Motivation and Adult Learners

January 2022



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Author(s): M Cecil Smith – Southern Illinois University Carbondale

The research brief titled “Motivation and Adult Learners” discusses the importance of motivation in learning and provides an overview of four dominant theoretical perspectives: goal theory, expectancy-value theory, attribution theory, and self-determination theory. Motivated learners set goals, have a deep interest in learning, and persist in their efforts.

Teachers can create meaningful goals, emphasize personal improvement, help learners attribute value to tasks, and support learners’ autonomy. Understanding learners’ goals, expectations, and values promotes motivation and positive learning outcomes.

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