Whether rewards or punishment works in learning

I liked the video “what motivates us”. It showed monetary rewards worked for mechanistic works. Behavioral skills can be improved by external motivation in terms of rewards and punishment. Students are also motivated by grades, which works as an extrinsic motivation. If the learning approach is to mastery about behavioral skills, then rewards and punishment will work. However, if the learning requires critical thinking and conceptual growth, then punishment and reward system may not results good learning. In that case, some sort of self-empowerment and challenges would be a good choice. Self-empowerment can be the autonomy of deciding course policy, preferred exam methods, and flexible deadlines for assignments.  I think the instructors would find better engagement if they change the learning approach. The learning approach needs to be what the students want to learn instead of what the teachers want to teach in a subject matter.

1 thought on “Whether rewards or punishment works in learning

  1. Nice post!

    I agree about intrinsic motivation. We make time for what’s important to us, right? So when this (very cool) video walks us through internal and external motivators, it’s pretty clear that we miss the mark (no pun intended) if, as instructors, we don’t recognize and leverage intrinsic motivators.

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