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József Balázs Fejes: A New Field in Learning Motivation Research: Goal Orientation Theory

This paper provides an overview of the international literature in one of the currently most active areas of learning motivation research, goal orientation theory. Compared to previous theories, the significance of goal orientation theory lies in its emphasis on exploring the interaction between the student and her/his environment. Hence, it may be highly appropriate in providing strong, empirically supported foundations for educational interventions in the field of learning motivation. The approach also integrates previous theories of learning motivation. This paper discusses the position of goal orientation theory among all the psychological theories on goals and introduces the most important concepts of the theory, e.g. goal orientations that point to learners’ motivational characteristics and goal structures that describe the motivational effect of the learning environment. The following section summarizes the history of the theory, its most significant milestones and its educational significance from the perspective of relating goal structures to additional factors that impact school achievement. On the basis of empirical findings related to goal orientation theory, the paper then reviews options for intervention with the purpose of influencing learner motivation. It further presents the most commonly used methods of data collection in investigating goal orientations and goal structures in education and analyses their benefits and drawbacks. Finally, it highlights some of the most important research questions for developing the theory and applying it in educational practice.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 111. Number 1. 25-51. (2011)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Fejes József Balázs, SZTE BTK Neveléstudományi Intézet, H–6722 Szeged, Petőfi S. sgt. 30–34.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia