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What Strategies Do You Use To Improve Student Motivation In Your Courses?

What Strategies Do You Use To Improve Student Motivation In Your Courses?

What strategies should we use to improve student motivation in our courses?

Many among our teachers and trainers community wonder, especially the young ones like me, about the strategies we should use to improve student motivation in our courses. In today’s article, we will check some facts that I have learned from some top people in the industry.

Strategies to improve student motivation in our courses.

Joy Mighty from Carleton University mentions that one of the strategies is being relevant.

Joy Mighty from Carleton University mentions one of the strategies as being relevant. Relevance to lives of the students, relevance to their stage of development, relevance to their interests. The types of examples that you use would be examples that they can relate to, the types of assignments that you give would be not your “tried and trued” essay with the topic that you know they can go on a website and find, but something that engages them to go and ask questions, to inquire about something that appeals to them, something in their community, for example. Something that gives them the importance and the motivation to stick with it no matter how hard it is.

Because at the end of it is some reward for them they want to know this thing.

From the University of Guelph, Dan Gillis tries to make sure that all the assignments given to the students are fun. 

From the University of Guelph, Dan Gillis tries to make sure that all the assignments given to the students are fun. It keeps them engaged, keeps them working; the gamification helps out.

The third-year course he requires currently that the project always has a community-engaged scholarship or community engagement component to it. So that the students are working with a real client, they’re not just building something for him that’s going to be, you know here’s your marks and no one cares what you’ve just built because it’s just for an assignment.

When the community engages the students, they know that they’re building something that might make a difference in someone’s life. They’re far more motivated to show up.

It’s been the difference in the classes where dan Gillis has had some motivational factor involved versus the classes where he doesn’t. The attendance rates are vastly different. We’re talking like 50% of the class showing up versus 97% of the class showing up.

Maureen Connolly of Brock University works on meaningful learning devoid of irrelevant information. 

Maureen Connolly of Brock University works on meaningful learning devoid of irrelevant information. She mentions that the students are motivated to the extent that this course is a choice or a must. That will impact the way they work in the course and the meaning that they take from the course.

Maureen Connolly tries to work on meaningful learning. She tries not to give her students irrelevant information. She tries to make it and connect it as much as possible to the lives they’re living.

She tries to make them get acquainted. So she builds in enough latitude in the course that the questions she wants to ask and the activities she wants to do, she can massage it if necessary to the lives they’re leaving.

Anthony Marini of Carleton University mentions developing relevant assignments.

Anthony Marini of Carleton University mentions developing relevant assignments.

For him, a big part of motivation, you might think it’s related to the teaching component, and he assures that it is. Still, from a measurement perspective, he thinks an incredibly powerful role developing relevance assessments can have on motivation.

He thinks the one thing that he does see is that when he is asking students, in the context of assessment, to get into something closer to what happens to the world that they’re going to, they get a lot more excited. In that process, so the richness of assessment is the vehicle that increases motivation in the classroom.

From the University of Guelph, Denise Mohan mentions strategizing the design of assessments.

From the University of Guelph, Denise Mohan mentions strategizing the design of assessments.

Assessments, if they’re inspired in their design and how they are executed and in the kinds of learning, allow students to engage in, whether on an individual level, within group settings, in the classroom, or outside of the classroom.

Those kinds of inspired designs of assessment motivate students to participate and to succeed. At that point, there’s a certain level of not just extrinsic motivation but intrinsic motivation.

From the University of Guelph, M.J. D’Elia mentions strategizing the achievements of grades.

From the University of Guelph, M.J. D’Elia mentions strategizing the achievements of grades.

He emphasizes having to consider what motivates the students. One of the challenges is grades.

Grades motivate students, and we should be frank about what we need to do as an instructor, which signals which parts of the course we want them to focus on by how we distribute the grades.

Maristela Petrovic-Dzerdz, Carleton University, mentions Don Keller’s motivational model.

Maristela Petrovic-Dzerdz, Carleton University, mentions Don Keller’s motivational model.

There are many things we can do to improve the motivation of students in the class. For example, we can try to implement Don Keller’s motivational model. Keller based this model on years of research in psychology and the topic of motivation.

Keller came up with a list of four categories that we should think of and apply in the design of instructional activities, and these four categories are –

  1. Attention
  2. Relevance
  3. confidence or challenge
  4. satisfaction or success

Since this model was designed, it has been successfully tested and implemented in many different environments. Many strategies were designed to put this model from theory to practice.

Maristela Petrovic-Dzerdz certainly uses this model when she designs courses. She would suggest anyone interested in the motivational state of students in the course look further into and implement it in their course design.
Courtesy to Carleton Univeristy and Media Production Center.

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