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The Effect of Achievement Goals on Self-Explanation and Transfer: Investigating the Role of Motivation on Learning

Belenky, Daniel M. (2013) The Effect of Achievement Goals on Self-Explanation and Transfer: Investigating the Role of Motivation on Learning. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The role of student motivation in learning is an important issue for research to address, both for theoretical and practical purposes. The present research study tested a hypothesized behavioral pathway for previously documented benefits of student motivation – in particular, mastery-approach achievement goals – on learning and transfer (Belenky & Nokes-Malach, 2012). Achievement goals are the reasons students have for engaging in academic settings, such as wanting to develop their competence (mastery-approach goal), wanting to do better than their peers (performance-approach goal), or not wanting to do any worse than their peers (performance-avoidance goal). The present study manipulated achievement goals (mastery-approach, performance-approach, or performance-avoidance) that participants adopted while learning, and subsequently being tested on, basic statistical knowledge and procedures. It was predicted that mastery-approach goals would lead to higher levels of knowledge transfer. Additionally, talk aloud protocols were collected and coded to test hypothesis that mastery-approach goals would lead to more constructive learning processes, such as self-explanation. Finally, it was expected that the degree of self-explanations a student engaged in would be predictive of transfer. These hypotheses were not supported. Contrary to expectations, the performance-avoidance condition produced higher levels of transfer than the mastery-approach condition. Additionally, there were no differences between conditions in the amount of self-explanations generated. The amount of self-explanations was itself not predictive of transfer. These results are discussed in terms of possible ways the methodology may have reduced the difficulty of transfer, as well as what the results may mean for achievement goal theory, more broadly.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Belenky, Daniel M.dmb83@pitt.eduDMB83
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairNokes-Malach, Danieldmb83@pitt.eduDMB83
Committee MemberSchunn, Christianschunn@pitt.eduSCHUNN
Committee MemberLevine, Johnjml@pitt.eduJML
Committee MemberAleven,
Date: 30 June 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 5 November 2012
Approval Date: 30 June 2013
Submission Date: 12 April 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 120
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Motivation, Achievement Goals, Knowledge Transfer, Self-Explanation
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2013 17:45
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:11


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