Student engagement is the product of motivation and active learning

As student engagement is the product of motivation and active learning, I reviewed these topics for both face-to-face and online courses.

Motivation is literally the desire to do things.  In education setting, motivation of students means students desire to study the subjects with their own motives.  From the reading of Barkley’s book, I realized that, we, instructors, try to establish supportive relationships and arrange cooperative and collaborative learning that encourage students to adopt learning goals, and discourage students toward performance goals or work-avoidant goals.  It is also required to promote autonomy, competence, and relatedness of students to be intrinsically motivated in courses.  Expectancy of the students and value are important constructs essential in student motivation.

Active learning is a teaching strategy which emphasis less on passing information (regurgitation) and more on activities such as discussing, writing, reading and reflecting.  In active learning, students being involved in higher-order thinking tasks, such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation.  Engaging students in activities should be promoted to help students learn and apply course materials in the real world.

Student learning online is a trend, especially in the higher education.  Students learning online also need motivation to succeed, and understanding of skills development for active learning (Meyer, 2014, p. x).  She recommended the following strategies to increase student engagement in online course work:

  1. use learning theories that encourage engagement,
  2. focus on pedagogies and active learning options,
  3. interact for an educational purpose,
  4. push students to think more deeply,
  5. teach students how to learn,
  6. evaluate tools, both hardware and software,
  7. evaluate online classes over and over again, and
  8. assess student engagement and its effect on retention and learning

Although Meyer suggested above strategies for student engagement online, she also mentioned that strategies to promote student engagement between online and face-to-face are not different (Meyer, 2014, p. xii).  We may apply these strategies to increase student engagement in the classroom setting.

Motivation and active learning work together synergistically.  Research findings showed that combined effect of motivation and active learning is greater than the sum of their individual effects (Barkley, 2009, p. 7).  We need to find ways to promote active learning and motivate students concurrently in the context of their studies in face-to-face or online courses. But how…

Due to the evidence-based findings of synergetic effect of motivation and active learning, I, as an instructor, will encourage students to actively participate in their learning and motivate them to learn.  It is one of my responsibility and daily challenges to find ways to engage students with various needs, styles and preferences through motivating and active learning.  Although it will not be an easy task, I will certainly try to incorporate some of the Student Engagement strategies learned in this course as well as to follow the advices by the PIDP instructors to enhance student learning and to improve the quality of my teaching.

By taking the PIDP courses as a student/participant, I have an opportunity to see and feel from the student point of view of engagement.  These learning and experience will definitely improve my quality of teaching by effectively supporting student engagement and learning.



Barkley, E. F. (2010). Student engagement techniques: A handbook for college faculty. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Meyer, K. A. (2014). Student Engagement Online: What Works and Why: ASHE Higher Education Report: Volume 40, Number 6


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