How to Use Motivation and Self-Regulation in Learning

Let’s face it: Not everyone wants to learn. However, for leaders to be effective their teams must be growing and learning.

pics of guys doing push ups

Flickr Photo Credit: US Military Academy West Point

Recently I read Marcy Driscoll’s book, The Psychology of Learning for Instruction. This book helped me see how to use motivation and self-regulation as a way to motivate people to learn. Here’s three things I learned from the book.

1. The Process of Motivational Design
One discovery I made from reading Marcy Driscoll’s book is that there is a good process I can follow in order to design motivation. The Process of Motivational Design is as follows:

  1. Analyze the audience
  2. Define motivational objectives
  3. Design a motivational strategy, and
  4. Try out and revise as necessary

Knowing and following a process of motivational design allows me to appropriately prepare for instruction. I normally sit down and spend hours writing what I am going to say and how I am going to say it. So it makes sense that I would sit down and also take time to craft a motivational strategy.

As a result of knowing The Process of Motivational Design, I attempt to motivate learners about what I will teach them. This motivation normally occurs in the “introduction” section of my talks, thus making my presentations more effective.

2. Strategies for Stimulating Motivation
The Strategies for Stimulating Motivation are integral to making sure learners are motivated to acquire the information they are about to learn.

The four Strategies for Stimulating Motivation are:

  1. Gaining and sustaining attention
  2. Enhancing relevance
  3. Building confidence
  4. Generating satisfaction

I feel that each of these four strategies connect to developing my own motivation to learn. For example, in order to pursue learning I must be paying attention, know how something is relevant to my life, see my confidence increasing, and believe satisfaction will be the end result of what I am about to learn.

Out of these four strategies I often try to show learners the relevance of what I teach. All four strategies are important, and practice them all; however, showing learners why the information is relevant is the main strategy I focus on.

3. Self-Efficacy Beliefs
Self-Efficacy Beliefs are the beliefs a person has about her identity and ability to acquire new information. In fact, Self-Efficacy Beliefs might negatively affect a learner’s ability to learn regardless of how well the instruction is designed and delivered.

I always thought that people would learn if I taught well and taught often; however, now I know it might not matter how well I teach because if someone has a negative Self-Efficacy Belief she might not be able to learn. The intention I now have as a result of learning about Self-Efficacy Beliefs is to encourage the learners I instruct in a way that will increase the beliefs they have about their ability to learn.

Question: How do you motivate your team to learn?

By Christopher L. Scott

Christopher L. Scott serves as senior pastor at Lakeview Missionary Church in Moses Lake, Washington. Through his writing ministry more than 250,000 copies of his articles, devotions, and tracts are distributed each month through Christian publishers. Learn more at