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Ideally students have interest and motivation to learn what librarians teach, but some students need external inducements. Educational psychologists have make extensive investigations into the best types of rewards to motivate students to perform as desired. Behaviorists' programmed learning, token economies and other types of contingencies have had some success. However, external rewards may undermine intrinsic motivation. The debate over the undermining effect and how to avoid it are presented along with the costs and benefits of offering students choices in what they learn. Suggestions are offered for how to motivate students to be competent rather than to outperform others.


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Black, S., & Allen, J. D. (2018). Insights from educational psychology part 7: Rewards, motivation, and performance. The Reference Librarian, 59(4), 205–218.



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