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Influence of Anxiety, Locus of Control and Achievement Motivation on Learning


Anxiety is one of the basic human emotions that have been established to have significant impacts on learning. Anxiety refers to basic human emotion characterized by fear and often occurs due to the belief that an event poses a threat to an individual or the self-esteem of the respective person (Ajmal & Ahmad, 2019). Usually, anxiety limits the normal thought processes of humans and is felt by all human beings. For instance, students usually develop anxiety during examinations or when faced with situations that require making significant life decisions. Literature evidence has established a negative correlation between student achievement and anxiety (Ajmal & Ahmad, 2019). For example, several past studies have established a relationship between anxiety and the development of essential cognitive and emotional outcomes in distance learning. Anxiety is one of the major stumbling blocks to learning a foreign language that learners need to overcome (Sheu, 2017). On the other hand, anxiety is also observed as the most effective element that influences success and achievement in a target language. Therefore, anxiety can either enable learners to attain their learning goals or prevent the successful performance of a target language.

Locus of Control

Locus of control is the control that individuals relate to over a situation. Locus of control and self-control are two critical aspects with significant influence on the ability of young people to internalize problems (Flores et al., 2020). Therefore, locus of control can have a high degree of influence on students’ behavior and learning outcomes. For instance, students with an external locus of control believe in the ability of their skills and behaviors to make a difference in acquiring reinforcement hence lacking value for their efforts. Internal locus of control allows individuals to have a belief of having infinite control over their lives, thereby acting according to the belief. Individuals or students with an internal locus of control usually show a higher ranking in school with higher grades when tested on educational motivation (Labhane, Nikam & Baviskar, 2015). Individuals possessing internal locus of control believe that events in their life result from their interpersonal actions, while individuals with external local of control believe that events are results of someone else’s action. Students who have an internal locus of control can connect their behaviors and outcome hence are motivated to have increased control over their academic results compared to externally oriented students (Kader, 2014). Therefore, students with an internal and external locus of control tend to adhere to different learning strategies.

Achievement Motivation

Achievement motivation is another essential construct that significantly impacts students’ learning outcomes. Achievement motivation can be defined as something originating from within a person and usually takes encouragement towards the achievement of success (Karlina et al., 2021). The motivation of achievement also implies the same meaning as a personal effort to raise persistence and enthusiasm towards implementing an activity. Achievement motivation is not a unitary construct but a subset of various constructs such as self-concepts, task values, goals, and motives for achievement (Steinmayr et al., 2019). Achievement motivation impacts changing personal energy, which is a feeling associated with achievements. Therefore, achievement motivation is a psychological or mental state required on an individual basis towards becoming a driving force in executing activities with specific achievements.

Application of the Principles of Operant Conditioning by B.F. Skinner in Classroom

The theory of B.F. Skinner is founded on learning as a change function in overt behavior. Operant conditioning, also referred to as instrumental conditioning, is a learning method attributed to B.F (Cherry, 2019). Skinner, in which the consequences of the response determine the likelihood of a response being repeated. An operant conditioning behavior that is rewarded or enforced has high chances of being repeated while punishable behavior is likely to occur less frequently. The three types of operant or responses identified by B.F. Skinner includes natural operants, reinforcers, and punishers (Cherry, 2019). Neutral operants refer to responses from the environment that have no impact on a behavior’s chances of repletion. On the other hand, Reinforcers imply a response from the environment that enhances the chances of repetition of behavior with reinforcers being either positive or negative (Cherry, 2019). Finally, punishers imply responses from the environment that lead to a decrease in the chances of repetition of the behavior, with punishment having the effect of weakening behavior.

The knowledge of operant conditioning has a significant influence on educational practices. While children exhibit behavior at all ages, teachers, and parents are, on the other hand, regarded as behavior modifiers. The show of the same behavior by a child at the beginning and end of an academic year is a show of a job not well done by a teacher. Children are meant to learn by producing a relatively permanent behavior change of potential behavior resulting from experience from school or classroom settings. Behavioral studies within the classroom environment have enhanced the establishment of principles that help in the organization and arrangement of classroom experience by teachers towards the facilitation of academic and social behavior. Several studies have also emphasized instruction as essential in the development of a variety of models for teaching that educators can use at all levels. Programmed instruction necessitates learning to be done in small steps where learning is considered to be an active participant.


Ajmal, M., & Ahmad, S. (2019). Exploration of Anxiety Factors among Students of Distance Learning: A Case Study of Allama Iqbal Open University. Bulletin of Education and Research41(2), 67-78.

Cherry, K. (2019). What is operant conditioning and how does it work. How reinforcement and punishment modify behavior. Verywell Mind.

Flores, J., Caqueo-Urízar, A., Ramírez, C., Arancio, G., & Cofré, J. P. (2020). Locus of control, self-control, and gender as predictors of internalizing and externalizing problems in children and adolescents in Northern Chile. Frontiers in Psychology11, 2015.

Kader, A. (2014). Locus of control, student motivation, and achievement in principles of microeconomics. American International Journal of Contemporary Research4(9).

Karlina, R., Rizal, Y., Pujiati, P., & Maydiantoro, A. (2021). The influence of achievement motivation on learning achievement of Introduction to Accounting course. International Journal of Educational Studies in Social Sciences1(1), 7-15.

Labhane, C. P., Nikam, H. R., & Baviskar, M. P. A. (2015). A study of locus of control and achievement motivation among students of Jalgaon Dist. The International Journal of Indian Psychology3(1), 104-111.

Sheu, P. H. (2017). Examining the relationship of motivation, attitude, anxiety and achievement in English learning among elementary school students in Taiwan. International Journal of Language and Literature5(2), 174-184.

Steinmayr, R., Weidinger, A. F., Schwinger, M., & Spinath, B. (2019). The importance of students’ motivation for their academic achievement–replicating and extending previous findings. Frontiers in psychology10, 1730.


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