Motivation and emotions in SRL

During this period we are going to concentrate on motivation and emotions’ side in SRL. This is, for some reason, a personal interest of mine. Perhaps for the reason that I have noticed during my studies how I more and more scutinise my own feelings and motivation, as well as try to estimate and interprete the feelings and motivation of other students. I also chose to joint the group in our course which will produce a groupwork on motivation and emotions in SRL and present it as a form of a lesson for the other course members. Getting to choose this particular subject I was most interested in was important for my motivation. ūüôā


The importance of motivation in learning. Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

Planning phase

So as said, during the next period (week) we are going to concentrate on motivation and emotions’ side in SRL. As this subject is interesting to me, and also because we are going to produce a group work about this subject, I plan to carefully read all the articles and of course attent the lecture midfully.¬†Again, I have to prioritise my tasks and organise them so that I will be able to successfully complete all the tasks from different courses. This time, if nothing unexpected happens (like my other child catching the flue), I should have enough time to do all the work. This means however that I have to work hard during evenings and the weekend as well.

 Three main points from the articles

J√§rvenoja, H., & J√§rvel√§, S. (2009).¬†Emotion control in collaborative learning situations ‚Äď do students regulate emotions evoked from social challenges?

1. Emotions, motivation and collaboration. According to Wolters (2000) emotion regulation is the learner’s ability to monitor, evaluate and change the occurance, intensity and duration of an emotional experience. In his view, emotion regulation is an effective strategy to regulate motivation which in turn is needed for the learner to complete a task.

groupThompson and Fine (1999) state that motivation and emotions has been found to be central in collaborative learning. Many researches agree upon that learner’s emotions are formed at the junction¬†where personal, contextual and social aspects of learning meet. In collaborative work, socio-emotional challenges are typically higher than in conventional learning situations. Examples of challenges are conflicting goals, different level of interest, working- or communication styles, and interpersonal features. These socio-emotional challenges may become obstacles that affect the learner’s motivation and thus effect the learner’s action. Overall, regulation of emotions is crucial both in individual level as well as on group level for successful collaboration.

2. Socio-emotional challenges that students encounter. J√§rvenoja and J√§rvel√§ (2009) studied a group of students who worked collaboratively, and found that they encounter different types of socio-emotional challenges which were triggered by personal priorities, work and communication, teamwork, collaboration, and external constraints. During collaborative learning, students must overcome different emotional and motivational challenges to maintain their engagement in the learning and also to maintain good interaction with other group members. Both the pedagogical structure and the group members’ increasing experience of one another may affect the nature of the challenges encountered.¬†The study revealed that during the tasks personal priorities and work and communication became less challenging, but surprisingly challenges in teamwork and collaboration increased.

3. Regulation used to overcome socio-emotional challenges.¬†J√§rvenoja and J√§rvel√§’s (2009) study showed that students use different forms of regulation to maintain collaborative groupwork. The results from the study suggest that group members share some of the regulation processes within the group (SSRL) while also using self-regulation (SRL). On the contrary, the study reveals that students don‚Äôt benefit from co-regulation (CoRL).

The group profiles showed that it is possible to reach personal goals and work successfully together even if the situation is interpreted from each individual’s own perspective. That is, the challenges were interpreted differently, and also the regulation processes used by the group members varied, but all the students felt they achieved their collaborational goal.

J√§rvenoja and J√§rvel√§ conclude that making students aware of how different group members’ interpretations differ from their own, may help the group to avoid emotional conflicts and to solve challenges they might face. Intervetions, such as scaffolding for both cognitive and socio-emotional challenges, may improve the quality of collaboration and academic achievement.

Wolters, C. A. (2003). Regulation of Motivation: Evaluating an Underemphasized Aspect of Self-Regulated Learning.

1. Motivation and¬†motivation regulation: Student’s ability to control their motivation has an impact on their learning achievements. Motivation can been seen as a state that varies, whereas motivation regulation is an active and conscious process of the learner to affect his or her motivation. Motivation regulation strategies aim at affecting student’s willingness (will) to study. These strategies do not necessarily influence how the student complete their activities, but why and for how long they are sticking to them.

Motivation and motivation regulation have an interdependent and curvilinear relation. Student’s with high motivation rarely need to regulate their motivation, and students with low motivation rarely even begin regulating their motivation. Thus, students who have some initial motivation but face difficulties during studies resort to motivation regulation strategies more often than students with very high or very low motivation.

According to Wolters, motivation regulation strategies must meet two criteria: 1) students must be deliberately acting to attempt influencing their motivation and 2) the strategy used should actually help or improve student’s motivation and subsequent performance.

2. Motivation regulation strategies: One critical aspect of SRL is strategies used to regulate motivation.

Motivation mindmap

Self-consequenting means that a student can administer rewards or punishments on herself for reaching some goal in completing a certain task. For example, a student can motivate herself to read a chapter of a study book, and having a big cup of hot chocolate after that as an reward.

Goal-oriented self-talk can be used in such a way that the student tries to reason and explain to herself why she needs to persist and complete the task.  For example, she can reason that she must complete the task so that she will do well in a test and get good grades, or that she will learn the subject thoroughly and gain new knowledge.

– By interest enhancement the student tries to make the task more enjoyable or interesting to persist on it. Make studying into a game, for example.

Environmental structuring means making the environment such that there is less chance for distraction or at least less intense distraction. For example, organising the studying environment so that there is no noise.

Self-handicapping means making obstacles before or during the task to make the task performance more difficult which in turn hampers motivation. Examples of these are putting off work until the last minute or staying up late the night before the exam.

Attribution control refers to student’s perceived causes of their performance (either good or poor performance). For example, the student can explain their poor performance¬†on the lack of ability (which lowers their motivation further) rather than lack of effort (which in turn is something that the student could improve by regulating her motivation).

Efficacy-management is connected to student’s self-efficacy or beliefs about her¬†capabilities and how successful she is in her performance in tasks (perceived competence). This can be divided into three different strategies: proximal goal setting (breaking complex or large tasks into more simpler¬†or smaller tasks), defensive pessimism (students highlight their lack of ability or other such factor to convince themselves that they are not able to do the required task), and efficacy self-talk (students try to reassure themselves that they are going to perform well).

Emotion regulation refers to ability to monitor, evaluate and change the occurance, intensity and duration of emotional experience to ensure that the student can provide effort and complete the tasks.

3. Future research needs on motivation.¬†Wolter’s says that all motivational regulation strategies¬†are not¬†appropriate in all situations nor in response to all motivational problems. Additional research that documents the situational influences would help to clarify the conditions where¬†motivation regulation strategies facilitate the students performance the most. He also stresses that motivation regulation should be studies to find out what is the relationship of motivation regulation and other processes importat for SRL. Equally important would be to study further how students’ motivation regulation develops in time.

 Zimmerman, B. J. (2011). Motivational sources and outcomes of self-regulated learning and performance.

1. Role of motivation in student’s self-regulated learning. It can be argued that high motivation increase student’s attention the learning processes and ¬†outcomes. It also increase student’s choice of tasks as well as the time the student is willing to persist on difficult tasks. Students with low motivation need help from teachers to enhance their motivation the spend time in practicing in implementing self-regulatory processes. Research has proven that SRL strategy training can enhance many aspect of student motivation.

2.Sources of motivation. Zimmerman describes different sources of motivation in his article:

Sources of motivation

Goal-orientation can be divided to performance goals and learning goals. The purpose of performance goal is to receive positive feedback from one’s performance and avoid negative judgement. Learning goals is to actually increase one’s knowledge and gain positive self-judgement though it.

Interest can be divided to situational interest and individual interest. Situational interest is formed in situ, and usually the motivation does not transfer beyond that situation. Individual interest is enduring and directs the activities, objects or ideas the person chooses and pursues.

Intrinsic motivation involves the perceived role of various types of reward on student’s valuing of an activity.¬†Intrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by internal rewards. In other words, the motivation to engage in a behavior arises from within the individual because it is intrinsically rewarding. This contrasts with extrinsic motivation, which involves engaging in a behavior in order to earn external rewards or avoid punishments

Task value refer’s to students perceived worth of a particular task. This can be divided into attainment value or importance, intrinsic value, utility value or usefulness, and cost.

Self-efficacy and outcome beliefs. Self-efficacy ¬†refers to expectancies about personal capabilities to organise and execute courses of action. Outcome expectancies refers to the results of one’s actions.

Future time perspective (FTP) focuses in student’s beliefs about the outcomes of efforts to self-regulate. SR is viewed in terms of conflict between immediate and delayed outcomes, that is, students with long FTP should remain motivated longer than those with short FTP.

Volition process enables students to focus their concentration and sustain their effort in dealing with personal and environmental distractions. Research shows that use of volitional strategies can serve as a source of academic self-regulation.

Causal attribution refers to student’s perceived causes of their performance (either good or poor performance). Students who attribute causation to internal, changeable and controllable methods should be more motivated to continue self-regulating their learning than those students who view causation as external, unchangeable and not controllable.

3. Cyclical view of motivation during SRL. According to social-cognitive view, SRL is divided into three cyclical phases: forethought, performance and self-reflection each of which include metacognitive processes and motivation feelings.

a) In forethough phase the student analyses the task by setting goals and making a strategic plan. These depend on student’s motivational feelings: self-efficacy, outcome expectancies, task interest/value and goal orientation. This phase helps the student to prepare to the upcoming task to learn and self-regulate learning.

b) In performance phase student exerts self-control strategies and self-observation. Self-control strategies include metacognitive strategies (such as task strategy and imagery), volitional strategies (such as action control and emotional state control), and motivation strategies (such as self-consequenting, environmental structuring, self-instructions, interest enhancement). Self-observation refers to metacognitive monitoring or self-recording of certain aspects of one’s performance, conditions and effects. The performance phase influences student’s attention and actions.

c) Self-reflection phase processes are self-judgement and self-reaction. Self-judgement comprises of self-evaluation and causal attribution, self-reaction comprises of self-satisfaction and adaptive or defensive inferences. Self-reaction phase creates reactions to prior learning (performance phase) and consequently affects how the student prepares for the upcoming learning tasks (forethought phase).



ICE notes from lecture

ICE 1: On the lecture Ms. Hanna J√§rvel√§ talked about the features that affect motivation: interest, values, self-efficacy, motivation goals and causal attribution. I have never before thought that values affect motivation so much, though now that I come to think about it, it’s pretty obvious that the higher¬†you value something the more keen you are on spending your time and effort on it. But to what extend can values be changed or affected to by an external agent (or person).

Take for example in elementary school, if there is a student who does not value learning (and is thus unmotivated), can this be affected and changed. Perhaps. Could it be that if learning, for example a task in some subject, is made interesting and fun, it would evoke situational interest in the low-motivated student. Furthermore, if the task is challenging enough (not too challenging to be attainable) it would result in affecting positively the student’s self-efficacy. This in turn would affect positively the student’s motivation, and perhaps in the longer run, the situational interest of the task in the certain subject would turn into personal interest. And this in turn would also change the student’s value in that the student would start valuing learning more.

It’s important that the student is able to use different learning strategies and strategies to control and affect their emotions and motivation, especially in the situations when they face difficulties, for example, if the tasks seem very difficult or just merely boring. However, the teachers should compose their tasks so that they are challenging enough to be attainable, but also interesting and why not even fun. This way the students’ motivation would have a better change to stay high, and the students would not have to even begin using their strategies for motivation regulation. ūüôā

ICE 2: Motivation is the fuel that directs, maintains and hinders activity.

I’m motivated to study and want to learn, but that does not prevent me from feeling unmotivated sometimes. I find that the most difficulties I face in situations where I don’t understand something, for example, when I’m reading articles and come across difficult concepts and complex theories I have trouble understanding. Then I become easily frustrated, and start even questioning my self-efficacy (“I’m I just plain stupid, or why can’t I get this.”), and then my motivation sinks. Usually I recognise my negative feeling first, and try to address it by for example taking a break in between the reading, and just calm down. Then I decide to try again, but perhaps in a different way¬†(break down the reading to smaller parts, or try to find additional information from the internet that would clarify the difficult issue). So what I’ve done conciously has been to control my feelings, and apply strategies that help me to continue and persist, though I’ve considered these strategies more as volitional strategies that help me in studying than as strategies that help my motivation.

According to volitional model, motivation refers to the state and processes ¬†prior to deciding on one’s choice of goals (i.e. pre-decisional processes), whereas volition refers to post-decisional processes which deals with the implementation of strategies and attaining one’s goals. Strictly taken ¬†this could be interpreted as motivation staying the same throughout the learning process or doing a task, and volitional processes guiding the person throughout the task. However, motivation can change quickly during a task, so it should be monitored and assessed throughout the learning/task.

Emotions, motivation as well as learning strategies all play a crucial role in effective learning, and they are and should be rehearsed throughout one’s life. It all begins, when one’s a child, with recognising one’s feelings and learning how to control them. For example, witt young children parents can help them recognise the negative feelings and advise the children how to control them. Usually children get quite angry purely for the reason that they are either tired or hungry, so the parents can help the child to recognise the feeling and the reason for it. For example, the parent can say that “I think you feel angry because you are hungry. Perhaps we could eat a little snack so I’m sure you feel much better after that.”

When children go to elementary school, they already should be quite good at regulating their emotions, but as they are still growing up, they may sometimes need help with their emotions.¬†Around that time, when children go to school, motivation and motivation regulation comes quite important.¬†With my 7-year-old first-grader I’ve notice that I do not only have to check her homework, but I also have to try help her with the motivation, especially when she’s struggling with difficult homework. Usually I have to try to boost her self-confidence (i.e. her feeling of self-efficacy is low), and tell her that if we keep on trying, she will eventually learn and it will get also easier. I can also suggest to her, that maybe we can try doing little parts of the task one by one and take breaks in between. What I’ve also noticed is that when she does well on some task, she’s so happy that she wants to do some extra tasks and is very eager to tell and also show us how she has completed the tasks. So at that point she’s very motivated to learn more.

So with young children it’s important that they first learn how to control their emotions and motivation, and later on when they are older and in school, knowing how to use different learning strategies becomes also important.


This week was a hard week because I had so much to do, that is to read and write and collaborate, for several different courses at the same time. This time I had the opportunity to read all the required three articles thoroughly, and it took time, yes. In addition to this, I still find writing blog posts to be hard work, because you have to really think about what is relevant and be accurate in what you say Рyou would not want to pass on wrong information or incorrect interpretations of, for example, learning theories, so you need to check thoroughly that what you are presenting is correct.

I have not counted the hours how much effort I have put into this week, but it has been a lot, perhaps somewhere around three whole working days. I probably should give myself a pad on the back. But what were the issues that kept me going? The main reasons for me was the interest in this particular subject. Also, when I finished some task (for example reading an article and realised that I really understood what was said in it), it gave me confidence to move on to next task. In addition,  I want to do well on this course, and to really gain knowledge from this that I can make use of later on in my studies and work as well.

Next week we are moving onto the subject of metacognition. I hope my motivation and energy level will stay as high as this week, so that I will be able to perform well. The strategies I’ve used this week have worked quite well, so I plan to proceed pretty much the same way as before.


J√§rvenoja, H., & J√§rvel√§, S. (2009).¬†Emotion control in collaborative learning situations ‚Äď do students regulate emotions evoked from social challenges?¬†British Journal of Educational Psychology, 79,¬†463-481.

Wolters, C. A. (2003). Regulation of Motivation: Evaluating an Underemphasized Aspect of Self-Regulated Learning. Educational Psychologist, 38 (4), pp. 189-205.

Zimmerman, B. J. (2011). Motivational sources and outcomes of self-regulated learning¬†and performance. In B. J. Zimmerman, & D. H. Schunk (Eds.), Handbook of¬†self-regulation of learning and performance (pp. 49‚Äď64). New York: Routledge.


About kaipihla

A student in Learning, Education and Technology Master's degree program in University of Oulu, Finland.
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