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Student Engagement and Motivation

Decorative image of a lecture hall with a hundred students.
Image credit: Pixabay

Capturing the attention of students and keeping them engaged can be a difficult problem. However, when we understand theories of motivation and consider ways to provide students choices and agency within our courses, we can improve overall engagement and retention.

The resources below are based on research in the scholarship of teaching and learning, educational theories, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience. They provide a variety of ways to think about the problems of engagement and motivation; some may fit with your pedagogical styles and instructional goals while others may not.

Select one or two strategies that fit with your needs and try implementing them in a portion of one class to start. You may also find it helpful to survey students directly on what works for them or where they needed additional help staying motivated and on-task. There is not a single approach or strategy that will work every time and for every student, but by thinking about these problems and talking about them with students, we can identify practices that will work for you and many of your students.