Which incentives work best?


Which incentives to opt for?

It’s really a question of paramount importance if you want your students to do well.  Should you use extrinsic or intrinsic motivation? Which one works best? Which one has long-term effects on learning outcomes and creativity?

Let’s first define extrinsic and intrinsic motivation!

  • Extrinsic motivation:
    Incentives motivate learning. They include privileges and receiving praise from the teacher who determines the appropriate encouragement for a desired behavior.
  • Intrinsic motivation:
    Internal motivation is longer lasting and more self-directive than is external motivation. The learners who learn faster are those who feel an internal need for a change in behaviour.  The teacher ‘s role is to help the learner develop learners’ readiness to learn, seeking self-satisfaction and respect.

In this video the speaker talks about experiments carried to determine which incentives are better for companies’ performances.  Three main factors are said to determine better performance and personal satisfaction:

  • Autonomy:
    Engagement results from workers being self-directed.
  • Mastery
    To get better at work
  • Purpose
    Being purpose maximized not profit maximized

As you can see none of these factors refer to any kind of reward or external incentives. Extrinsic motivation appears to play but a minor role in the companies performances.

Although the experiments were initially carried to determine performance in the economic field, they are applicable to education. Watch and you will see for yourself.


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