Helping to Increase Students’ Intrinsic Motivation
It is often clear to see that students may have extrinsic motivation in taking a particular course you are teaching – it’s required to graduate, they need it to get a raise at work, their employer requires it, their licensing body requires it, etc. And while it is great that this extrinsic motivation has led them to learn something new, it doesn’t necessarily translate into fostering an inherent interest in the subject matter. What then can we do as instructors to nourish students’ intrinsic motivation to learn?
While various authors have written and studied the field of motivation in adult education, in 2014, Ludmilla Battista and Verlinde Ruble, created a list of Nine Strategies to Spark Adult Students’ Intrinsic Motivation, roughly based around Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
The premise is that once students have met their lower needs on the Pyramid of Needs, they will be more able to intrinsically seek learning for the sake of learning. It also discusses helping students see ways of applying their learning to stimulate more intrinsic motivation.
One strategy is to:
This is a very practical strategy that I think would work very well in teaching my course on dental materials. By providing simulations and case studies where students explore the materials in real life situations I think that they would be much more interested in learning about the properties of dental materials, because they would be able to see how what they are learning relates to actually being a dental hygienist, which is the greater goal or outcome of the program.
As well, in the past, exams for this course have been mostly multiple choice, based on facts. I would like to incorporate more “scenario” or “case-study” type problems into the exams as well, to further link what they are learning into the broader context of being a dental hygienist.