Extrinsic motivation involves completing a task or engaging in an activity in exchange for a reward. People don’t necessarily engage in a specific behavior or activity because they enjoy it, but because they expect to get something in return or avoid an unpleasant consequence. For example, a student may write and submit an essay to an English literature competition not because they enjoy the process of researching and writing, but because they want to win a prize or award.
Extrinsic motivation is a type of reward-driven behavior. Praise, money or other incentives directly influence one’s motivation to complete an activity. Extrinsic motivation is contrasted with intrinsic motivation, where people engage in a behavior for its own sake. Scholars have suggested that extrinsic motivators in education such as grades, report cards or prizes and badges may reduce any intrinsic motivation that students might have.