The student’s learning performance is affected by three main factors:
Mindset, Motivation, and Social Environment.
A student’s mindset tells you how they deal with failure and success in a learning environment, and reflects the image they have of their own learning potential. It describes their understanding of what it means to learn and is, therefore, a great influence on their motivation and the habits they will develop for further learning.
Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck discerns two main types of student mindset: growth and fixed. Students with a fixed mindset believe that people’s intelligence and abilities are constant, while those with a growth mindset know that these can be changed and improved. When facing difficulties, the former will typically interpret the struggle as a sign of their limited capabilities, while the latter will view failure as a learning opportunity and a stepping-stone to a next attempt.
However, a study in 2010 found that new habits took an average of 66 days, but the range was 18 to 254 days. So, this time frame is too long to be affected by a single course.
The main focus in school is given to the external factors of student’s motivation such as grades, recognition, diploma, and career. They certainly motivate students, but they incentivise a short-term think and retention of the material, higher level of stress, and unhealthy competition.
On the other spectrum of motivation, we have intrinsic rewards such as personal and professional development, learning progress, autonomy, balance between skills and challenges, trust in the professor, and many more.
Intrinsically motivated students study and enjoy learning for their own personal satisfaction, and this is long-lasting and self-sustaining.
In one sentence:
Students engage in a behaviour because it is personally rewarding, not for an external reward.
The social context refers to the way a classroom environment influences or supports the interactions that occur among students, teachers, the structure of the school, and family members. A well-designed social environment helps foster positive peer relationships, creates positive interactions between people, and provides opportunities for professors to support students to achieve their goals.
However, the students can hardly affect the social environment and the only thing they can do so is changing school, but this is a drastic change that can harm the students’ self-esteem. So, this is an element that the professor and the school can hardly realise without having quantifiable data on students’ intrinsic motivation.