Research Into Motivation and Interest

Projektteam (Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt)



  • Marko Palekcic (Universität Zagreb, Kroatien)
  • Igor Radeka (Universität Zadar, Kroatien)
  • Chen Chen (University of Hong Kong)

This key research area involves the analysis of learning motivation and interest in diverse learning settings. As such, individual learning conditions and learning environments are examined in conjunction with learning motivation and thematic interest.

Research questions include:

  • Which learning environment conditions motivate learners?
  • What demotivates pupils, students or teachers?
  • How is the teachers’ motivation to work linked to the pupils’ motivation to learn?
  • Why are certain learners more successful at remaining motivated and interested in the long term?
  • What influence does personality exert upon the learning motivation and the perception of learning environments?
  • Which cultural differences can be identified?

Theoretical concepts (a brief overview)

Two conceptually closely related theories form the basis of the research area: The Self-Determination Theory (SDT) (Deci & Ryan, 2002) and the pedagogical-psychological Interest Theory (Krapp, 1992). It is assumed that, amongst others, the satisfaction of the basic psychological need for autonomy, skills, and social inclusion promotes self-determined learning motivation and thematic interest in the long term. Scholars also study the extent to which aspects of a constructivist teaching-learning philosophy are interlinked with (self-determined) motivation and interest. Additionally, on the level of the individual, personality traits and attitudes relevant to learning are collected and analysed in the context of the perception of the learning environment, as well as the motivation and the interest.

Areas of interest:

  • Student learning at university,
  • learning in school instruction,
  • conditions and impacts of the teachers’ motivation to work.


An instrument used to record the motivational regulation amongst pupils was revised for German-speaking countries. The questionnaire is an adapted and extended version of the “Academic Self-Regulation Questionnaire” (SRQ-A) following Ryan & Connell (1989). Test-statistical parameters as well as preliminary studies on the validity indicate the good applicability of the instrument for instructional research and practice. A revised version of the questionnaire has been available since 2011.

Furthermore, a questionnaire was developed, which comprises the perceived support of the three basic needs as well as the scales for structure and “giving a rational” in classroom instruction.

Additional questionnaires addressing the (learning) motivation and the determination of conditions relevant to motivation (e.g. teacher and student questionnaires) are available from the authors: Florian.Mueller [ÄT]

Available questionnaires

Ausgewählte Publikationen aus dem Projekt

  • Thomas, A. E. & Müller, F. H. (2011). Skalen zur motivationalen Regulation beim Lernen von Schülerinnen und Schülern (überarbeitete Fassung). Wissenschaftliche Berichte aus dem Institut für Unterrichts und Schulentwicklung Nr. 5. Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt. [Link]
  • Müller, F. H. & Hanfstingl, B. (2010). Special Issue Editorial: Teacher Motivation. Journal for Educational Research Online, 2(2), 5-8. [Link]
  • Hanfstingl, B., Andreitz, I., Müller, F. H. & Thomas, A. (2010). Are Self-Regulation and Self-Control Mediators between Psychological Basic Needs and Intrinsic Teacher Motivation? Journal for Educational Research Online, 2(2), 55-71. [Link]
  • Müller, F. H. (2010). Die Bedeutung der Selbstbestimmung von Lehrpersonen für Unterricht und Lernen – Empirische Befunde aus dem Interventionsprojekt IMST. In J. Abel & G. Faust (Hrsg.), Wirkt Lehrerbildung? (S. 91-103) Münster: Waxmann.
  • Müller, F. H., Hanfstingl, B. & Andreitz, I. (2009). Bedingungen und Auswirkungen selbstbestimmter Lehrermotivation. Erziehung & Unterricht, 159(1/2), 142-152. [PDF]
  • Müller, F. H. (2006). Interesse und Lernen. REPORT – Zeitschrift für Weiterbildungsforschung, 29(1), S. 48-62. [Link]
  • Müller, F. H., Palekcic, M., Beck, M. & Wanninger, S. (2006). Personality, motives and learning environment as predictors of self-determined learning motivation. Review of Psychology. [Link]
  • Müller, F. H. & Palekcic, M. (2005). Bedingungen und Auswirkungen selbstbestimmt motivierten Lernens bei kroatischen Hochschulstudenten. Empirische Pädagogik, 1(2), 134-165.
  • Müller, F. H. & Palekcic, M. (2005). Continuity of motivation in higher education: A three-year follow-up-study. Review of Psychology, 12(1), 31-43. [Link]
  • Müller, F. H. & Louw, J. (2004). Learning environment, motivation and interest: perspectives on self-determination theory. South African Journal of Psychology, 34(2), 169-190.