Here is a link to the abstract for a recent study on student motivation:
The researchers hypothesised, “students with more sophisticated beliefs that knowledge is personally constructed, complex, and evolving, (would have) higher levels of intrinsic motivation.” Their findings were the exact opposite! Students with a poorer understanding of learning processes were significantly more motivated to learn the subject matter (in this case, exercise physiology). This is only one study, but could provide useful information for educators. The researchers suggest that knowing the levels of epistemological understanding in a particular group of students could help teachers in custom tailoring the most effective instructional methodologies.
My theory on these findings is that they relate to personality types rather than merely epistemological beliefs. The students with sophisticated epistemological beliefs are likely abstract, philosophical types. Because these types examine issues from multiple angles and see the universe in shades of gray, they are often distracted and indecisive (but also creative and deep). Students with unsophisticated epistemological beliefs are likely concrete, traditional types. They tend to see things in clear cut, black and white terms, which results in greater decisiveness and fewer obstructions to getting the job done. Philosophical types tend to question authority and seek alternatives, while concrete types tend to comply with authority and seek task completion.
That’s my read. What do you think?