An introduction to thematic learning

Motivation, fuel of the learning process

According to the study by Malone and Lepper (Malone and Lepper, 1987), there are seven factors that can contribute to students in the learning process. Among them, a distinction can be made between individual or intrinsic factors that increase student motivation because they find special satisfaction or interpersonal factors which allow the student to feel recognized within the group.


factors Individual:


  • Challenges. The achievement of challenges lead to an increase in self-esteem if the student is able to carry you out. It is important when setting the challenges to establish an adequate level of difficulty. The objectives also have to be defined objectively and concretely. 
  • Curiosity. Curiosity allows the student to learn while interacting with the environment. 
  • Control. The feeling of control implies in the student a reaffirmation of himself and his confidence which can imply an increase in motivation. On many occasions, students who control a skill such as painting, video editing, etc. are especially motivated when an activity that they master is proposed to them.
  • Fantasy. Many of our students develop a sense of fantasy that allows them to satiate their emotional needs. In addition, it makes them interact with materials that allow them to learn, research, etc. Let’s imagine the students who like role-playing games. Many of them are quite hooked and spend a lot of free time on this distraction. Using a redirected role-playing game to improve the learning of a subject could be an element of motivation for the students.


factors Interpersonal:


  • Recognition. Receiving peer recognition allows teens and students to feel fulfilled. Recognition also works when there are group successes. In my classes we have a motto when we carry out a collective challenge and that is to celebrate it in some way. All successes are celebrated and failures are analyzed.
  • Cooperation. It is one of the skills that we most have to exploit and promote among our students. In vocational training, the profile of the student body must be oriented towards job insertion and success. Modern companies work collaboratively and students have to learn to work in groups. There cannot be good group work if there is no “boss” or person to create work groups, establish roles, and distribute work and responsibilities among team members.
  • Competition. Competition, especially if you are a winner creates a special feeling of self-esteem. However, this kind of learning-oriented strategy is counterproductive on many occasions. Better to work with cooperative than competitive techniques.

An example: Motivation pills

Many times in exams and assignments I write motivational quotes and phrases from influential characters in adolescents and young people such as rap singers, athletes, etc. Often rap singers like Snoop Dogg, 2PAC and other artists are people who reflect on the effort and meaning of life in depth although their image does not seem so.



[1] Malone, TW, & Lepper, MR (1987). Making learning fun: A taxonomy of intrinsic motivations for learning.

The Demeter Project