Research studies show that intrinsically motivated students learn more than extrinsically motivated students. That might be due to the fact that intrinsically motivated students are both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated to learn while extrinsically motivated students rely only on their extrinsic motivation. If the reward isn't rewarding enough for extrinsically motivated students, the learning will not be accomplished at such a deep level.
It has been shown that students who are intrinsically motivated tend to use strategies requiring more effort and the information is processed on a deeper level. Intrinsically motivated students also tend to prefer tasks that have a higher level of challenge to them. More logical information-gathering and decision-making strategies are used by intrinsically motivated students that extrinsically motivated students. Extrinsically motivated students tend to put out the least amount of effort that provide the maximal gain, and thus, the learning process is shortchanged.
To promote intrinsic motivation in the classroom, there are some concepts to follow. By relying on the students' natural curiosity and creating lessons that relate to the interest level of the student, the curriculum becomes more relevant and thus, the motivation to accomplish the task increases. Contectualizing the material for students is important. The subject matter must be relevant and related to the students' needs, concerns and experiences. Instruction must be interesting to stimulate the students' curiosity. The learner needs to feel satisfied and good about the accomplishments that have been made. The expectation of success must be in place to give the idea to the student that he or she can succeed at the given task and that the expectation is part of the classroom culture. Students expect to learn if the teacher expects it too. Positive learning environments are a key to intrinsic motivation. If the classroom is seen as a caring, supportive place with a sense of belonging and all students are valued and respected, they tend to participate in the learning more, thus becoming intrinsically motivated.
At home, there are some things that can be done to enhance intrinsic motivation. Children who have been brought up with their natural curiosity about the world nurtured are given the idea that learning is worthwhile and often fun and satisfying. In homes where self-worth and competence in accomplishing task are values, the child will tend to take more risks that might be inherent in learning. Feeling success in one's own learning builds feelings of competence and the child has a positive reaction, thus intrinsic motivation is fostered. Giving children the support for learning by welcoming their questions, encouraging exploration and familiarizing them with the resources to enlarge their worlds is highly important. Providing children with the idea that they can be successful in task accomplishment is crucial for children to learn. They must see that success is attainable on their own.
There are several connections between constructivism and intrinsic motivation, and the two work together well in the classroom. Tasks that create incongruity or discrepancy are part of constructivist learning and those same strategies have been shown to increase intrinsic motivation. By successfully building one's own knowledge, there is satisfaction, and thus, the attempts to do so again will increase. Knowledge is created at a higher level from within the child's own self. Learning has taken place at the hand of the student. What more could be desired?