The Role of Interest in Learning: Knowledge Acquisition at the Intersection of Situational and Individual Interest

  • Jerome I. RotgansEmail author
  • Henk G. Schmidt


The objective of this chapter is to illuminate the role of interest in knowledge acquisition. In this chapter, we make a distinction between situational interest and individual interest and explain how both are related to knowledge. We will argue that the relations between these three concepts are at the heart of the education endeavor. We present empirical findings showing that situational interest is a causal factor in the acquisition of knowledge. Individual interest is shown to be a by-product of knowledge and a causal factor in the emergence of situational interest. In the concluding paragraphs, we will propose a model that integrates our findings and present directions for future research.


Individual interest Active learning Situational interest Motivation Epistemic model of interest in education 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Erasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands

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