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Discuss the link between motivation and self-regulated learning and explain how different motivational variables (e.g., self-efficacy, goals, values) relate to self-regulation.

Discuss the link between motivation and self-regulated learning and explain how different motivational variables (e.g., self-efficacy, goals, values) relate to self-regulation.

Motivation is intimately linked with self-regulated learning (Pintrich, 2003 ; Wolters, 2003 ). People motivated to attain a goal engage in self-regulatory activities they believe will help them (e.g., organize and rehearse material, monitor learning progress, and adjust strategies). In turn, students self-regulate their motivation to learn, and the perception that one is learning sustains motivation and self-regulation to attain new goals (Schunk & Ertmer, 2000 ). Thus, motivation and self-regulated learning influence each other.

The link between motivation and self-regulation is seen clearly in theoretical models (Pintrich, 2000b ; Vollmeyer & Rheinberg, 2006 ; B. Zimmerman, 2000 ). Pintrich’s model is heavily motivation dependent, since motivation underlies learners’ setting and pursuit of goals and also is a focus of their self-regulation as they engage in tasks. In Zimmerman’s model, motivation enters at all phases: forethought (e.g., self-efficacy, outcome expectations, interest, value, goal orientations), performance control (e.g., attention focusing, self-monitoring), and self-reflection (e.g., self-evaluation of goal progress, causal attributions).

Additional evidence of this link is seen in research by Wolters ( 1998 , 1999 ; Wolters, Yu, & Pintrich, 1996 ). In these studies, the researchers determined how various strategies designed to maintain optimal task motivation (e.g., expend effort, persist, make the task interesting, self-reward) related to self-regulatory strategy use during learning (e.g., rehearsal, elaboration, planning, monitoring, organization). The results showed that the motivation regulation activities that learners used predicted their self-regulation. Adopting a learning-goal orientation was associated with higher self-efficacy, task value, and achievement.

One aspect of self-regulated learning that is drawing increased research attention is volition , which is discussed in the next section. Some researchers define volition as part of a larger self-regulatory system that includes motivation and other cognitive processes (Corno, 1993 , 2001 , 2008 ; Snow, 1989 ). Many other motivational components are receiving research attention for their role in self-regulated learning—for example, goal properties, goal orientations, self-efficacy, interest, attributions, values, self-schemas, and help seeking (Schunk & Zimmerman, 2008 ). We have examined the roles of goal properties (Zimmerman, 2008 ), goal orientations (Fryer & Elliot, 2008 ), self-efficacy (Schunk & Pajares, 2009 ), interest (Hidi & Ainley, 2008 ), and attributions (Schunk, 2008 ) in Chapter 9 . This section discusses volition, values, self-schemas, and help seeking.

Volition has been of interest for a long time. Early psychologists drew on the writings of Plato and Aristotle ( Chapter 1 ) and conceived of the mind as comprising knowing (cognition), feeling (emotion), and willing (motivation). The will reflected one’s desire, want, or purpose; volition was the act of using the will (Schunk, Meece, & Pintrich, 2014 ).

Philosophers and psychologists have debated whether volition was an independent process or a by-product of other mental processes (e.g., perceptions). Wundt ( Chapter 1 ) thought volition was a central, independent factor in human behavior, and that it accompanied such processes as attention and perception and helped translate thoughts and emotions into actions. James ( 1890 , 1892 ) also believed that volition was the process of translating intentions into actions and had its greatest effect when different intentions competed for action. Volition worked to execute intended actions by activating mental representations of them, which served as guides for behavior.

Ach ( 1910 ) pioneered the experimental study of volition. Ach considered volition the process of dealing with implementing actions designed to attain goals. This is a narrow view of motivation because it does not address the process whereby people formulate goals and commit themselves to attaining them (Heckhausen, 1991 ; Schunk et al., 2014 ). Processes that allow goals to be translated into action are determining tendencies; they compete with previously learned association tendencies to produce action even when the action conflicts with prior associations.

The conceptual basis for contemporary work derives from action control theory by Heckhausen ( 1991 ) and Kuhl ( 1984 ). These theorists proposed differentiating predecisional processing (cognitive activities involved in making decisions and setting goals) from postdecisional processing (activities engaged in subsequent to goal setting). Predecisional analyses involve decision making and are motivational; postdecisional analyses deal with goal implementation and are volitional. Volition mediates the relation between goals and actions to accomplish them. Once students move from planning and goal setting to implementation of plans, they cross a metaphorical Rubicon that protects goals by self-regulatory activities rather than reconsidering or changing them (Corno, 1993 , 2001 , 2008 ).

Debate continues over whether motivation and volition are separate constructs or whether the latter is part of the former. Nonetheless, separating pre- from postdecisional processes seems worthwhile. Some motivational outcomes used in studies of performance are not useful in learning. Choice of activities is a common outcome, yet in school students often do not choose to engage in tasks. There often is little predecisional activity by students. In contrast, postdecisional activity offers more latitude, especially if multiple ways are available to accomplish tasks or deal with distractions. Choice is an integral component of self-regulated learning (Zimmerman, 1994 , 1998 , 2000 ), but students still can have many choices available even when they do not choose whether to work on a task. Volitional activities presumably direct and control information processing, affects, and behaviors directed toward accomplishing goals (Corno, 1993 ).

Corno and her colleagues ( 1989 , 1993 , 1994 , 2001 , 2008 ; Corno & Kanfer, 1993 ; Corno & Mandinach, 2004 ) have written extensively about the role of volition in self-regulation:

· Volition can be characterized as a dynamic system of psychological control processes that protect concentration and directed effort in the face of personal and/or environmental distractions, and so aid learning and performance. (Corno, 1993 , p. 16)

It is useful to distinguish two aspects of volition with respect to self-regulated learning: action control and volitional style (Corno, 1994 ). The action control function refers to potentially modifiable regulatory skills or strategies. This function would include the focus of many interventions aimed at enhancing self-regulation, such as metacognitive monitoring (self-observation), self-arranged contingencies, redesign of tasks, strategies of emotion control, and management of environmental resources. Kuhl ( 1985 ) proposed a taxonomy of volitional strategies; Corno ( 1993 ) discussed strategies for motivation control and for emotion control. Many examples are available of successful training efforts for action control strategies (Corno, 1994 ).

A second function, volitional style , refers to stable, individual differences in volition, as opposed to the specific skills and strategies involved in action control. Volitional style includes personality variables that should be less amenable to change through instruction—for example, impulsiveness, conscientiousness, and dependability (Snow, 1989 ). Corno ( 1994 ) cited research showing that these dispositions predict various student academic outcomes.

The case for treating volition as a separate construct has some merit. One problem with separating goal setting from implementation is highlighted by research studies showing that learners adjust or set new goals during task performance (Locke & Latham, 1990 ; Zimmerman, 2008 ). Another concern is how such motivationally germane processes as attributions and self-efficacy relate to volition. Researchers continue to address these issues.

A central component of motivation that relates to self-regulated learning is the value students ascribe to learning (Wigfield, Hoa, & Klauda, 2008 ; Chapter 9 ). Students who do not value what they are learning are not motivated to improve or exercise self-regulation over their learning activities (Wigfield, Tonks, & Eccles, 2004 ).

Wigfield ( 1994 ; Wigfield et al., 2008 ) discussed the process whereby valuing a task can lead to better self-regulated learning. Values have a direct link to such achievement behaviors as persistence, choice, and performance. Values may relate positively to many self-regulating processes such as self-observation, self-evaluation, and goal setting. For instance, students who value history are apt to study for history tests diligently, set goals for their learning, monitor their learning progress, not be overcome by obstacles, and adjust their strategies as needed. In contrast, students who do not value history should be less likely to engage in these activities.

Research studies support the idea that valuing achievement tasks relates to the productive use of cognitive learning strategies, perceived self-regulated learning, and academic performance (Pintrich & De Groot, 1990 ; Wigfield, 1994 ; Wigfield et al., 2004 , 2008 ). Pokay and Blumenfeld ( 1990 ), for example, found that students’ valuing of mathematics led to their using different cognitive strategies, and in turn, strategy use influenced mathematics performance. Wigfield ( 1994 ) noted that task values may relate positively to volitional action control strategies (Kuhl, 1985 ).

Unfortunately, researchers have shown that children often value academic tasks less as they get older (Eccles & Midgley, 1989 ). Many ways to enhance student motivation relate directly to perceptions of task value, including showing students how tasks are important in their lives and how learning these tasks helps them attain their goals. In the opening scenario, Kim may not value her courses, but Connie tries to encourage her by stressing that using strategies can help her perform better, which may increase how much she values her studies. Linking learning to real-world phenomena improves perceptions of value. Teachers should incorporate methods for enhancing perceived value into their planning to ensure benefits for self-regulated learning.

Self-schemas are “cognitive manifestations of enduring goals, aspirations, motives, fears, and threats” (Markus & Nurius, 1986 , p. 954). They include cognitive and affective evaluations of ability, volition, and personal agency. They essentially are conceptions of ourselves in different situations or what we might be. The theoretical importance of self-schemas is that they presumably mediate the link between situations and behavior. Individuals act in part based on their perceptions of themselves. Self-concept includes many self-schemas, only some of which are active at a given time. Those active at any time are working self-concepts . Self-schemas have an affective dimension (self-conceptions are positive and negatively valued), a temporal dimension (experiences result in concepts of past, present, and future possible selves), a self-efficacy dimension (beliefs about what we can do to attain our selves), and a value dimension (importance or centrality of the self to the individual).

As organized knowledge structures, possible selves are ways to connect multiple motivational beliefs at a higher level (Garcia & Pintrich, 1994 ). Thus, goals are important motivational processes, and self-schemas are organized knowledge structures that link multiple goals. Self-schemas may provide a link between motivation and strategy use. If persons have ideas about what they can be and do, then possible selves can guide actions.

Possible selves can play an important role in self-regulated learning because the notion of what one might become underlies use of self-regulatory processes (Garcia & Pintrich, 1994 ). Individuals regulate their learning and performances to become their positive possible selves and to avoid becoming negative possible selves. Students self-regulated their motivation to attain selves and protect their sense of self-worth.

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