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What determines study motivation?

This video explains the motivation equation and gives tips on how to influence motivation.

The video explains the motivation equation:

Motivation = (value x expectancy) / delay

The motivation equation provides insight into the factors that determine motivation. The equation looks ‘mathematical’, but don’t take this too precisely: the equation doesn’t try to provide you with exact science, but it tries to show how the different factors are interrelated. The equation in this step is a simplified version of Dr. Piers Steel’s Procrastination Equation.

Delay = the time between the effort and the positive outcome

How long does it take until you see the positive effects of your efforts?

The longer it takes between effort and outcome, the higher the delay will be and the lower the motivation score will be. Long-term goals are less motivating than short-term goals.

Can be influenced by: Setting subgoals. The quicker a subgoal can be completed, the more motivating. Aim for goals that take less than 2 hours to complete.

Expectancy = the chance that your efforts will prove fruitful

This is your own feeling: How big is the chance you will succeed?

Can be influenced by: Setting subgoals. The more precisely formulated this goal is, the better. Small and precise goals have a bigger chance to be completed than big and vague goals, hence the expectancy to succeed rises.

Value = how much you value the positive outcome

How important, worthwhile and rewarding is the goal for you?

Can be influenced by: Normally completion of a task can be rewarding in itself. But if a task is not so important for you and very much disliked, extra rewards can be of help.

Reflect on one or more of the following questions. Share your thoughts in the comment section:

  • Are you motivated for your studies normally?

  • How do you keep yourself motivated?

  • Which situations are you easily motivated for, and when do you struggle the most?

  • What should you do (or keep in mind) to motivate yourself during hard moments?

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