Article Report and Review

Article Report and Review




Article Report and Review

A Motivational Science Perspective on the Role of Student Motivation in Learning and Teaching Context

The author examines the importance of motivation in learning and teaching. He looks at the current research on the issue and proposes ideas for future research. He suggests three themes for motivational science research. The first theme focuses on the importance of having a scientific perspective when researching student motivation. This includes using empirical evidence and adopting theoretical and conceptual reasoning to support identified knowledge claims. The second theme highlights the importance and effectiveness of having a multidisciplinary approach to student motivation and human cognition, following the complex nature of human behavior. This will include using philosophical and psychological perspectives as well as educational theories and constructs. The third theme focuses on the significance of use-inspired research on motivation, which utilizes basic and applied sciences.

The author proposes seven questions to serve as directions and guidelines for future research on the subject. The questions focus on knowing what the students want and how they get it, whether they know what they want and what motivates them, their motivation in the classroom, the relationship between cognition and motivation, changes in motivation and the role of culture. Focusing on these questions provides a clearer and better understanding on the factors that motivate students and it leads to the development of scientific approach to motivation. It changes the way that teachers approach education and teaching. Teachers can identify different motivators depending on the factors identified in empirical studies.

Different theories can identify what students want. Self-determination theory identifies three needs, which include relatedness, competence, and autonomy. The theory of motivation identifies the need for personal self worth as a single basic need. It incorporates social cognitive constructs, emotions, and different achievement motives. The domain-specific model highlights the importance of self-worth on behavior and motivation. Different factors motivate students in the classroom. People’s expectations determine how best they perform. When the students expect to perform well, they persist and work harder in their studies. Students’ belief in themselves determines their level of performance. Those who believe in their abilities motivate themselves towards better performance.

The author notes that some students are self-regulating. They have intrinsic motivation, which enables them to do better. Motivation efforts are not always conscious or intentional. This suggests that people may not always know what they want for motives to influence them. Students do not have to be self-regulating for them to achieve their goals. Some students take education and learning as a habitual process. They are not conscious of their efforts, and neither do they reflect or control their efforts when achieving their goals. There is a reciprocal relationship between motivation and cognition in that each seems to influence the other. The author notes that there is a need to conduct more research on how cognition influences motivation.

Students change their beliefs about motivation with time, as they gain more understanding. Students decrease their motivation as they advance in their education. The author notes that context and culture have a role to play in student motivation. Context can enhance or constraint students motivation. The methods that teachers use when instructing can determine the students’ motivation levels. Culture can form and enhance students’ motivation and cognition. Different cultures have different understanding of motivation and this determines and influences students’ motivation in education and learning

Nine ways to Reduce Cognitive Load in Multimedia Learning

The authors take a closer look at multimedia learning, which involves the use of printed and spoken words as well as static and dynamic images in learning. Teachers can use different forms of pictures, which include photos, maps, graphs, illustrations, video, animations, and interactive illustrations among others. The authors note that there is a need to have meaningful learning, which involves gaining a deeper understanding of the materials used when teaching. Students have to be able to apply what they have learnt in different contexts and not just in the classroom. Cognitive overload is necessary for meaningful learning to occur, yet students often face cognitive overload, which hinders them from learning

The authors explore how the mind works based on the understanding of cognitive science. They identify three assumptions based on this, which include the dual channel, limited capacity, and active processing assumption. The dual channel, assumption supposes that the mind has separate auditory/verbal channels and visual/pictorial channel. The channels have limited capacities and people are only able to process limited amount of information at a certain time. Most cognitive processes, such as focusing on the materials that the teacher presents, organizing them in an understandable structure, and integrating them with what one already knows, have to take place in the verbal and visual channels for meaningful learning to take place.

            The authors identify five different ways of representing knowledge. They include shallow working memory representation such as the use of sounds, long-term memory representation, sensory representation that involves the use the learners’ ears and eyes, physical representation such as representation of pictures and words, and deep working memory representation. In addition, they identify cognitive processes necessary for active processing in multimedia learning. The processes include selecting, organizing, and integrating words and images.

The three cognitive demands identified include essential processing, incidental processing, and representational holding. A person requires essential processing so that he can make sense of the materials presented. Incidental processing though not essential, does require the learner to allocate some of the cognitive capacity to process the information. Cognitive overload happens when one is not able to process all the information presented. It is possible to reduce this overload by changing each of the cognitive demands. This can involve redistributing the essential processing, or reduction of the incidental processes or representational holding. The authors suggest nine ways that people can use to reduce cognitive overload with a focus on multimedia learning, based on their understanding of cognitive demands.

 They have identified five overload scenarios. The first scenario is when the visual channel is overloaded. The second scenario is when both channels are overloaded. The third scenario is when either channels or one of the channels is overloaded by essential or incidental processing, which can be attributed to extraneous materials. The forth scenario involves essential and incidental processing of one or both channels by confusing representation. The fifth scenario involves essential processing and representational holding of one or both channels. Offloading involves moving essential processing to different channels. Other methods include segmenting, pre-training, weeding, signaling, aligning, synchronizing, individualizing, and eliminating redundancy. This information is necessary for teachers because it enhances the effectiveness of learning using multimedia. Teachers have realized the benefits of combining graphics and words, yet the cognitive overload that the students can experience can hinder the learning process.


Mayer, E. R., & Moreno, R. (2003). Nine ways to reduce cognitive load in multimedia learning. Educational Psychologist, 38(1), 43–52

Pintrich, R. P. (2003). A Motivational Science Perspective on the Role of Student Motivation in Learning and Teaching Contexts. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95 (4), 667-686

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