Student Motivation

Motivating Today’s Denison Students

Strategies to Enhance Student Learning and Academic Achievement

The President’s Office and The Center for Learning and Teaching sponsored a one-day workshop for Denison Faculty on May 17, 2016. The workshop was led by Dr. Kenn Barron, a social psychologist at James Madison University and co-director of the Motivation Research Institute at JMU. Dr. Barron is recognized nationally for his major contributions to the theoretical development of this field and for his research that applies and tests specific educational strategies and programs targeting the role of motivation in learning, academic achievement, self-efficacy, goal determination, and college student persistence and success.

During the workshop, Dr. Barron presented a single, unifying motivation theory to help faculty understand the major sources of students’ motivation, and demonstrated how faculty can use this information to design courses and to develop effective teaching strategies in order to promote each source of motivation.

The main components of Barron’s model are shown below and the complete model with examples of the multiple factors that underlie each component are contained in a handout that can be directly applied to influence your students’ motivation. As you consider the factors that underlie your students’ motivation to learn, ask yourself:

  1. What are some research-based sources of increasing my students’ expectancy that they can learn or do a task? Consider: effort, feedback, goal setting, clear expectations, etc.
  2. What are the sources of increasing the value of learning or doing a task? Consider: intrinsic and extrinsic interest, relevance, novelty, personal control and choice, etc.
  3. What are evidence-based ways of decreasing students’ costs in learning environments? Consider: effort, time, emotional reactions, loss of alternative valued activities, competing activities, etc.

M = Motivation

   

E = Expectancy

Can your students do the task?

V = Value

Do your students want to do the task?

C = Cost

Do your students have barriers preventing them from investing time, energy, or resources into the task?

Additional materials from the workshop and resources on the research literature on motivation and learning can be found in the Center’s MyDenison pages (“Student Motivation and Learning Workshop, Kenn Barron, JMU”).

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