Knowing, Setting, and Realizing Your Goal

Influence of Goal toMotivation in Learning


             Have you ever think about what is your goal in study? If you have, try to formulate it and think about it. If it is needed you may write it on a piece of paper and keep it, later it will be used for t. In the process of learning sometimes we feel bored or frustrated, however there is something that can always remind us to keep learning which is our motivation. Motivation in learning are influenced by many factors one of them is the goal. In this article I will try to share some explanations on how the influence of goal to motivation in learning.


Types of Goal Orientation Goal orientation in learning process is something that drives people to learn. According to Eggen and Kauchack (2010) there are several types of goal orientation that influence the motivation to learn. Much of the researches that have been done focused on two major types of goal orientation which are performance-goalorientation and mastery-goal orientation. However, there are also some others goals of orientation which are social goals and work-avoidance goal. Here are the explanation on each of goal orientation and the implication on achievement and motivation to learn;

a. Performance goal orientation According to Ryen et al. (2007) as cited in Egen and Kauchack (2010) explain that performance goal orientation focus on personal ability and competence compares to others. It can be inferred that student with this kind of goal orientation will most likely to focus on grades, how well they perform in examination and test, and final result of the course. This kind of goal orientation sometimes also make students do not pay attention on the process of teaching and learning because they only pay attention on how to perform the best. Moreover, performance-goal orientation has a two forms which are performance-approach goals and performance-avoidance goals. Performance-approach goals focuses on looking competent and receiving good comment or judgment from others, for example a student who tries his best in presentation examination because he wants to impress other students and teacher and be looked as smart.Meanwhile, performance-avoidance goals is the opposite of performance-approach, so that a student who has this kind of goal orientation will try to avoid looking incompetent and received unfavorable comment.

b. Mastery goal orientation

According to Midgley (2001) and Pintrich (2000) as cited in Egen and Kauchack (2010) mastery goal is goal in learning that focus on improvement, accomplishing a task, and get deeper understanding. In other words it can be said this kind of goal orientation drives the learner to master the material and get the essence of learning process rather than the final result. In a school context, students who has mastery goal orientation will high self-efficacy, persistence in facing difficulty, put effort as attribute to success, accept academic challenges, and use effective strategies (Kumar et al, 2002; Wolters, 2003 as cited Egen and Kauchack, 2010)

c. Social goal orientation

Besides mastery and performance goal orientation there is another goal orientation which is social goal. This goal orientation focus on achieving particular goals social outcomes or interaction (Wentzel, 2002 as citedinEgen and Kauchak, 2010). This goal orientation include social responsibility goal, forming friendship, geting teacher and peers approval, accomplishing social obligations, helping and assisting others, and underachieving to comfort others.

d. Work-avoidance goal orientation

Work-avoidance goal is the less desirable goal orientation in learning. According to Dowson and McInerney (2001) and Gallini (2000) as cited in Egen and Kauchak (2010) students with this kind of goal will be success if the task is easy or done in group. They minimize their effort during teaching and learning, do not use effective strategies, do not contribute maximally in group work, and ask for help even when it is not necessary.

What is your goal orientation?



After you read the explanation on types of goal orientation, now let’s check your goal orientation. Take this survey and later let’s check what goal orientation you have.



Fill the survey here: http://kwiksurveys.com/s.asp?sid=0akbixgf23s8mpd269754

Now, let’s check what goal orientation you have

If most of your answer is yes for number 1-5, so you most likely have mastery goal orientation.

If most of your answer is yes for number 6-9, so you most likely have performance-approach goal orientation.

If most of your answer is yes for number 10-13, so you most likely have performance-avoidance goal orientation.


Setting your Goal

After you know your goal and goal orientation, the next step is to plan or set your goal so that it can be achieve. The question is how to set a goal? Do not worry, here is provided the strategies that you can use in setting your goal. It is called SMART Principles, what are the principles? Let’s check

According to Santock (2009) in setting a goal there are several principles or criteria that need to be used in order to set a clear and achievable goal which are:

• Specific: The goal that you set must be clear and specific. You can use 5W+IH question to specify your goal.

• Measurable: The goal that you set should be able to be measured. You should set a criteria or standard to know the progress and to measure whether it is achieved or not.

• Attainable: The goal that you set should be able to be reached. When you set your goal, identify in what why the best you can attain the goal.

• Realistic: In order to be realistic the goal that you set must represent an objective in which you are able and willing to do it.

• Timely: The goal that you set should be achieved based on certain time frame. You can create a timeline to help you plan what should you do , so that you check how far the progress of you goal within the time that available.

Example of using SMART Principles:

The story of this article is started with a boy who wants to reach the top of the mountain, so from that we can know that the boy already has a goal. However, he finds a difficulty to set his goal and make it real. After he read this article he find a way to set his goal, here is his notes:

My goal: To reach a top of mountain.

Specific : To reach the top of Mahameru mountain.

Measurable : it is considered reach I can reach to the highest position which is 2400 m above sea level

Attainable : This goal is attainable since there is a way to get there and I should know and prepare for it. I will use the save way to hike.

Realistic : This goal is realistic since I have good physical ability to hike, all the properties that is needed, and I am willing to do this.

Timely : In order to get reach there I have to save my money within 3 to four month so that I can pay for the accommodation to go there.


Eggen, P., &Kauchak, D. (2010). Educational Psychology: Windows on Classrooms (8th Ed). New Jersey: Pearson Education International

Santrock, J. W. (2009) Educational Psychology (4th Ed). New York: McGraw-Hill.

VandeWalle, D. (1997). Development andvalidation of a work domain goalorientationinstrument. Educational andPsychologicalMeasurement, 57(6), 995-1015.


About 4innika

I'm a student of English Department Sampoerna School of Education. I love listening music, drawing cartoon, designing,and reading comics. I like eating peanut crackers and I love guava. Happy to share what I thought to you all :)

Posted on 6 December 2013, in File Management. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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