Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


First Advisor

Lauren Gatti

Date of this Version

Spring 4-27-2022


Malmquist, C. G., (2022). Curiosity, Intrinsic Motivation, Autonomy, and Lifelong Learning in Education and the United States Marine Corps. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Digital Commons, 1-32.


Capstone: Cynthia G. Malmquist, Department of Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Master’s Degree in Education with Specialization in Innovative Learning Technologies. April 27, 2022

Copyright © 2022 Cynthia G. Malmquist

Published in Omaha, Nebraska.


Curiosity, intrinsic motivation, and autonomy-supportive teaching all promote lifelong learning in both the classroom and Marine Corps. Humans are all born with curiosity. Children inherently practice forms of intrinsic motivation. Most would agree that they do not like being micromanaged - they enjoy a sense of freedom when completing tasks. Despite this, many students learn in a controlling environment and many Marines work under controlling leaders. Though a large amount of time is spent on learning through the first 18 years of life, lifelong learning does not come naturally and is not commonly practiced. The research and ideas discussed below are all means to promote a positive learning environment for students in the classroom and the population within the Marine Corps. If curiosity, intrinsic motivation, and an autonomy-supportive teaching environment can be promoted, it equates to creating a foundation for lifelong learning. These attributes promote confidence, self-identity, and growth as an individual. They will lead to higher test scores, morale, and mission accomplishment without that being its purpose. Lifelong learning can be something we all strive for and seek for ourselves and our Marines. It will benefit us as leaders and the Marine Corps as an institution. There are tangibles to implement in the Marine Corps to promote these attributes.