Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor, Institute for Research and Planning in Higher Education, Iran

2 Professor, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium


This comparative study was conducted to explore achievement motivation and learning approaches of agricultural students and to examine students’ views on educational factors influencing their achievement motivation and learning approaches. The statistical population of this study comprised agricultural students of Tehran University (Tehran, Iran) and Ghent University (Belgium). A sample of 89 agricultural students from Tehran University and 85 agricultural students from Ghent University participated in this study, using the random sampling method. A questionnaire was used to obtain data on respondents’ demographic characteristics, viewpoints on educational factors, achievement motivation, and learning approaches of respondents. Validity and reliability coefficient of the instrument were determined through opinions of professors and application of coefficient alpha (more than 0.8 for different parts). Based on the results, there was no significant difference between the two groups (Iranian and Flemish students) on intrinsic motivation, while the two groups showed significant difference on extrinsic motivation. There were, also, differences between the two groups of students regarding deep approach to learning. This study implied that both similarities and differences can be observed on the factors influencing achievement motivation and learning approaches of agricultural students in different learning contexts. Based on the findings, conclusions were drawn and recommendations were put forth.

Graphical Abstract

How Students’ Views on Educational Factors Influence Their Achievement Motivation and Learning Approaches? Comparison of Perspectives


  • Educational factors influence students' achievement motivation
  • Educational factors influence students' learning approaches
  • Similarities and differences on the factors influencing learning approaches of students in different learning contexts
  • Intrinsic motivation positively effects deep learning


Main Subjects

Aguinis, H., & Roth, H.A. (2005). Teaching in China: Culture-based challenges. In I. Alon & J. R. McIntyre (Eds.), Business and Management Education in China: Transition, Pedagogy, and Training (pp. 141-164). Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific Publishing.
Barkley, A.P., & Forst, J.J. (2004). The determinants of first-year academic performance in the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University, 1990-1999. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, 36(2), 437-448.
Barron, K. E., & Harackiewicz, J. M. (2001). Achievement goals and optimal motivation: Testing multiple goal models. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 706–722.
Beyaztaş, D., & Senemoğlu, N. (2015). Learning approaches of successful students and factors affecting their learning approaches. Education and Science, 40(179), 193-216.
Biggs, J., Kember, D., & Leung, D. (2001). The revised two-factor SPQ: R-SPQ-2F. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 71, 133–149.
Bonsaksen, T., Brown, T., Lim, H.B., & Fong, K. (2017). Approaches to studying predict academic performance in undergraduate occupational therapy students: A cross-cultural study. BMC Medical Education, 17, 76-77.
BouJaoude, S., Salloum, S., & Abd-El-Khalick, F. (2004). Relationships between selective cognitive variables and students’ ability to solve chemistry problems. International Journal of Science Education, 26, 63−84.
Case, J. M., & Marshall, D. (2004). Between deep and surface: Procedural approaches to learning in engineering contexts. Studies in Higher Education, 29, 605–615.
Cetin, B. (2016). Approaches to learning and age in predicting college students’ academic achievement. Journal of College Teaching & Learning, 13(1), 21-28.
Choosri, Ch., & Intharaksa, U. (2011). Relationship between motivation and students’ english learning achievement: A study of the second – year vocational certificate level Hatyai Technical College Students. The 3rd International Conference on Humanities and Social Sciences, April 2, 2011. Faculty of Liberal Arts, Prince of Songkla University Proceedings- Factors Affecting English Language Teaching and Learning.
Cokley, K. O., Bernard, N., Cunningham, D., & Motoike, J. (2001). A psychometric investigation of the academic motivation scale using a United States sample. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 34, p. 109-119.
Collins, C. J., Hanges, P. J. & Locke, E. A. (2004). The relationship of achievement motivation to entrepreneurial behavior: A meta-analysis. Human Performance, 17, 95–117.
Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (2000). The ‘what’ and ‘why’ of Goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11(4), 227–268.
Deci, E.L. (1975). Intrinsic motivation. New York: Plenum Press.
Felder, R. M., & Brent, R. (2005). Understanding student differences. Journal of Engineering Education, 94 (1), 57-72.
George, D., & Mallery, P. (2003). SPSS for Windows step by step: A simple guide and reference. 11.0 update (4th Ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Gholifar, E., Asadi, A., Akbari, M., & Pouratashi, M. (2010). Effective factors in agricultural apple waste in Islamic Republic of Iran: A comparative study. Journal of Human Ecology, 32(1), 47-53.
Harackiewicz, J. M., Barron, K. E., Tauer, J. M., & Elliot, A. J. (2002). Predicting success in college: A longitudinal study of achievement goals and ability measures as predictors of interest and performance from freshman year through graduation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94, 562–575.
Hedjazi, Y. (2006). Factors influencing on students choice. Iranian Journal of Agricultural Science, 2(1), 41-54.
Hofer, B. K. (2000). Dimensionality and disciplinary differences in personal epistemology. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 378−405.
Hussin, F., Hamed, S., & Jam, S. (2017). Approaches to learning of engineering students: Deep or surface? International Academic Research Journal of Social Science, 3(1), 122-127.
Isen, A. M., & Reeve, J. (2005). The influence of positive affect on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: Facilitating enjoyment of play, responsible work behavior, and self-control. Motivation and Emotion, 29(4), 297-325.
Kaiser, H.F. (1974). An index of factorial simplicity. Psychometrics, 39, 31–36.
Kehm, B.M. (2010). Quality in European higher education: The influence of thee Bologna Process. Change, 42(3), 41-46.
Kidane, T.T., & Worth, S. (2012). A review of agricultural education and training in South Africa. African Journal of Agricultural Research, 7(18), 2741-2750. DOI: 10.5897/AJARX11.082
Lee, M.K.O., Cheung, Ch.M.K., & Chen, Zh. (2005). Acceptance of Internet-based learning medium: the role of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Information & Management, 42, 1095–1104.
Ligon, N.Y. (2006). Assessing the achievement motivation across grades and gender. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A. Humanities and Social Sciences, 67(6-A), p.2052.
Linnenbrink, E. A., & Pintrich, P. R. (2002). Motivation as an enabler for academic success. School Psychology Review, 31, 313-327.
Lublin, J. (2003). Deep, surface and strategic approaches to learning. Centre for Teaching and Learning, UCD, Dublin.
Manafi, D., Movahhed, H., & Hejazi, Y. (2016). Analyzing the role of self-esteem dimensions in student’s achievement motivation (A case of M.Sc. students of agriculture in Tehran University). International Journal of Agricultural Management and Development, 6(3), 319-325.
Movahedi, R. (2014). Searching on a Model for Sustainable Agricultural Higher Education Center (SAHEC). International Journal of Agricultural Management and Development, 4(4), 253-264.
Mulder, M., & Kupper, H. (2006). The future of agricultural education: The case of the Netherlands. The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 12(2), 127-139.
Nugent, T.T. (2009). The impact of teacher-student interaction on student motivation and achievement. Unpublished dissertation, Department of Educational Research, Technology and Leadership, University of Central Florida.
Oche, E.S. (2012). Assessing the relative effectiveness of three teaching methods in the measurement of student’ achievement in mathematics.  Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies, 3(4), 479-486.
Okutsu, M., Tomosue, T., Kataoka T., & Sawada, J. (2004). Agriculture and employed labour force: the current situation and future direction summary. The Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training Research Report, No. 1-2.
Pintrich, P. R., & Schunk, D. H. (2002). Motivation in education: Theory, research, and applications (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Pintrich, P.R. (2003). A motivational science perspective on the role of student motivation in learning and teaching contexts. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(4), 667-686.
Rahman, S., Mokhtar, S. B., & Yasin, R. M. (2012). Learning environment and learning approaches among engineering students. In IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference, EDUCON 2012 - Marrakech, Morocco.
Ranka, N. (2016). Effect of classroom environment on academic achievement motivation. International Journal of Indian Psychology, 4(1), 120-126.
Rienties, B., Giesbers, B., Tempelaar, D., Lygo-Baker, S., Segers, M., & Gijselaers, W. (2012). The role of scaffolding and motivation in CSCL. Computers & Education, 59, 893–906.
Ross, Sh. (2008). Motivation correlates of academic achievement: Exploring how motivation influences academic achievement in the PISA 2003 dataset. Unpublished dissertation, Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies, University of Victoria.
Ryan, R.M., & Deci, E.L. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 54–67.
Shokri, O., Kadivar, P., Farzad, V. & Sangari, A.A. (2006). The role of personality traits and learning approach in students' academic achievement. Psychological Research, 9(41-3), 65-84.
Su, Ch.T., & Parham, L.D. (2002). Generating a valid questionnaire translation for cross-cultural use. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 56(5), 581-585.
Watkins, D. (2001). Correlates of approaches to learning: A cross-cultural meta-analysis. In R. J. Sternberg & L. F. Zhang (Eds.), Perspectives on thinking, learning, and cognitive styles (pp. 165–195). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Wigfield, A., & Eccles, J. S. (2002). Development of achievement motivation. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
WigWeld, A., & Tonks, S. (2002). Adolescents’ expectancies for success and achievement task values during middle and high school years. In: F. Pajares & T. Urdan (Eds.), Academic motivation of adolescents. Connecticut: Information Age Publishing.
William, D. (2007). Content then process: Teacher learning communities in the service of formative assessment. In: Reeves, D. B. (2007). Ahead of the curve: The power of assessment to transform teaching and learning. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.
Williams, K.C., & Williams, C.C. (2011). Five key ingredients for improving student motivation. Research in Higher Education Journal, 2, 1-23.
Woodrow, D. (2001). Cultural determination of curricula, theories and practices. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 9(1), 5-27.
Zeegers, P. (2001) Approaches to learning in science: A longitudinal study. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 71, 115–132.
Zhu, C., Valcke, M., & Schellens, T. (2009). Cultural differences in the perception of a social constructivist e-learning environment. British Journal of Educational Technology, 40 (1), 164-168.
Zhu, Ch. (2009). E-learning in higher education: student and teacher variables in the Chinese and Flemish cultural context. Unpublished dissertation, Department of Educational Studies, University of Ghent, Belgium.