Motivation and emotion/Book/2016/Recreational learning motivation
What motivates people to learn recreationally?
Overview[edit | edit source]
Many people choose to take part in recreational learning, which can be defined as the connection betweenf leisure activities and learning or engaging in classes and workshops outside of work or within one’s leisure or recreational time (Kelly, 2009; Shuell, 1986). This chapter discusses the different factors that can be seen to impact and define what motivates individuals to engage in learning in their recreational time. This chapter also considers what benefits may arise from understanding motivations to engage in recreational learning and its effects.
Learning motivation[edit | edit source]
Although there is not one conclusive definition for learning (Shuell, 1986), learning can be defined as gaining and adopting knowledge, behaviours and skills (Shuell, 1986). The concept of learning is very broad, however there are areas of learning which better apply to recreational learning. One such aspect of learning is self-regulated learning. The concept of self-regulated learning can be described as intentional learning activities driven by onesown direction (Rheinberg, Vollmeyer, & Rollett, 2000). Self-regulated or planned learning has seen to be extremely successful with those who take part in self-regulated learning being very enthusiastic and highly motivated (Tough, 1978).
Motivation can be defined as moved to act or do something (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Research suggests that motivation is key to the success of a student or learner,it has been further suggested that motivation is both a necessary and adequate condition to achieve success in a learners’ studies (Simpson, 2008). Simpson also stated that when a learner is appropriately motivated they have the ability to overcome the barriers that may arise during study such as time, skill development, stress and situation, introducing the concept of an ‘independent learner’ (Simpson, 2008). Self-efficacy can be seen to be a predictor of individual’s performance, learning, and achievement; as self-efficacy is believed to allow for active task involvement need to support performance, learning and achievement (Bandura, Barbaranelli, Caprara, & Pastorelli, 2001). Research suggests that intrinsic motivation, and learning goals also facilitate effective learning and are key for students to achieve (Froiland & Worrell 2006).
Leisure motivation[edit | edit source]
Kelly (2009) defines leisure or recreation as activities that are not considered to be work. Through research such as Kelly’s (2009), recreational activities can be defined as activities that an individual chooses to take part in outside of work furthermore, leisure activities can be considered to be non-essential to living or survival. Chen and Pang (2012) have stated that this type of motivation can be divided into two key types of motivation, internal or intrinsic and external or extrinsic motivation. Furthermore Beard and Ragheb (1983) devised an instrument to measure individual’s recreational motivation - the underlying psychological and sociological drive to take part in recreational activities, identifying four subscales - intellectual, social, competence mastery and stimulus avoidance - through which this aspect of motivation can be measured (Beard & Ragheb, 1983).
Recreational activities can also be seen to affirm identity,an individual’s choice of and participation in recreational activities can serve as a mechanism to place us in situation that supports our perception of self and others perception of who we are (Haggard & Williams, 1992). As such it can be suggested that some of the activities that individuals may choose to take part in are chosen due to their ability to cement aspects of one’s identity (Haggard & Williams, 1992). This can be considered within the context of studying recreationally, as people who might consider themselves to be creative may take part in art classes in their recreation time. Research has also been found to suggest that engagement in recreational activities can result in better psychological well-being (Adams, Leibbrandt, & Moon, 2010).
Motivational theories[edit | edit source]
The orientation or type of motivation can be seen to be very telling about an individual’s goals and attitudes (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Motivation can be considered to fall on a continuum ranging from amotivation – no intention to act or no motivation - , extrinsic –external - motivation, through to intrinsic – internal - motivation, with many subsets of extrinsic motivation leading through to intrinsic motivation (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Ryan & Deci, 2000)
Intrinsic motivation[edit | edit source]
Intrinsic motivation is an internal motivation to act or do something that results in outcomes that are acknowledged within one’s self or is inherently intriguing and enjoyable to an individual (Ryan & Deci, 2000).
Within the context of recreational activities intrinsic motivation can be considered as ones’motivation to take part in an activity - such as classes or workshops – because of one’s personal pleasure or fulfilment resulting from the chosen activity (Amato, Lundberg, Ward, Schaalje, & Zabriskie, 2016). Intrinsic motivation can be considered a largely influential factor in an individual’s motivation to take part in recreational learning as activities that are perceived to benefit the individual and are identity affirming are also often intrinsically motivated and lead to pleasure (Chen & Pang, 2012; Haggard & Williams, 1992) .
Extrinsic motivation[edit | edit source]
Extrinsic motivation is an external motivation to act or do something in order to have an outcome that is outside of one’s self such as to gain money, rewards, notoriety or due to social pressure and may not necessarily be representative of one’s self (Reiss, 2012; Ryan & Deci, 2000). Through this it can be seen that individuals may undertake classes or workshops in their recreational time due to the motivation of extrinsic or external factors that may result in different facets of reinforcement (Chen & Pang, 2012). Suggesting that reward and reinforcement can play a role in the motivation to take part in recreational learning (Chen & Pang, 2012) .
Self determination theory[edit | edit source]
Self-determination theory is a highly regarded theory that offers an explanation as to how an individual can become intrinsically motivated (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Ryan and Deci’s (2000) research suggests that within intrinsic motivation there are three psychological needs that need to be fulfilled; Autonomy, competence and relatedness. These three factors and one’s need to fulfil them is considered to be the underlying force of intrinsic motivation (Ryan & Deci, 2000).
Autonomy is the need to have control over or regulate one’s own behaviour (Amato et al., 2016). When considering this in relation to Rheinberg et al. (2000) and Kelly’s (2009) research, recreational learning could be considered to be autonomous as it is a self-regulated non-work activity or task. Through research it can be seen that when individuals can be autonomous; they act in ways that have positive results meaning that the motivation to take part in recreational learning could be higher than motivation to engage in other non-leisure activities (Rocchi, Pelletier, & Lauren Couture, 2013; Ryan & Deci, 2000).
Competence can be considered as an individuals’need to be competent in tasks they undertake (Amato et al., 2016). Competence can be considered very important as fulfilling the need of competence can result in a feeling of reward within the individual and lead the individual to partake in the activity again (Ryan & Deci, 2000). This can be considered within the context of recreational learning as when an individual feels a sense of reward upon completion of an aspect of, or an activity in class, they will be more likely to continue attending the class.
Autonomy and competence can often be considered to be interrelated (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Relatedness can be considered separately from those needs as it can be considered as the need to experience relationships or connections with others (Amato et al., 2016). This need can be seen to be satiated through activities that involve interacting with others such as in a class or workshop (Ryan & Deci, 2000).
Hierarchy of human needs[edit | edit source]
Maslow's need hierarchy (Maslow, 1943, 1987) can be considered when discussing motivation and recreational activities and learning (Burleson, 2005; Shapiro & Stern, 1977). In particular, growth motivation can be considered (Maslow, 1943). Maslow (1943) stated that within the proposed need hierarchy there are two kinds of motivation growth and deficiency. The proposed deficiency motivation can be found at the bottom of the hierarchy including physiological needs, safety and security needs, love and belongingness needs, esteem needs; while growth motivation is focused at the upper cluster of the hierarchy, self-actualisation.
Self-actualisation[edit | edit source]
Maslow's (1943) research states that after the satisfaction of all deficiency needs, people become aware of their growth needs, leading them to become discontent and wanting for something more. That something more is the need to fulfil their personal potential and this need provides the energy, focus and direction needed to reach their personal potential (Maslow, 1943). Maslow (1943) stated "A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy. What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualisation". From Maslow's statements and research it can be seen that self-actualisation can fuel a person’s need to follow their passions and work - study and practice - towards becoming competent in the activities they are passionate about (Burleson, 2005).
Achievement goal theory[edit | edit source]
Achievement goal theory defines and describes achievement behaviour, within this theory achievement orientation or an individual’s purpose is used to determine and motivate an individual’s achievement and learning behaviour (Dull, Schleifer, & McMillan, 2015). The two main elements of Achievement goal theory are mastery and performance goals, mastery goals focus on developing overcoming barriers though hard work and persistence competence, self-improvement and progress whilst performance goals focus on proving one’s self, outperforming others and showing ability (Ames & Archer, 1988).
Mastery vs. performance goals[edit | edit source]
When adopting mastery goals, individuals are seen to be associated with productive, healthy and positive ways of behaving, thinking and feeling, while those that adopt performance goals can be perceived as thinking, feeling and behaving in an unproductive, unhealthy and negative manner (Ames & Archer, 1988). Furthermore through research such as Ames and Archer's (1988) it can be seen that individuals thatadopt mastery goals, rather than performance goals, have a higher likelihood of being intrinsically motivated rather than extrinsically motivated (Heyman & Dweck, 1992), have a higher likelihood of asking for information from others in order to keep working independently (Newman, 1991), prefer harder tasks that are challenging and aid learning rather than easy tasks that allow them to display their ability (Elliot & Dweck, 1988) and employ learning strategies outside of simple or superficial leaning strategies such as rote learning to engage with and learn information (Ames, & Archer, 1988).
Both mastery and performance goals can be seen to support achievement and are evident throughout different settings (Elliot & Church, 1997; Harackiewicz, Barron, Carter, Lehto, & Elliot, 1997). Although it should be noted that the strategies and behaviours of those adopting mastery goals are seen to have an improved performance, more persistence and harder working than those that take on performance goals (Elliot & Dweck, 1988).
Mastery goal based courses and programs have a positive effect not only on attitudes towards the course or program and instruction and increase the studentstime and effort in activities (Kulik, Kulik, & Bangert-Drowns, 1990). Bloom’s (1968) research investigating mastery classes found that 90% students are able to achieve equally to what the top 10% of students would have previously achieved, suggesting that mastery goals lead to increased performance and greater results than performance goals (Bloom, 1968).
Steve started learning to play the guitar because he was interested in the guitar wanted to learn more about the guitar whilst gaining a new skill,Steve practiced outside of the classes and attended each class and engaged in the classes; asking questions. Although Steve did not see an immediate improvement in this new skill, as he kept working at it he found that he became competent and wanted to continue further to improve and hone his guitar skills.
From this example it can be seen that Jonathon was motivated by extrinsic performance goals and as a result did not persist, achieve his goals or ask for assistance to improve his skills.Whereas, Steve can be seen to be motivated by intrinsic mastery goals, through this Steve can be seen to have achieved his goals, work hard and persist through struggles and try to learn through different mediums such as attending the class, asking for help when he needed it and practicing in his own time.
Flow[edit | edit source]
Flow is a state of concentration that includes a holistic and profound involvement in ones chosen activity (Keller & Bless, 2008). Research such as Csikszentmihalyi’s (1975, 1982, 1990) found that, the state of flow can be present across recreational activities, careers and academic learning. Due to the pleasure experienced during flow many individuals have been found to repeat or return to activities in order experience that pleasure of flow over and over again (Csikszentmihalyi & Nakamura, 1989). Flow is found to occur when an individual uses their skills to take on and achieve something they find challenging (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975).
Although the balance between skill and challenge can be complex, if onesskill and challenge are matched or high, one can have an ‘optimal experience’ but if challenge outweighs skill one can experience anxiety and conversely if ones skill outweighs challenge they could experience boredom (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975). The delicacy of flow can be further seen in low skill pared with low challenge which can result in extremely low levels of emotion and cognition motivation or a complete disinterest or lack of care in the task of activity (Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde, & Whalen, 1993). Through the study of mastery motivation and flow is can be seen that flow and mastery could motivate an individual to pursue intrinsically motivated activities and information that both challenges them and allows them to use their skills and knowledge to further improve themselves and to experience the pleasure that flow allows, this could include taking part in classes outside of formal studies.
Recreational learning and wellness[edit | edit source]
The impact of intrinsically rather than extrinsically motivated recreational learning can extend beyond fulfilling a person’s potential or best self, taking part in recreational activities can also be seen to have positive impacts on individuals well-being and health (Ten Brummelhuis & Trougakos, 2014). Research suggests that individuals who take part in off-job or recreational activities report feeling rejuvenated and less exhaustion than those who do not engage in intrinsically motivated off-job activities (Ten Brummelhuis & Trougakos, 2014). Ten Brummelhuis and trougakos (2014) suggest that engaging in intrinsically motivated off -job activities or recreational activities can lead to overall well-being and clearer focus of working individuals.
Brooke comes to work the day after her glassworks class feeling invigorated and ready to focus on work while AJ comes to work after a night watching television and going over emails feeling tired and as though he needs a break from work.
Through the example of Brooke can be seen to be positively affected by her recreational classes, giving her an outlet to relax and focus on something other than her work, whilst AJ can be seen to only be focused on work and allows it to enter into his personal life, leaving him drained and in need of a break from his work.
The positive effects of recreational activities such as learning are evident not only in physical well-being but also in mental health (Lloyd, King, McCarthy, & Scanlan, 2007). Lloyd et al. (2007) found that participation in leisure or recreational activities and leisure motivation can lead to increased perception of improvements and improvements in patient’s mental health. Through this research Lloyd et al. (2007) suggests that increasing leisure based classes - including classes and workshops - could lead to improvements of mental health patient’s health and social integration. Research by (Adams et al., 2010) also states that individuals that report engaging in more recreational activities than others also exhibit better physiological well-being than those who do not partake in recreational activities. Through understanding the benefits of recreational learning it is possible to educate people about these benefits and therefore allowing them to gain from the physical and mental benefits.
Conclusion[edit | edit source]
There are many different factors that contribute to motivating an individual to take part in recreational learning, whether it is through attempts to reach self-actualisation, to experience flow, to impress others or through a passion and interest in a particular topic. The impact of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can be seen in the goals of an individual, whether someone may want to study art in order to become a famous artist earning large amounts of money (this can be considered external motivation and performance goals) or if they may want to study art in order to learn more about a subject they a passionate about and to enhance their skills and understanding (this can be considered to be intrinsically motivated and mastery goals). Some of the other factors that could be seen to contribute to motivating an individual to take part in recreational learning are the experience of flow and the physical and mental health and well-being benefits that can be found in those who take part in recreational activities such as classes and workshops. Though understanding what motivates people to take part in recreational learning it is possible to use this understanding to get people more engaged in recreational learning in order to benefit from the health and well-being improvements that could be gained.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Book chapter: Leisure motivation
- Book chapter: Feedback for learning motivation
- Book chapter: Mastery motivation
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References[edit | edit source]
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