Merlin Wittrock

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Merlin Carl Wittrock (January 3, 1931 – November 28, 2007) was an American educational psychologist.[1] He received the E. L. Thorndike Award in 1987.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Twin Falls, Idaho in 1931. He received a bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Missouri and his PhD from the University of Illinois.[2]


Generative theory of learning[edit]

Wittrock is best known for his generative theory of learning.[1] He first published this theory in 1974.[3] It is the parent of many current theories of academic motivation.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Wittrock had three children with his wife, Nancy.[5] He died of heart failure in November 2007 at the age of 76.[6]


  1. ^ a b Mayer, Richard E. "Merlin C. Wittrock's enduring contributions to the science of learning." Educational Psychologist 45.1 (2010): 46-50.
  2. ^ "UCLA education professor influenced teacher training". Los Angeles Times, 8 December 2007.
  3. ^ Wittrock, Merlin C. "Learning as a generative process". Educational psychologist 11.2 (1974): 87-95.
  4. ^ Anderman, Eric M. "Reflections on Wittrock's generative model of learning: a motivation perspective." Educational Psychologist 45.1 (2010): 55-60.
  5. ^ Shaena Engle. "Obituary: Merlin C. Wittrock, 76, UCLA professor emeritus of education". UCLA Newsroom, 5 December 2007.
  6. ^