Academic journal article Education

Factors Influencing College Students' Motivation to Learn from Students' Perspective

Academic journal article Education

Factors Influencing College Students' Motivation to Learn from Students' Perspective

Article excerpt


Some students seem naturally enthusiastic about learning, but many need their instructors to stimulate them. Effective learning in the classroom depends on the teacher's ability to maintain the interest that brought students to the course in the first place (Ericksen, 1978). Many factors affect a given student's motivation to work and to learn such as interest in the subject matter, general desire to achieve, self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as patience and persistence (Davis, 1999). Learning appeared to be most compelling when the students were curious about topics and when the activity was appropriately challenging. In these instances, learning impacted students' feelings in a positive way. Students expressed feeling proud, satisfied and important when they learned something new, acquired new skills, and when they shared this knowledge with other people (Wilson, 2011).

Researchers have identified several aspects of the teaching situation that enhance students' self-motivation. To encourage students to become self-motivated independent learners, instructors can give frequent, early, positive feedback that supports students' beliefs that they can do well. Ensure opportunities for students' success by assigning tasks that are neither too easy nor too difficult. Help students find personal meaning and value in the material. Create an atmosphere that is open and positive and help students feel that they are valued members of a learning community (Davis, 1999).

Life in classrooms is a complex social environment. Some researchers have found that students are often more concerned with their social relationships in classrooms than they are with learning, rewards, or approval. When students feel connected and supported in the classroom, they will be intrinsically motivated to join in the classroom activities. Motivation can therefore be enhanced when students have opportunities to build social relationships in the context of the classroom (Anderman & Anderman, 2010).

Most students respond positively to a well-organized course taught by an enthusiastic instructor who has a real interest in students and what they learn. Thus activities you undertake to promote learning will also enhance students' motivation (Davis, 1999). It is important to remember that, for students, your course is one small component of their lives (Luce, 1990). They are taking other courses, making friends, participating in activities, and even taking care of families.

Given the different factors affecting college students' lives, motivating them is an essential role of every teacher for a successful teaching-learning environment. Therefore, studying and identifying the most important factors that affect students' motivation to learn will help teachers play their roles effectively. Although, many of these factors have been identified by other researchers, how these factors affect and in which direction are different from culture or context to another. Moreover, motivating factors from students perspective may different than motivating factors from teachers perspectives. This is what this study tries to achieve.

This paper has been designed to determine the main factors that motivate students to learn from students perceptions. The study was conducted on the students of Al-Ain University, a private university at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with more than 5000 students enrolment. The average number of students in each class was 25 students. Using cluster sampling method, 5 classes were randomly selected, and all students in each class were asked to participate in this study. A total of 232 students (162 females (70%), and 70 males (30%)) participated in this study by responding to the instrument.

Research in this area increases the faculty awareness of the ways and the methods for motivating their students to learn.

Review of the Literature

Students with mastery goals are intrinsically motivated to strive to develop competence by learning as much as they can about a subject. …

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