Motivational Theories in Curriculum Development

All of the separate motivational theories focus on deciphering the best methods of motivating individuals, and are most commonly applied to employee motivation. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states that people are motivated by their needs which can be organized in a hierarchical order, where every next category of needs only becomes relevant when all preceding ones have been met.

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Herzberg’s Motivation/Hygiene theory suggests that satisfaction and dissatisfaction do not exclude one another, and while motivational factors can cause satisfaction, the absence of hygiene factors can cause dissatisfaction concurrently. McClelland’s Need for Achievement theory correlates with Maslow’s need for self-actualization, and also provides additional insight into Herzberg’s theory by suggesting that motivational factors are more relevant to high achievers, while low achievers would be more motivated by hygiene factors.

Herzberg argued that satisfaction of the bottom needs in Maslow’s hierarchy is not a motivational factor in itself, and is more of a removal of negative hygiene factors.

All three of the discussed theories assert that people are better motivated when they believe that correct behavior will lead to worthwhile and valuable reward, but the effect can be diminished by adverse factors, such as bad peer relations or negative company policies (Yusoff, Kian, & Idris 2013).

Motivational theories are very valuable in the development of a curriculum in education. Educators require a strong understanding of what motivates their students, and what can impede their motivation. By determining what would motivate their students best, the educators can provide them with appropriate incentives and the opportunity to self-actualize, while at the same time working towards decreasing adverse hygiene factors. In many cases this needs to be done in conjunctions with state or government actions, especially when the hygiene factors are poverty, street crime, etc.


Yusoff, W. F. W., Kian, T. S., & Idris, M. T. M. (2013). Herzberg’s Two Factors Theory on Work Motivation: Does It Work for Todays Environment? Global Journal of Commerce & Management Perspective, 2(5), 18-22.

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StudyCorgi. "Motivational Theories in Curriculum Development." April 6, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Motivational Theories in Curriculum Development." April 6, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Motivational Theories in Curriculum Development'. 6 April.

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