Although motivation is one of the most important factors on individual’s behavior, little is known in this field and only in the last decades scientists are putting an effort to shed light on this significant element of human construct and performance. In accordance to self-determination theory SDT (Ryan & Deci 2000), there are two types of motivation, the intrinsic which is the driving force behind our internal sense of desire and the reflection of our inner willingness, and the extrinsic motivation which is driven from external factors and rooted outside the person. Both kinds of motivation are widely used in engaging and enhancing learning and educational procedure because they are significant parameters of students’ performance and competence.
According to Suslu (2006) as extrinsic motivators are considered physical facilities and rewards provided in order to raise the motivational level for completing a particular task, and are “characterized by a means-end structure” and are implicated for “separable consequence” (Lens & Lacante, 2004). Several social-environmental factors that would engender extrinsic motivation are time limits, expected rewards, and evaluation, tests and competitions, surveillance etc. Deci and Ryan (2008) are distinguishing extrinsic motivation rewards into two types -which are not inherently associated with the action or achievement itself- those rewards are given by others, for instance, a student that does his homework because he aims to avoid parenting sanction (Hairul, Ahmadi & Pourhosein, 2012) and those given by themselves, for example, a student that does his homework so as to achieve a good grade (he is doing that for the sake of a reward and his instrumental value). Regarding Ryan & Deci (2000), if the student doesn’t enjoy homework but it perceives it as important it can be assumed that this is a kind of autonomous motivation.
As intrinsic motivation is considered the behavior that arises from an individual’s inner and he acts to satisfy his internal desires. According to Domenico and Ryan (2017) intrinsic motivation refers to an individual’s impulsive inclination on curiosity and interest in developing and exercising their knowledge and skills in the absence of reward attainment. In other words, it’s a behavior that is driven by internal rewards just because we enjoy being engaged in an activity or it triggers our curiosity, or we want to explore or learn (Coon & Mitterer 2010). Self-determination theory considers that intrinsic motivation is the primary factor of autonomous motivation. The key components of intrinsic motivation are the options of “choice” and “curiosity”. Choice is the mean of expressing individual’s free will and self-determination. Quite a few studies have mentioned the positive correlation of choice with intrinsic motivation in children and adults (Patall, Cooper, & Robinson, 2008). Curiosity is defined as one’s desire to discover something or gaining knowledge on new things (Kucirkova, Littleton & Cremin 2016), young children exude curiosity as means of exploring, understanding, and interacting with the environment. Thought, the desire to learn tends to weaken as children growing up (Wery & Thomson, 2013).
Motivation is considered to be a key predictor for reading skills in children (Schiefele, Schaffner, Moller & Wigfield, 2012). Students who are intrinsically motivated to a difficult task accomplishment and predicted to be challenged or excited by this task are more likely to maintain learned concepts and enhance their confidence when dealing with unfamiliar tasks (Ormrod, 2008). On the other hand, extrinsically motivated students being encouraged and prodded by teachers in undertaking tasks -usually for the sake of attaining a reward (Ormrod, 2008)- acknowledge these particular tasks as obligations and as a means to an end.
Given that people aren’t intrinsically motivated by all the circumstances (Hennessey, 2000) either the students are motivated under all learning conditions (Wery & Thomson, 2013). Extrinsic reinforcement such as evaluation by others, threats, or rewards which have been used systematically in the last decades through the learning process, intending to modify student’s behavior are now under question because they predicted to undermine performance and intrinsic motivation (Ryan & Cooper, 2007). Learning has to do with competence demonstration, focus on performance, and the acknowledgment of evaluation by others (Dishon-Berkovits, 2014). To force learner’s motivation –especially those who struggling and appear keened- it is essential to understand their reluctance and then moving them forward towards independence and enhance their interest in learning (Wery & Thomson, 2013).