Tweet: Is coursifying learning really helping or harming learning ?

In the discussion of education and its purpose there are often two predominant paradigms; The Human Capital Theory and The Signaling Theory.

Human capital theory claims that education will stimulate social mobility and raises wages by increasing productivity.

The signalling perspective on education suggests that education causes social mobility because it signifies the competence to the employers or other decision makers. It suggests that the asymmetric information in job market causes the decision maker to look for most trustworthy attributes of the job seeker. That is why getting into a top college sends an stronger positive signal.

What’s intriguing to me about this is, while the signaling power of certification is very evident, could it negatively affect real learning( not learning for the achievement of grades).

Will it negatively impact the individuals learning motivation in the post credential life when there are no extrinsic motivation of a certification is available. 

There is phenomena called Motivation crowding out in psychology, which suggest that providing extrinsic incentives for certain kinds of behavior, such as promising monetary rewards for accomplishing some task,. can sometimes undermine intrinsic motivation for performing that behavior.

Edward Deci (creator of Self Determination Theory), researcher at the University of Rochester, found that people given a financial incentive were now less interested in solving puzzles on their own time. Although these people had earlier been just as eager as those in the other group, offering an external incentive seemed to kill their internal drive.

They previously thought of the puzzle as something they really enjoy and like to do, but after introducing extrinsic rewards they do it in order to get money, and they think of the task as an instrument to get money and not an activity that has value in its own right.


Bookmark : When Extrinsic Incentives Displace Intrinsic
Motivation: Designing Legal Carrots and Sticks to
Confront the Challenge of Motivational Crowding-Out.

By Kristen Underhillt



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