A Multiple Goals Perspective on Academic Motivation

Authored by: Manfred Hofer , Stefan Fries

Handbook of Motivation at School

Print publication date:  March  2016
Online publication date:  February  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138776166
eBook ISBN: 9781315773384
Adobe ISBN:


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If students had only one goal at a time, they could easily regulate their actions. They could monitor whether the discrepancy between the current status and the goal had decreased using some kind of feedback loop, and depending on this test, they would invest more or less resources into their goal pursuit. But everyday life is not this simple. Students have academic as well as nonacademic goals. They not only have to decide on the amount of resources to invest in a specific goal but also which goal to pursue. For example, at the end of the school day, students often face a decision between studying for an exam or socializing with friends. Therefore, a fundamental challenge of self-regulation in students’ everyday lives is to allocate time and energy to their numerous personal goals. The fact that some goals come into conflict with each other (e.g., investing too much time into one’s hobbies may create problems in school) exacerbates this regulatory challenge (Hofmann, Baumeister, Förster, & Vohs, 2012; Riediger & Freund, 2004).

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