Strategies for improving student learning by promoting intrinsic motivation

by Steve Waters
MAMC student, University of Florida

For my presentation, I discussed motivation types among students and some best practices for encouraging intrinsic motivation in the classroom.

One popular theory when thinking of motivation is the attribution theory, which basically states that when a student seeks explanation for unexpected outcomes, they make attributions about probable causes. You can find a well-written overview from Purdue on attribution theory here:

A survey from the University of Sydney on extrinsic vs. intrinsic motivational types, from which I adapted several of your homework questions, can be found here:

As for some best practices for encouraging intrinsic motivation in the classroom, these were straight from “McKeachie’s Teaching Tips.” Here’s an overview:

  • When planning your class, consider choice and control.
  • Motivated teacher = motivated students
  • Mix different teaching styles and assignment types
  • Encourage revision to foster mastery.
  • Use criterion-referenced grading when possible.
  • “Test” frequently, so students can learn from their mistakes. Allow students to justify and elaborate.
  • Consider dropping commonly missed questions, or giving half-credit if answers are justified.
  • Give consistent, honest, and constructive feedback.

Finally, since some of you enjoyed the presentation style, I would recommend the book “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” by Carmine Gallo. You can find that on Amazon here:

Steve Waters is a master’s degree student at the University of Florida and a student in Mass Communication Teaching (MMC 6930) during Fall Semester 2013.

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