Part of the motivation behind the evolution of learning environments is the idea of providing students with individualized instructional strategies that allow them to learn as much as possible. It has been suggested that the goals an individual holds create a framework or orientation from which they react and respond to events. There is a large evidence-based literature which supports the notion of mastery and performance approaches to learning and which identifies distinct behavioural patterns associated with each. However, it remains unclear how these orientations manifest themselves within the individual: an important question to address when applying goal theory to the development of a goal-sensitive learner model. This paper exposes some of these issues by describing two empirical studies. They approach the subject from different perspectives, one from the implementation of an affective computing system and the other a classroom-based study, have both encountered the same empirical and theoretical problems: the dispositional/situational aspect and the dimensionality of goal orientation.
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