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Motivation in action: A process model of L2 motivation

Dornyei, Zoltan; Otto, Istvan

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Zoltan Dornyei

Istvan Otto


As part of a long-term project aimed at designing classroom interventions to motivate language learners, we have searched for a motivation model that could serve as a theoretical basis for the methodological applications. We have found that none of the existing models we considered were entirely adequate for our purpose for three reasons: (1) they did not provide a sufficiently comprehensive and detailed summary of all the relevant motivational influences on classroom behaviour; (2) they tended to focus on how and why people choose certain courses of action, while ignoring or playing down the importance of motivational sources of executing goal-directed behaviour; and (3) they did not do justice to the fact that motivation is not static but dynamically evolving and changing in time, making it necessary for motivation constructs to contain a featured temporal axis. Consequently, partly inspired by Heckhausen and Kuhl's 'Action Control Theory', we have developed a new 'Process Model of L2 Motivation', which is intended both to account for the dynamics of motivational change in time and to synthesise many of the most important motivational conceptualisations to date. In this paper we describe the main components of this model, also listing a number of its limitations which need to be resolved in future research.


Dornyei, Z., & Otto, I. (1998). Motivation in action: A process model of L2 motivation. In Working Papers in Applied Linguistics, Vol. 4. Thames Valley University

Publication Date Jan 1, 1998
Deposit Date Oct 22, 2001
Publicly Available Date Oct 9, 2007
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Book Title Working Papers in Applied Linguistics, Vol. 4
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