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Theories of Learning and Motivation

Theories of learning and motivation

Education theories and approaches employed in various domains bring up valuable nuances on links establishable student motivation and aspects like achievement and retention. There are useful insights to tap from how the process of education is implemented in the workplace and non-formal environment. What has to be taken into cognizance here is the fact that workplace sites have proved to be conducive areas for learning, where the focus on the links between variables like motivation involvement has yielded much achievement and retention. The conscious development of the formal and informal learning fronts in workplace sites has culminated from the management decisiveness on the paradigms of workplace learners’ effectiveness and efficiency.

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The development has come from the frameworks within which decisions are taken regarding the factors of how the learning process is organized within an organization and also how learners are managed about motivation theories and success conceptual models. Various scholars as well as other researchers have concurred that the integration of various instrumental motivational factors such as economic and commercial factors which have had a significant bearing on the establishment of the broad parameters in which opportunities and obstacles to the effectual existence of workplace learning obtain as variables that can e held as motivators or de-motivators to the learning endeavor.

Research outcomes of probes and inquiries seeking to validate the notions that motivation is an inalienable link to the objectives of success in various learning environs have led to positions that expansive rather than restrictive environments are perceived to be pro-learning at work as well as the convergence of personal and organizational development.

Motivation and De-motivation Expansive-Restrictive Continuum

Researches into various workplace domain dynamics have culminated in the establishment of a theoretical framework that seeks to explain and contextualize the dynamics around which how new learners in various learning precincts acquire knowledge and skills that empower them to tackle the challenges posed by their academic challenges and later on; career compositions.

The dimension of newcomer learner has been relished with valuable contributions from Lave and Wenger who developed the interlinked tenets of legitimate peripheral participation as well as communities of practice to explain how workplace newcomers (the valid peripheral partakers) develop to full participant status in a defined community of practice. The newcomers are perceived to embrace learning as a collective relational process that entails the cooperation of the novices with the more experienced personnel. “In our perspective, the acquisition of knowledge is not merely situated in practice like it were some independently definable prices that just occurred to be situated somewhere; the acquisition of knowledge is an integral part of generative social practice in the lived-in world”. (Lave and Wenger 1991)

Lave and Wenger view the situated learning theory as an essential thrust for those areas tied to social practice as well as that it has contributions to attempts at surmounting what has been called by theorists Engerstrom et al (1991) as “The encapsulation of school of learning”. Much interest that has been culminated from the forerunning frameworks and ideas on apprenticeship and education has been directed to the non-formal or structured learning environs. The interest has to lead many scholars to invest in researches on the motivational dynamics in non-formal environments like workplace learning.

Expansive Learning has is enunciated in Engestrom’s model of expansive learning. The thrust of the theoretical framework is aimed at fostering significant changes at educational institutional and organizational levels of entities.” The object of expansive learning is knowledge impartation process in which the learners are involved.” According to scholars, expansive learning activities generate culturally new trends of activity. Further, expansive learning at particularly generates new forms of work activity” (Fuller and Unwin 2008, p 129)

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Basing on the framework of the expansive learning models, Engestrom’s devised an “intervention stratagem” aimed at enhancing efforts to accomplish educational organizational change. The contributions of the scholar have helped in the explorations of the surmised and existent relationship across the variables or factors of learning environment, quality of learning as well as the similar and different dynamics between group learning and individual learning. The works have also been valuable in the evaluation of the approaches directed at the implementation of staff development and various diverse learning programs.

Fuller and Unwin (Opcit: 132) have stated that the expansive approach brings with it valuable insights into the domains of education. The works of Fuller and Unwin (optic) have helped unveil the features of the different learning environments. The insights presented by the scholars recognize two fundamental categories of the expansive as well as a restrictive feature; the ones that come from comprehension about organizational context and culture (for instance academic work organization, curriculum design, control and the distribution of knowledge and skills) and those tied to comprehensions of how students acquire knowledge through exposure in various participatory activities.

The scholars leverage the conceptual aspect of the expansive learning model to outline that workplace individual development and organizational development will be based on the understanding of the relationship between the character and composition of an individual learning territory and how they relate to it. The scholars state that the understanding impacts how the learner will perceive and engage with the opportunities and barriers encountered in learning at work. The expansive and Restrictive continuum thus lays a formidable framework for the assessment of varying learning domains. The Situated Learning Theory is closely tied to this conceptual paradigm. The theory holds at its core that learning as participation equates to the degree and worth of the given opportunities to participate.

Expansive features entail the exposure of personnel to available opportunities as they get to be involved in various groups of practice and acquire broad and deep knowledge across organizational domains. The process also enlists the pursuit of knowledge-based and competence oriented qualifications. The contributions of Fuller and Unwin have shed light on the features of the restrictive-expansive continuum which include off-the-practice and on-the-practice participatory learning activities for the learners who must strive to build recognized status as a dynamic leaner privileged with access to career advancement and diversified job responsibilities. In other terms the scholars perceive the significance of tapping hands-on learning opportunities for the learner as constituents of personnel branding. Restrictive features are viewed as those aspects that stand off the flip side of the foregoing.

Fuller and Unwin (Opcit) indicate that in education domains that have embraced a restrictive approach, learners or the apprentices find it difficult to make inroads in terms of obtaining formal qualifications while in the end they have limited opportunities available for advancement and development. From another angle the scholars present that an expansive learning environment enhances a wide-ranging spectrum of “key skills” by encouraging employees to go beyond borders and expose themselves to various work-related contexts.

Contributors of the International Journal of Training and Development Paul Lewis et al (2008) underscore that effective and feasible use of human resources is a fundamental prerequisite for enhancing national and corporate economic performance. The scholars state that this has heightened the demand of more dynamic and motivational based programmes of learning aimed at developing students to keep pace with the ever evolving career paradigms and thus succor education institutions strategically for the prospects of societal growth and sustainability..

There are various factors in contemporarily bodies of knowledge that have triggered the confluence of studies in various domains of knowledge. The sweeping phenomenon of technological advancement has had a lion’s share in the evolutions of knowledge gathering among its other capacities and merits. The developments in knowledge gathering spheres have led to the proliferation of more interdisciplinary and interdepartmental programs which have been implemented in various learning environs including the confluence between education theories and motivation theories.

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Demerits of pedagogical theories of education

Researchers have made a case for the resonating criticism of the entrenched antics of policing antics. Scholars such as Hughes, V et al (2004) have cited that police as students in their training institutions are subjected to master-servant typical educational models in their drilling institutions. He notes particularly that most traditional educational models are tailored in the theoretical and conceptual premises of pedagogy; “These place learners at passive and non-participative places wherein they find no basis to be enthusiastic about the learning process. Home Office (2005) concurs that this is one of the major causes of high failure rate and learner withdrawal in many schools especially tertiary institutions.

Concerns raised and particularly well illustrated in training and educational in various case scenarios which relate to the manner in which learners in many learning and education processes are treated as recipients of knowledge and never as potential originators o Knowledge. “This is where andragogical conceptual merits of come, andragogy holds students as potential and equal generators and sources of knowledge and thus education models based on this theoretical framework have much to do for the motivation and involvement of the learners in the entirety of the learning process”.

The andragogical education theories as they are motivation based, run in tandem with the conceptual analogies that can be drawn along the Elton Mayo (1880-1949) model of motivation. Although Mayo focused on worker’s motivation, His theory offers valuable insights into the how the aspect of motivation plays a vital role in the learning process. Mayo asserts that managers will get more positive results from the subordinates if they treat them as equals, “…people who have worthwhile opinions and realising that workers enjoy interacting together”. In light of the foregoing, typical andragogical approaches of education will strive to place learners in active discussions on project groups where in very learners input is drawn and valued. This has tremendous bearing on the motivation and of the learners which in-turn translates well for student retention prospects of retention and other associative merits.

Mayo’s experimentations led to the conclusion that workers, which may well apply to learners, are motivated by better communication between mangers (teacher, tutors) and workers. He noted also that workers are also motivated by greater manager involvement in employees working lives. Mayo also established that workers are well motivated by working in group teams. This points to the value of the paradigm of student involvement and its inalienable link with the prospects of student achievement.

The foregoing also runs in tandem with some aspects of Hertzberg theory of motivation. The theorist presents that organisations must adopt democratic approaches to management. Key suggestions given by the scholars are on the following paradigms:

  • Job enlargement

In this the scholar cites that workers must be give a greater variety of tasks to perform which should make the work more interesting and more challenging. In education curriculum modeling the dimensions can be equated with the thrust of diversifying curriculum to get learners involved in more challenging and interesting work.

  • Job enrichment

In Job enrichment worker must be given a wider range of more complex and challenging task surrounding a complete unit of work. According to the scholar this would give a greater sense of achievement. The same would apply to leaning thrust where in learners can be similarly furnished with more complex learning tasks as individuals and as groups. This can also be leveraged on eth proved merits of peer assessment where in learners get to evaluate each other performance and thus confer tote hem as sense of responsibility and achievement. The forgoing ahs close ties to the concepts of empowerment in the conceptual and theoretical precincts of Hertzberg’s motivational theoretical framework

  • Empowerment

Empowerment becomes the key paradigm closely tie to the other theories of motivation and the andragogical educational modeling. On empowerment Hertzberg presents that more power must be delegated to workers to make their own decisions over areas of their working life. This runs in concurrence with andragogical theories of education that present that learners must be elevated to positions and roles where in they are viewed as equal sources and contributors of knowledge. This makes them feel as valuable contributors to the entire learning process and help embolden their self concept and to bolster their confidence.

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