Examples of extrinsic motivation education

Written by grace stamper
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Examples of extrinsic motivation education
Early on children learn to look for praise and other rewards. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of woodley wonderworks)

Extrinsic motivation comes from outside. It is the basis of our educational system, going back to the behaviourists' theories on learning. B.F. Skinner believed that if you reinforce a good response, it will be repeated.

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Only good grades get a sticker. From the beginning children are rewarded for good work. Lack of a sticker is a disappointment, so they learn to work for it.


Token motivation is practised in many different forms. One example is earning "school money" for good behaviour, academic or social. The money is used to purchase items, or for participation in a special event.


Grades earn promotions. The ultimate goal is a career and successful life. Students are held back or do not graduate if they do not pass the tests.

Quick Grades

If students wait for grades they are no longer motivators and loose their impact. To this end, most school post grades on the Internet for students and parents to access.

No Pass, No Play

No Pass, No Play is a state wide initiative in Texas. If you do not pass, you will not participate in extra-curricular activities such as band, cheerleading, choir, or sports.

Good grades are required to play sports.
Good grades are required to play sports. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Evonne)

Computer-Assisted Learning

Programs are created to give instant gratification. Students are praised and sometimes given rewards.

Computer learning is common in our educational system.
Computer learning is common in our educational system. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Glion Institute of Higher Education)

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