Both motivation and active learning are required for student engagement to be a real and empowering process. The two go hand in hand, when students are actively learning, the motivation to continue and keep making connections is increased leading to further participation in active learning activities.
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“Student engagement is a process and a product that is experienced on a continuum and results from the synergistic interaction between motivation and active learning.” Barkley, E., 2010. p8.
Motivation can intrinsic or extrinsic and often is a combination of both. Intrinsic motivation refers to a person’s attitudes, beliefs and values and is personal in nature. Extrinsic motivation refers to factors outside the individual such as grades, professional development and money.
Active learning involves students participating in reading, writing and discussion activities that encourage higher order thinking like analysis, creation, evaluation and problem solving skills. Students are performing tasks and thinking about what they are doing and not just passively listening in the classroom. Bonwell, C. 2009.
Being interested in the lesson motivates students to participate actively in the lesson. There must be relevance to the lesson that links to the course objectives or outlines and the students must be aware of these connections. Motivation comes from applying the newly acquired knowledge or skills and building it onto our current knowledge bases. However, ultimately the level of a student’s motivation is linked to how the student feels about them self as a learner (self-efficacy), their intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors and their perceived success or failure in the course.
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Barkley, Elizabeth F. 2010. Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Print.
Bonwell, C. 2009. Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom. Retrieved from: http://www.ydae.purdue.edu/lct/hbcu/documents/Active_Learning_Creating_Excitement_in_the_Classroom.pdf