Motivating Students: Resources for Faculty to Engage Learners

One of the most frequent questions I get in my role working with faculty is on the topic of motivation. How to motivate the ‘unmotivated’ student? How to engage students when all existing strategies have failed to engage? How to get students to be involved in their own learning?

Here are a collection of articles, websites and little videos that may be of help to faculty in post-secondary (and possibly with relevance to those teaching at secondary school level). At Vancouver Island University (VIU), I use these collections as part of a Community of Scholarly Teaching Practice (COSTP) to allow faculty to choose which articles, websites or videos are of interest and use as a jumping off point for conversation, sharing and professional learning. If you find of interest, please enjoy!

Research Articles

All chosen as the best and easy reads on student motivation. Page lengths are noted. Good for a skim!

  • Svinicki, M. D. (n.d.) Student Goal Orientation, Motivation and Learning. University Texas-Austin (5 pages)  Link to PDF
  • Kember, D., Ho, A., & Hong, C. (2010). Characterising a teaching and learning environment capable of motivating student learning. Learning Environments Research, v13 n1 p43-57 (15 pages ) Link to PDF
  • Brophy, J. (October 1987). Synthesis of research on strategies for motivating students to learn. Educational Leadership.(10 pages) Link to PDF
  • Hobson, E. H. (n.d.). Getting Students to Read: Fourteen Tips. Georgia Southern University (10 pages: Idea Paper # 40) Link to PDF


Web Pages

Most 1 page length sites with excellent tips for motivating students. You might want to bookmark these sites and just visit them for a few minutes each. These are some of the best teaching and learning centres in the US who have great tips for faculty.


Short Video Segments

Great little videos on motivation. First one is from students’ point of view and 1 minute long. Second one has faculty speaking along with students. Last one is an RSAnimate version of Daniel Pink’s talk about what motivates humans (you’ll see a lot of relevance to this more generic take on motivation – to how it fosters itself in the classroom).