Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Adults' learning motivation: Expectancy of success, value, and the role of affective memories

an article by Julia Gorges and Christian Kandler (Bielefeld University, Germany) published in Learning and Individual Differences Volume 22 Issue 5 (October 2012)


The present study tested the applicability of expectancy-value theory to adults’ learning motivation.

Motivation was measured as the anticipated reaction (AR) of German students (N = 300) to receiving their instructions in English as a new learning opportunity.

We used structural equation modelling to test our hypotheses.

Expectancies of success and values from school predicted current expectancy and value, which, in turn, accounted for about 64% of variance in AR. In addition, we explicitly tested the hitherto neglected role of affective memories as a major precursor of value, expectancy of success, and AR.

Results show a small direct effect of only negative affective memories on AR, leading to a significant incremental prediction of AR in addition to expectancy and value. Thus, motivation and experiences at secondary school appear to play a crucial role in adults’ learning motivation, mediated by expectancy and value specific to the learning opportunity.


► Expectancy-value theory was applied to explain adults' learning motivation.
► Learning motivation from secondary school has been found to play a crucial role in adults’ learning motivation.
► School-related affective memories appear to have only a small effect on subsequent learning motivation.

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