Intrinsic motivation is a term that refers to a person’s behavior when it’s driven by personal satisfaction—doing something purely because it’s fun or enjoyable. It’s the difference, for example, between reading a book for amusement and reading a book in order to study for a test you feel obliged to do well on. It is the opposite of extrinsic motivation, which is behavior completed to acquire an external reward.
Intrinsic motivation refers to the desire to complete a task for the sake of personal gratification. In education, intrinsic motivation is influenced by a sense of connection with the material, the feeling that a student is competent enough to complete the task at hand, and that they have independent control over their learning. In class, when subject matter is revised to promote intrinsic motivation, learnings are found to be protracted and satisfying, though it can be difficult to create conditions where intrinsic motivation can flourish. Generally, work quantity is often controlled by extrinsic factors, while work quality is controlled by intrinsic factors.