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Increasing Student Motivation

Motivation implies a driving power that keeps people moving toward achieving their goals. Therefore, it stands to reason that motivation is an extremely important component of education. Part of being an effective educator is increasing your students’ motivation. Wlodkowski (2008) asserts that in order to motivate learners, instructors must exhibit enthusiasm, expertise, clarity, and cultural responsiveness. Below are two popular strategies for increasing student motivation.

The TARGET Strategy

One way of increasing student motivation is by employing the TARGET strategy (Ames, 1990, 1992) to promote motivation in students:

Activities should be

  • Attainable
  • Have intrinsic value or be of interest
  • Be useful (i.e. help students meet course goals)
  • Be connected to real-life problems or situations

  • Provide a range of choices for meeting the learning objectives
  • Encourage students to take initiative about their own learning

  • Provide a range of choices for meeting the learning objectives.
  • Formative feedback motivates

  • Associated with higher achievement and deeper learning
  • Small groups
  • Community of Learners

  • Criterion referenced rather than normative
  • Private rather than public.
  • Instructor must also be assessed and assess self

  • Balance to allow for maximum success and mastery

Based on the TARGET model, we encourage you to examine your practice and identify areas of opportunity where you might better employ the model.

Download this resource for additional tips on increasing student motivation.