Relationships between the Perceived Value of Instructional Techniques and Academic Motivation

Article excerpt

Despite a large volume of research examining instructional strategies and student learning, very little research has examined relationships between students' perceptions of the value of specific instructional techniques and academic motivation. In the current research, college students (172 undergraduates) completed scales assessing the perceived value of course websites, active learning, and traditional lectures, as well as the Academic Motivations Inventory (AMI; Moen & Doyle, 1977). Results showed a complex pattern of significant correlations that was simplified when examining the three key factors of academic motivation. Specifically, stepwise regression analysis showed that engagement was positively related with the perceived value of all three instructional techniques, whereas avoidance was not significantly related with any. Achievement motivation was positively related with the perceived value of traditional lectures. These results suggest that students with different types of academic motivation respond differently to specific instructional techniques and that a variety of strategies may need to be activated to reach all students. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.

Key Words: academic motivation, instructional techniques, course websites

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In order to enhance the value of a college education, it is important to identify the relationship between students' receptiveness to various instructional techniques and individual differences in academic motivation. Teachers and scholars have long been attentive to how the choice of specific teaching techniques (such as lectures, assignments, and experiential exercises) may impact classroom climate and performance (McKeachie, 1974). However, relationships between specific instructional techniques and student motivation have received less attention (Hammer, 2005). In addition, in recent years, many university faculty have developed comprehensive course websites that provide access to lecture notes, grades, review sheets, example exam questions, links, and so on. With the advent of the internet and increased use of course websites, it is becoming increasingly important to determine the impact of website usage on student motivation and learning (Cox & Rogers, 2005; Roblyer & Knezek, 2003). Indeed, Robinson (2004) reports that as students become more connected to the electronic world, faculty members will find themselves compelled to incorporate technology in the classroom. Similarly, Miller, Martineau, and Clark (2000) conclude that educators have very little choice but to incorporate technology as widespread student computer usage expands and social, structural, and resource barriers inevitably diminish. Similarly, Grasha (2000) encourages faculty to develop a conceptual framework for incorporating technology in the classroom, as it is important for faculty to explore the fit between technology and their philosophy of teaching and learning. Thus, it is important to develop an understanding of how the mix of instructional technologies employed is related to students' motivation, learning, and performance. We designed the current research to examine the relationship between the perceived value of different teaching techniques and college students' academic motivation. Specifically, we focused on the relationships that course website usage, traditional lecture, and active learning techniques have with distinct aspects of academic motivation.

Theoretical Background

We propose that instructional techniques do not impact all students equally, and that students with different profiles of academic motivation will prefer and value different instructional techniques. For years, scholars across numerous disciplines have analyzed various instructional methods and sought to identify those that are most effective. This prior research and theory suggests that pedagogical choices can have a significant impact on student learning, eagerness to consider new information, and ability to apply information to new situations. …

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