Educational motivation

Educational motivation deals with the “why” and “for what” of behavior in educational contexts. For example, the following questions can be asked in the school context: Why does one student work more intensively on a task and have more fun while doing it than another? Why does one student give up more quickly on a task than her classmate? What exactly does one want to be able to do; what are the goals of learning? The answers to these questions are also of great importance for educational practice, as both theoretical models and the results of empirical studies generally indicate that motivation plays a central role in school performance and the optimal development of individuals’ potential.

Our research deals specifically with motivational development in secondary and tertiary education, identifying environmental factors (e.g. classroom structures) that (positively) influence this learning motivation, and developing corresponding support programs. Our focus lies on motivational variables such as goal orientation, interest, implicit theories, self-efficacy, and self-concept.


The Influence of Classroom Structures on Gifted Students' Achievement Goal Orientations

  • Direction: Barbara Schober & Marko Lüftenegger
  • Project staff: Lisa Bardach
  • Funding: Österreichisches Zentrum für Begabungsforschung (ÖZBF)

Sparkling Science: LLL-Kompetenzen - die gemeinsame Sicht von SchülerInnen und WissenschaftlerInnen

  • Direction: Christiane Spiel & Barbara Schober
  • Project staff: Evelyn Bergsmann & Gregor Jöstl
  • Funding: Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Wirtschaft (BMWFW)

TALK - Trainingsprogramm zum Aufbau von LehrerInnenkompetenzen

  • Direction: Christiane Spiel und Barbara Schober
  • Project staff: Monika Finsterwald, Marko Lüftenegger & Michael Aysner
  • Funding: Bundesministerium für Bildung (BMB)


Lüftenegger, M., Tran, U.S., Bardach, L., Schober, B., & Spiel, C. (2017). Measuring a Classroom Mastery Goal Structure using the TARGET dimensions: Development and validation of a classroom goal structure scale. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 225(1), 64-75. doi:10.1027/2151-2604/a000277

Klug, J., Lüftenegger, M., Bergsmann, E., Spiel, C., & Schober B. (2016). Secondary school students' LLL competencies, and their relation with classroom structure and achievement. Frontiers in Psychology, 7:680. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00680

Lüftenegger, M., Finsterwald, M., Klug, J., Bergsmann, E., Schoot, R. van de, Schober, B., & Wagner, P. (2016). Fostering pupils' lifelong learning competencies in the classroom: evaluation of a training programme using a multivariate multilevel growth curve approach. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 13, 719-736. doi:10.1080/17405629.2015.1077113

Lüftenegger, M., Kollmayer, M., Bergsmann, E., Jöstl, G., Spiel, C., & Schober, B. (2015). Mathematically Gifted Students and High Achievement: The Role of Motivation and Classroom Structure. High Ability Studies, 26, 227-243. doi:10.1080/13598139.2015.1095075

Spiel, C. & Schober, B. (2015): Bildungsmotivation und Verantwortung – die Schule der Zukunft legt den Grundstein. In: Elisabeth Köstinger & Stephan Pernkopf (Hrsg.): Wer sich bewegt, verliert nicht. Warum wir nur mit Mut die Welt verändern können (S. 83-92). Graz: Leykam.

Finsterwald, M., Wagner, P., Schober, B., Lüftenegger, M., & Spiel, C. (2013). Fostering Lifelong Learning − Evaluation of a Training Teacher Education Program for Professional Teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 29, 144−155. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2012.08.009

Bergsmann, E., Finsterwald, M., Strohmeier, D. & Spiel, C. (2011). Motivation und Selbstreguliertes Lernen in SchülerInnengruppen mit unterschiedlicher Aggressionserfahrung. Zeitschrift für Entwicklungspsychologie und Pädagogische Psychologie, 43 (2), 89-98.

Schober, B., Finsterwald, M., Wagner, P., & Spiel, C. (2009). Lebenslanges Lernen als Herausforderung der Wissensgesellschaft: Die Schule als Ort der Förderung von Bildungsmotivation und selbstreguliertem Lernen. In W. Specht (Hrsg.), Nationaler Bildungsbericht Österreich 2009 (S. 121−139). Graz: Leykam.

Schober, B., Finsterwald, M., Wagner, P., Aysner, M., Lüftenegger, M., & Spiel, C. (2008). Lifelong Learning (LLL) as an educational goal: Theoretical specification and promotion. International Journal of Psychology, 43(3-4), 4. doi: 10.1080/00207594.2008.10108483