"The Carrot or the Stick: The Role of Regret, Satisfaction, and Motivation in the Pursuit of Daily Academic Goals"
American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting
Theme: Leveraging Educational Research in a “Post-Truth” Era: Multimodal Narratives to Democratize Evidence
April 5-9, 2019
Paper: The Carrot or the Stick: The Role of Regret, Satisfaction, and Motivation in the Pursuit of Daily Academic Goals
Event: Patterns and Associations Between Intra-Individual and Interindividual Experiences of Academic Emotions and Motivation
Authors: Osman Umarji, Peter McPartlan, Jacquelynne Eccles
Abstract: Although ties between students’ motivation and their long-term academic success have been extensively studied, course success is an accumulation of completing individual activities throughout a semester. Understanding how students make study intentions and execute individual tasks is important in developing motivational theories. When investigating intentions to complete course-related goals at a daily level, the importance of goal hierarchies becomes apparent. With limited time in a day, students may plan an activity, but may fail to complete it if a confluence of self-regulation, achievement emotions, and task value leads them to prioritize it lower than other activities. This is especially problematic in online courses, in which students have extensive control over the time and place that they complete course-related tasks. In this study, we investigate how values, self-regulation, and task-specific emotions (i.e., anticipated regret and satisfaction) predict goal intentions and completion.
Expectancy-value theory (Eccles, 2005) posits that ability beliefs and task values relate to course intentions and behavior. Control-value theory of achievement emotions (Pekrun, 2006) and goal setting theories (Gollwitzer & Oettingen, 2011) highlight the role of emotions and self-regulation in the fulfillment of tasks. We synthesize these theories to understand the relationship between emotions, motivation, and goals.
HLM was used to nest daily goals and motivation within students. Cluster analysis was used to model the cooccurrence of these constructs within individuals.
The participants in this study are 150 undergraduate students in a summer online science course. Students completed daily diaries about their motivation and emotions related to their goals.
RQ1: Anticipated regret (B=-.17) and goal importance (B=-.27) were associated with goal rank, while anticipated satisfaction, interest, autonomy, and cost were not predictive.
RQ2: Anticipated regret (B=.22), goal importance (B=.35), and goal rank (-.12) were associated with higher expectations of goal completion. Lower priority goals were not expected to be completed as much. Actual goal completion was predicted by anticipated regret (B=.24), goal importance (.31), goal rank (B=-.24), and online self-regulation (B=-.26). The more students reported in the presurvey as being distracted by the internet, smartphone, and social media, the less they completed intended goals.
Our study contributes to understanding how students plan to complete course-related tasks by integrating theories of motivation, emotions, and goal setting. This study highlights how the predictors of daily goal intentions differ from predictors of goal completion, providing new insights into the intention to behavior gap. Overall, this study contributes to our knowledge of the dynamic nature of motivation in the wild, as daily goals and behavior fluctuate based on various factors and hierarchies of motivation.