The Impact of Type of Reward on Performance

Introduction and Literature Review

Motivation is a way of investing in learners through appreciation statements or material rewards to help them demonstrate their full potential (Hendijani & Steel, 2020). Scholars differ in opinions on whether rewards play any commendable role in motivation or not. Some argue that there is no need for rewards, while others say that rewards play a crucial role in motivating humans (Adamma et al., 2018). Educational psychologists argue that performance depends on an individual’s goals and values; hence, rewards may not be relevant performance measures (Black & Allen, 2018). However, other scholars approve of the role of rewards in motivation in the learning process. Murayama (2018) used scientific evidence from the link between the brain’s rewards and memory systems to argue that tips are effective in a learning process

Methods

The project involved testing how different groups of learners behave when subjected to different motivations. The main factors under investigation in this study were age and gender and how children from either gender behave when motivated by specific types of snacks. The total number of participants was 90 children, divided into three equal groups of 30 students each. A further sub-division consisted of 15 students—every 30 learners composed of 15 boys and 15 girls from the same age group. The age was distributed into three groups labeled A, B, and C, whereby group A was made up of 30 learners aged 4-5years, group B was 9-10years, and group C was 15-16 years.

Study Design

The study utilized an experimental approach to gathering data based on the behavior of the learners. The researcher controlled all the factors that could affect the research results and ensured the results could be consistent with the cause (reward) preceding the effect (performance/ score). The test involved independent (gender and age) and dependent variables (bonus and the examination score)—moreover, a control experiment of testing the test’s performance with no reward. The study maintained that learners were randomly picked the participants in this study without any further consideration except for gender and age. All the groups were subjected to each motivation condition.

Procedure

All the learners in groups A, B, and C were subjected to the same test of six similar mathematics questions based on testing addition and subtraction. The procedure was repeated while reshuffling the groups for different rewards. Group A was tested with carrot as a reward; group B was not rewarded while group C was rewarded choc. The third test involved group A receiving no compensation, group B rewarded choc, while group C was awarded carrots. I gave each group similar instructions that each question answered correctly will be rewarded with one reward: either a choc or a carrot, except for the group identified for ‘no reward’ in each of the three categories.

Results and Findings

The study applied qualitative data analysis to ensure some comparisons are made among the independent variables before conclusions are made that the type of reward plays a role in enhancing irrespective of the gender and age of the learner. The results indicated a high score realized with all the learners rewarded with choc. They scored high marks irrespective of their gender or age compared to those rewarded with carrots and those who were never awarded. The scores of learners who were never rewarded remained below the others. When the reward was interchanged among the groups, the behavior pattern remained unaltered, whereby those rewarded with chocs scored higher marks than the other categories.

Ultimately, this study had several strengths and limitations instigated by various factors. The study is a new knowledge source that has explored rewards and motivation in a new dimension of the role of healthy versus unhealthy food snacks in performance. The study’s limitations include being focused on only one factor influencing performance, while there are other factors. It also didn’t consider the learners’ needs while deciding on rewards. Understanding learners’ interests and preferences in the selection of tips may also be complicated. Other potential areas of study may include determining whether the learner’s family background can affect the performance, how the teacher-learner relationship influences performance, and the effectiveness of material rewards and word affirmation on performance. Finally, this study had several strengths and limitations instigated by various factors. The study is a new knowledge source that has explored rewards and motivation in a new dimension of the role of healthy versus unhealthy food snacks in performance. The study’s limitations include being focused on only one factor influencing performance, while there are other factors. It also didn’t consider the learners’ needs while deciding on rewards. Understanding learners’ interests and preferences in the selection of tips may also be complicated. Other potential areas of study may include determining whether the learner’s family background can affect the performance, how the teacher-learner relationship influences performance, and the effectiveness of material rewards and word affirmation on performance.

References

Adamma, O. N., Ekwutosim, O. P., & Unamba, E. C. (2018). Influence of Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation on Pupils Academic Performance in Mathematics. SJME (Supremum Journal of Mathematics Education), 2(2), 51-59.

Black, S., & Allen, J. D. (2018). Part 7: Rewards, motivation, and performance. The Reference Librarian, 59(4), 205-218.

Hendijani, R., & Steel, P. (2020). Motivational congruence effect: How to reward salience and choice influence motivation and performance. Cogent Business & Management, 7(1), 1791444.

Murayama, K. (2018). The science of motivation; Multi-disciplinary approaches advance research on the nature and effects of stimulation.