Use of Rewards to Motivate Learners

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The use of external rewards to inspire students to get good grades has been used since time immemorial (Davis & Middleton, 2006). In every classroom, students learn differently. There are children that are intrinsically motivated while others are extrinsically motivated. Abramovich, Schunn, & Higashi (2013) considered educational badges as an alternative assessment to increase motivation among learners.

Students who are motivated inherently display an interest to learn; normally, they seek after a subject for the joy of learning or for achievement purposes (Ledford Jr., Gerhart, & Fang, 2013). Naturally spurred learners have a tendency to incline toward testing errands and comprehending data inside and out. They will probably pick projects that request more prominent exertion than outwardly propelled students who typically work to get some reward or to keep away from a punishment. Extraneously inspired learners have a tendency to incline toward less demanding undertakings and are slanted to advance the negligible measure of exertion for the most extreme reward (Filsecker & Hickey, 2014). Despite the fact that children who enter school are regularly disposed to be either characteristically or extrinsically motivated, an advantageous objective for educators is to encourage intrinsic motivation in children.

Numerous educators have found that learner motivation can be instilled by giving unmistakable rewards, for example, prizes, stickers, or treats (Carlton, 2003). They declared that strengthening suitable practices can have positive outcomes since students tend to proceed or work on an activity that is remunerated (Chaltain, 2010). They expressed that a few guardians do not urge their students to do their best at school and henceforth, the learners are apathetic regarding learning. These educators demanded that unmistakable prizes can enable these learners to build up motivation to put forth a concentrated effort. They also said that by using rewards, students figure out how to tune in, to finish work, and to carry on properly. Others contended that prizes downgrade learning and check the improvement of self-restraint and characteristic motivation (Cameron & Pierce, 1996).

Student motivation influences each part of school life, from participation, to scholarly execution, to additional curricular exercises. Advancing the best understudy motivation conceivable is critical for each instructor in grades K-12, particularly in the present instructive atmosphere, where schools are persistently under strain to enhance test scores, duty, and responsibility. Learners with learning inabilities confront considerably more prominent difficulties consistently as they stroll into classrooms. Since these learners can battle with the least demanding of errands introduced by educators, learners with learning handicaps can appear like the most unmotivated of all, going to extremes not to demonstrate their shortcomings.

Because of these weights, instructors barrage learners with the guarantee of prizes—stickers for good behavior, treats for finishing assignments, snacks for handing over homework. Of the considerable number of prizes given, grades are the most well-known reward. However, these great aims are coming up short. At the point when rewards are given, kids do not see themselves responsible for learning. They approach and finish assignments uniquely in contrast to when rewards are not given, and their work is judged as less inventive (Amabile & Gitomer, 1984).

In particular, learners do not see the reason/impact interface between the moves they make and the things that transpire. Rehashed disappointments in school make them construct boundaries to ensure themselves, and in this manner they wind up noticeably uninvolved in school. Prizes, at that point, ought to be supplanted with showing that is centered around the natural motivation of the understudy. A shared objective ought to be to have the understudy’s advantage be at the focal point of their learning, not a reward. Learners who are instructed to see themselves as causal specialists in the classroom participate in more hazard taking behavior, and increment their accomplishment (DeCharms, 1972). Additionally, learners who see themselves as responsible for their learning have better confidence (Ryan & Grolnick, 1986).

This paper seeks to explore the use of rewards to motivate learners. We hypothesize that rewards are great; however, they must not be used as a sole motivating factor to encourage students to learn. Teachers have to structure learning in such a way that the students become more engaged and willing to participate. To achieve the aim of this paper, we will explore the different research studies conducted in the past. These literary pieces are relevant to the use of rewards in the classroom. Further, from the research, we will conclude whether rewards should be used as a motivating factor and explore other options to help students become more engaged and willing to learn.

Literature Review

Instructive reformers have looked to elective evaluations as a way to boost the advantages of appraisals while limiting negative impacts (Abramovich et al., 2013). Moving far from the way of life of state administered testing permits, more choices have been made available for instructional planners in the development of evaluations that allow a more extensive assortment of criticism and information to learners and educators. One option appraisal that has started to pick up footing among reformers and instructional architects is instructive identifications (Alberts, 2010). Identifications, much like their partners in exploring and videogames, are viewed as an approach to evaluate learning outside of formal tutoring. The backers of instructive identifications—a teacher or instructive association—can give a representative honor for an ability, learning, or accomplishment like how they right now give degrees or declarations. The image, as identification, would then be able to be shown by the student to tell others of their dominance or information. In this way, instructional planners can utilize instructive identifications to impact engagement and learning. For instance, identifications can give centered objectives, testing undertakings, clear measures, and insistence of execution, oddity, decision, and genuineness.

Advocates guarantee that identifications can be offered as an option evaluation that will build student motivation while keeping up fantastic input. Instructive identifications share a large number of similar highlights of the legitimacy identification and computer game models. Like legitimacy identifications, instructive identifications are generally offered for discovering that happens outside of conventional instructive establishments. Instructive identifications are usually distinguishable on a student’s online profile by a student’s companions, like how videogame identifications are visible to different players and how scouts show identifications on scarves. Like videogame accomplishments, identifications can be granted for coincidental action notwithstanding authority of abilities or show of information.

Reward frameworks more often than not are focused for and utilized the most with kids with learning incapacities or mellow disables, and have been utilized generally in specialized curriculum classrooms (Schultz & Switzky, 1990). In any case, the utilization of these projects has not prompt the successful utilization of prizes. Best examinations demonstrating a change in the aptitudes of youngsters with learning inabilities have managed a barely characterized ability, and not the mind-boggling undertakings that these learners will be required to do in reality.

Albeit some outward rewards might be important to kick learners off in an instruction program, the heft of substance ought to be fixated on aptitudes that advance inherent motivation and prompt the dominance of summed up abilities (Schultz & Switzky, 1990). All classrooms at that point ought to utilize methodologies to encourage the advancement of inherent motivation. Keeping in mind the end goal to do this, there first should be an independent classroom atmosphere. The learners should be given choices, the chance to decide, and to feel that they have some control over nature and their learning (Amabile & Gitomer, 1984). Learners additionally need to get direction in confident practices, for example, objective setting (DeCharms, 1972). Instructors can have a less demanding time managing bad behavior on the off chance that they endeavor to perceive the motivational premise of trouble making (Adelman & Taylor, 1990). There are many moves instructors can make so as to enhance understudy motivation.

The term characteristic motivation is by and large comprehended rather than extraneous motivation. Naturally propelled practices are those in which there is no obvious reward aside from with the movement itself. Extraneous motivation, then again, is said to happen when an action is remunerated by motivating forces not inherent in the assignment. Despite the fact that these terms have been censured (Dickinson, 1989), they are acknowledged by numerous scientists. The refinement amongst natural and outward motivation drove clinicians to guess about the connection between these two sources. One view was that inherent and outward motivation consolidated in an added substance mold to create general motivation. For instance, in work settings, authoritative therapists contended that ideal execution would happen when occupations were intriguing and testing and representatives were remotely compensated for their work. Different scholars tested the added substance supposition, recommending rather that extraneous prizes may meddle with characteristic motivation (DeCharms, 1976). The possibility that outward rewards could disturb characteristic motivation incited a progression of investigations completed in the mid-1970s (Deci, 1971). In the underlying examinations, analysts tried the theory that outer prizes would undermine intrinsic motivation either by subverting sentiments of ability and self-assurance or by diverting the wellspring of motivation from inside to outside causes. Characteristic motivation was induced from changes in time spent on an action once compensates were evacuated, execution amid the non-remunerated stage, or communicated undertaking interest. At the point when rewards were found to bring down time on errand, execution, or intrigue, the specialists guaranteed that prizes undermined characteristic motivation. Results from the early investigations seemed to offer some help for the undermining theory. That is, when people were guaranteed a material reward, their execution, time on assignment, and intrigue diminished once the reward was not any more approaching.

Qualities of Intrinsic Motivation

Educators normally depict great learners as persevering, intrigued, and persuaded (Spaulding, 1992). Motivation is a word heard again and again as essential to a kid’s learning, and is frequently heard just like a noteworthy issue in schools today. Two sorts of motivation, inherent and outward motivation, have been distinguished by Deci (1971). Deci depicts a characteristically spurred individual as one who takes part in a movement for the action itself; the reward being the action. A tyke who cleans his space with the end goal of showing his baseball card gathering is said to be naturally roused. Extraneous motivation happens when a man finishes an action since it prompts the receipt of an outside reward. A kid who is guaranteed an outing to the motion pictures in the wake of cleaning his room is said to be outwardly inspired. While the dominant part of prizes given in school can be thought of as extraneous sparks, kids take in the most when guided by natural motivation. Kids who are naturally propelled show various practices that enable them to perform in like manner with their scholarly capacities (Spaulding, 1992). For instance, youngsters who are intrinsically roused turned out to be profoundly engaged with the job that needs to be done and encounter a sentiment delight (Amabile & Gitomer, 1984), and search out difficulties with the expectation of vanquishing them (Adelman & Taylor, 1990). As found by DeCharms (1972), a naturally roused individual feels that he can attempt to deliver an adjustment in the earth, and feels certain that the change will happen. Kids seen exhibiting these qualities in the classroom would be described as propelled, great learners. Kids with learning incapacities additionally benefit from inherent motivation. These youngsters tend to work longer and harder on undertakings than outwardly persuaded kids with learning inabilities, and have been appeared to set up basic inner frameworks of self-reward and dominance objectives. Youngsters showing elevated amounts of Intrinsic motivation can accomplish at levels that are higher than anticipated by mental testing the advancement of natural motivation is to be sure urgent to the learning of kids with and without learning inabilities.

The Effect of Rewards on Learning

Intrinsic motivation is imperative to the advancement of deep rooted students; however, it is frequently difficult to see in numerous classrooms. Numerous instructors, in both general and specialized curriculum, have come to depend on prizes and motivating force programs with a specific end goal to oversee behavior and learning. For instance, an instructor may give a kid a treat for going into the room unobtrusively with the expectation that the reward will expand the possibility that the kid will go into the room discreetly whenever. The instructor may feel that she is advancing a gainful classroom condition, yet the kid just realizes what practices win a treat. He doesn’t find out about the esteem of a profitable classroom condition. The field of behaviorism has added to the basic utilization of prizes in the classroom.

The field of behaviorism delivered a hypothesis in the 1950’s that vigorously impacted the utilization of prizes in schools. A reinforcer is any boost given after a behavior that expands the shot of the behavior repeating. Over a significant time span, educators are utilizing the standards of operant molding when they give out stickers, treats, and acclaim. The intense thought of operant molding is liable to preventative articulations. Numerous support procedures are focused for use in populaces with mellow debilitates, and that care ought to be utilized while picking fortification with a specific gathering. Indeed, even with the alerts, the standards of operant molding have seen an across the board execution in instruction.

The planning of a reward likewise influences motivation. In an investigation done at a nursery school, Lepper, Greene  & Nisbett, (1973) allocated 51 youngsters with a high enthusiasm for attracting to one of three test conditions. One gathering of learners consented to finish an illustration movement for a reward of a testament and star, one gathering finished the illustration action, after that they got an unexpected reward, and the third gathering finished the action yet got no reward. The creators at that point contemplated the measure of time subjects went through with the illustration supplies amid free decision time. Lepper et al. (1973) discovered that the subjects who got no honor or a surprising prize invested fundamentally more energy attracting than subjects the normal honor condition. Prizes contracted for before an action starts seem to undermine enthusiasm for that action later on, since learners in the surprising prize condition still invested significant energy drawing amid extra time. Notwithstanding the sort, sum, and timing of a reward, analysts likewise considered the impact of prizes on the way toward learning.

Prizes have been appeared to meddle with the nature of getting the hang of occurring. An investigation by Masters & Mokros (1973) demonstrated that a reward of sustenance diverted the subjects from the learning errand, and brought about less learning. The subjects, nursery school learners, were given bits of confection for revise replies in learning assignments managing building pieces, while a control bunch was not given anything for redress answers. The gathering accepting confection turned out to be slower in procurement of the new aptitude, and tended to influence a bigger number of mistakes than the control to gathering. This examination underpins the possibility that the learning errand just turns into an approach to get compensate, similar to the kid going into the room discreetly to get a bit of sweet. Rewards for this situation have no place in the classroom since they make learners make more blunders and wind up noticeably occupied.


Motivation alludes to those reasons that underlie conduct that is portrayed by eagerness and volition. Inborn motivation is motivation that is vivified by individual delight, intrigue, or joy. Analysts frequently balance inborn motivation with extraneous motivation, which is motivation administered by support possibilities. Customarily, teachers view inborn motivation as more alluring and to bring about better learning results than extraneous motivation.

Motivation includes a group of stars of firmly related convictions, recognitions, values, interests, and activities. For instance, self-viability is a person’s apparent capability in a given territory, and individuals have a tendency to be more spurred to take part in exercises at which they exceed expectations. A man’s view of control over their own victories and disappointments are known as attributions, with specific sorts of attributions more prone to fortify motivation than others. In specific, crediting inability to absence of exertion is more propelling than ascribing inability to absence of capacity, while the inverse is valid for fruitful execution. Qualities are motivators or reasons for participating in specific exercises, with inherent esteems more inclined to cultivate industriousness and exertion than achievement esteems or qualities concentrating on costs. Interests are “collaborations between an individual and certain parts of his or her condition.” Interests are content-particular and come in two structures: singular intrigue and situational intrigue. Singular intrigue is a moderately steady characteristic created as for a specific point or subject. Situational enthusiasm, on the other hand, is prompt, full of feeling, and fleeting, and mirrors certain natural elements, for example, undertaking attributes. Singular intrigue is accepted to encourage more prominent long haul determination than situational intrigue. At long last, a man’s objectives are identified with his or her purposes behind drawing in with an assignment. Authority objectives concentrate on learning for learning, while execution objectives are worried about exceeding expectations in connection to others. Understudies holding authority objectives are more probable than those holding execution objectives to have high self-adequacy, to lean toward exertion attributions, to persevere at testing assignments, and to utilize subjective procedures related with self-managed learning. Such systems include defining achievable objectives, checking one’s execution, assessing advancement, and confining victories and disappointments as for exertion and capacity.

A typical subject in the exploration of natural motivation is the advancement of a self-governing classroom atmosphere. At the point when youngsters feel responsible for their condition, they are inside propelled to work, as well as experience positive sentiments of self-esteem (Ryan & Grolnick, 1986). It is additionally critical to take note of that despite the fact that an instructor may feel that the earth is independent; the youngster may see it in an unexpected way. A kid’s recognition of the earth ought to be thought about when building up a training design (Adelman & Taylor, 1990). Making a situation where kids consider themselves to be having control is one where they have a few options. Giving youngsters decisions in their learning can be a capable device in creating natural motivation.

Behavior management is another essential piece of the classroom, and motivation has an extensive influence in how kids act. Adelman & Taylor (1990) express that it is critical to distinguish misbehavior from a motivation viewpoint before deciding activity with respect to the educator. Disruption can be thought of as proactive or receptive. Proactive behavior is an activity that an understudy takes part in, so he can feel responsible for the earth. Receptive behavior happens when an understudy feels that his condition is debilitated, and takes activities to evade the unsavory emotions. Avoiding and reacting to trouble making, as indicated by Adelman and Taylor, includes planning the classroom to better match the scope of capacities spoke to, and utilizing coherent results that the learners comprehend and acknowledge as important.

An abundance of experimental confirmation on motivation exists, recommending a few conclusions. To begin with, motivation inside people has a tendency to differ crosswise over branches of knowledge, with this space specificity expanding with age. In the meantime, be that as it may, motivation in perusing may anticipate later motivation in different subjects. Second, there might be sexual orientation contrasts in motivation, despite the fact that proof is blended with respect to the course of such contrasts. Third, motivation in kids predicts motivation further down the road, and the soundness of this relationship fortifies with age. Additionally, early accomplishment and IQ anticipate later motivation, and these connections to have a tendency to settle with age as motivation is solidified. At long last, motivation is identified with a number of other imperative instructive results, including basic considering and metacognition. Metacognition and motivation both strengthen basic deduction abilities in that understudies who are spurred as well as have solid metacognitive capacities will probably think basically. Learning exercises and evaluation errands that call for basic intuition may, thusly, make strides understudy motivation. In addition, motivation underlies the advancement and articulation of metacognition. Self-control incorporates the capacity to oversee and manage full of feeling states, and its impact on scholastic achievement is intervened by motivation. Kids with better self-direction of feeling background more positive social connections at school, which thus expands their level of engagement and scholastic motivation.


The use of rewards to motivate learners can be an effective tool. However, there should be no better substitute to motivate learners to study than letting them understand the importance of learning and structuring the classroom in such a way that it becomes conducive for transference of ideas and knowledge.


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