Advantages and Disadvantages of Motivation

Advantages of Intrinsic Motivation

-Comes from within oneself and does not rely on outside factors (Vanderbuilt University, 2009)

-Studies have shown children who had fewer extrinsic rewards were more generous than students who were often given extrinsic rewards

-Minimal cost to educators in comparison with the rewards often given as extrinsic motivators (Habib, 2008)

-Students typically learn more and are more productive when they are intrinsically motivated (Ormrod, 2008)

Disadvantages of Intrinsic Motivation
-Can be difficult to achieve

-Develops over a long period of time, more difficult for short-term goals (Vanderbuilt University, 2009)

-In order to promote intrinsic motivation, educators must have an in-depth knowledge of each student

-Individuals are motivated by different things, especially in regards to intrinsic motivation (Habib, 2008)

Advantages of Extrinsic Motivation
-Quick results

-Can be a very effective means of motivation, especially short-term (Vanderbuilt University, 2009)

Disadvantages of Extrinsic Motivation

-Rewards can be distracting from intrinsic motivation

-May only work on a short-term basis (Vanderbuilt University, 2009)

-Extrinsic rewards lessen the effect of intrinsic motivators and decrease personal desire

-Can take the fun and personal enjoyment out of an activity, because it makes the activity “work” and not “play”

-Can be seen as a bribe or coercion method

-Often undermines intrinsic motivation (Habib, 2008)

Example of a Disadvantage of Extrinsic Motivation:
A teacher wants her third grade class to do well on their next spelling exam, so she offers them a pizza party if everyone does well on the exam. While the students may study and do well on the exam, there is little internal motivation for the students to do well on the exam. This sets a tone for future exams. If there are no pizza parties, will the children do as well?

Example of an Advantage of Extrinsic Motivation:
A mother establishing toilet training with her son gives her toddler a sticker for using the potty. The child continues to use the potty and seeks out the reward of the sticker. Eventually, he gets accustomed to using the potty and no longer needs a sticker as a reward for using it.

Example of both an Advantage and Disadvantage of Intrinsic Motivation:
An eight year old boy feels good about himself when he scores a touchdown in football. He continues to work hard and practice because of the “rush” he feels when he plays football. Without the feelings of praise and rewards associated with doing well in sports (extrinsic motivators) it may be difficult for the boy to play simply for the love of the game.


Habib, Z. (2008, January 10). External motivation. Retrieved April 20, 2010, from

Motivation. (2010). Retrieved April 20, 2010, from

Ormrod, J. (2008). Human learning (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Vanderbuilt University. (2009). Motivating students. Retrieved April 20, 2010, from