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Different types of motivation

Previously we heard learners’ different reasons for learning English. Some of these reasons were internal, such as enjoying communicating with friends. Others were motivated by external factors, such as needing a good standard of English to get into university.

When we talk about motivation we generally talk about two types of motivation: Definitions of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation Many learners are motivated by a mixture of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, as they are often required to learn a language by their school or company (extrinsic motivation), at the same time as being personally interested in the new language and culture (intrinsic motivation). In many cases, intrinsic motivation can develop as the learners begin to make progress and realise how exciting it is to be able to communicate in another language.


Earlier you watched our learners talking about why they are learning English and you made a list of their reasons for learning English. Now, look at the list of the reasons our learners gave and decide if they are examples of intrinsic motivation or extrinsic motivation:

Reason Intrinsic or Extrinsic motivation
To communicate with people all around the world  
To improve career prospects  
Personal relationships  
To go to university in an English speaking country  

You can check your answers here or in the document attached below.

Use the comments section to tell us about something you’ve done recently and say what your motivation was. Was it intrinsic or extrinsic? Read other learners’ comments and see if you agree with their descriptions.

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This article is from the free online course:

Exploring the World of English Language Teaching

Cambridge Assessment English