimes doesn't feel like learning. Surely you remember your own school days in this regard. It only becomes problematic when the child develops a constant attitude of rejection towards school. There can be several reasons for this.
One possible reason is repeated failures and humiliations. A child who writes bad grades and is then told by teachers or parents that he or she cannot do this or that anyway, self-explanatorily loses motivation and faith in himself or herself. Such statements must therefore be avoided at all costs!
The school environment can also affect motivation to learn. If the child does not feel comfortable in his or her class or is even a victim of Mobbing can't learn effectively. Transfer the situation to your workplace: Would you still perform well if your colleagues shunned or ridiculed you?
How to boost children's motivation to learn
Children's motivation to learn is best fostered by combining natural curiosity with sufficient recognition and fun. Learning can and should be fun! Many school tasks can be solved through play. Let your creativity run free.
In addition, it is important that you yourself remain patient, even if your child does not progress as desired. The more relaxed you are, the more motivated your child will remain. Your inner peace or restlessness is transmitted involuntarily. Accept that the motivation to learn cannot be constant every day and respond to your child's needs.
Keep in mind that children are generally much more willing and able to learn than adults. In a harmonious learning environment (see tips above), there should be no major problems with motivation to learn. It is important that your child associates learning with something positive. Fear, coercion and withdrawal of love are not suitable measures to promote learning motivation.
Ideally, you will enjoy learning, which you can always remember on less motivating days. The more interesting you find the subject, the greater your motivation to learn. If it's a topic that doesn't excite you, thinking about the long-term benefits will help.
In our free e-book "The 10 best tips for fun and success in learning". you will learn how you or your child can successfully go through the school years and the learning material with less learning effort and more joy. Learning expert Markus Hofmann shows you ten tried-and-tested tips that will help you give your child the best possible support in learning.
The 10 best tips for
Fun and success in learning
In our free e-book you get 10 tried and tested tipsthat will help you to support your child in learning in the best possible way.