Tony Robins, a well known inspirational speaker  – said that “why we do what we do?”  is explained by our needs, beliefs and emotions. He defined emotion as E=energy and Motion = action.  Motivations, without, doubt can influence what we learn, how we learn and when we choose to learn (Schunk 1995).  Motivation is thus, an explanatory concept that help teachers understand why students behave the way they do and how to help them do better.

It is fascinating that students exposed in the same learning environment differ in their motivations to learn and thus different performances and learning outcomes.  Below are motivational quotes which I will attempt to dissect viz the different drivers of motivational theories learned from Module 4.  

 1. You must be the change you want to see in the world (Mahatma Gandi)

  • Self-determination theory drives the person to achieve as autonomy and relatedness are given focus. The drive can be both intrinsic with “I can” thought and extrinsic, if inspired by the need to make change in the environment affecting the person’s life. 

 Teacher can help the student achieve better if learning goals are clear on the onset and the student is able to exercise power of choice – such as on topic/type of project. 

  1. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore is not an act but a habit (Aristotle)
  • Expectancy-value theory and goal orientation theory are reflective of the drive to excellence.  Because of the high target, there is also high expectation to succeed.  This type to motivation could be what makes highly competitive students.

 Teacher can help the student meet the high expectation by identifying focused-goals and providing detailed feedback on specific tasks. 

  1. Try to become not a man of success but try rather to become a man of value (Albert Einstein)
  • Self-worth is the drive that motivates the person to attain the desired outcome on account of one’s competence.  Success is defined by the person, so the likelihood to achieve is also self –determined.

 Teacher can help the student achieve by providing opportunity for student to set own standard (level of achievement) rather than imposing a “one size fits all student” standard. With guidance, the student can learn on own pace and approach provided that the teacher gives feedback.    

  1. There is always a philosophy for lack of courage (Albert Camus)
  • Attribution theory is the driver for the performance. The learner always seeks explanation for the success or failure.

 Teacher can help the student keep a positive view on what ever consequences of actions. Providing immediate and specific feedback to the learner will help keep the positive spirit. 

  1. It is not what you have, it’s what you do with what you have (Anonymous)
  • Self efficacy theory and self-worth are the drivers for making good use resources and talents that the student has. The student has a “can do” attitude with extrinsic motivation more than intrinsic – given the direction to give benefit to others using own competence.

 Teacher can help the student set realistic goals, otherwise disappointments for non-achievement may lower the motivation for the next learning events. 

My reflection is that motivation comes from within a person, because despite environmental influence, without the will to do something, it will be impossible to make any change in the behaviour of learners.  I find the motivational videos very entertaining as the speakers are highly passionate on their own experiences. Motivations is cognitive – as it entails knowledge and skills to make decisions. Motivation is also affective, because it results to behavioral changes and sometimes the psyche of the mind. 


  1. Motivation for distance learning, cited Schunk 1995, retrived from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1030/1988.
  2. Motivational quotes retrieved from You Tube