6 Ways Your Students Can Get Motivation for Learning New Materials

 6 Ways Your Students Can Get Motivation for Learning New Materials

Some people are more motivated to do things than others are. However, it is not a feature that is hereditary but can rather be developed or evoked in an individual. Here are the 6 ways your students can get motivation for learning new materials. 

#1 Make Your Students Believe in Themselves

Believing in yourself matters, so foster self-efficacy in students and let them carry out tasks they think they can accomplish successfully. It is often that we are more enthusiastic about embracing a task when we believe it is realistic for us to complete it successfully. In fact, the task that is given to us may not even be terrifyingly complicated, but if we perceive it as such we will be more reluctant to approach it and will be doing everything possible in order to postpone the moment when it needs to be begun. By doing so, we get progressively less motivated to learn new stuff and waste our precious time procrastinating. 

Some people associate the aforementioned phenomenon with the lack of self-discipline. While self-discipline is a rather serious trait that needs to be trained and developed within an individual, it is not exactly the case in the given situation.

There are plenty of motivational theories out there that can encourage your students to get motivated for learning new materials. However, all of them start with the basic concept of self-efficacy. According to the definition provided by psychologist Albert Bandura who originally proposed the concept, self-efficacy refers to the personal belief of a particular individual regarding "how well one can execute courses of action required to deal with prospective situations". These personal judgments often determine whether a particular person will be able to show coping behavior as well as identify the duration of the effort sustained in the face of obstacles.

 In turn, those individuals who tend to exhibit higher self-efficacy will bring into play ample effort that, if well-executed, leads to positive results, whereas those with lower self-efficacy are likely to give up mid-way and subsequently fail.

Therefore, it is vital to reassure your students that they have the ability to learn the subject you are teaching, even if at the moment they are not particularly gifted in it. By doing so, you will boost their self-efficacy, and therefore motivate them to put forth the effort and persistence needed to perform well. One of the most efficient and straightforward ways of achieving it is breaking down the material you are trying to deliver to your students into smaller chunks i.e. implement the chunking strategy into the learning process.

It is understandable and scientifically proven that students find it easier and generally more manageable to process information when they receive it in batches and are not expected to tackle the whole load in one sitting. Moreover, breaking down long strings of information can make it less intimidating to approach, and therefore motivate your students to get on to it. 

#2 Explain the Importance of the New Materials

Another thing that motivation is closely linked with is matching the content you are laying out in front of your student to their personal values and expectations in regards to the new materials. It is absolutely vital for them to fully understand the importance of this new knowledge they are being given in order for them to have an interest in pursuing it.

One of the recent studies explains that learners are much less likely to engage in a task or persist with learning long enough to obtain their goals unless they value the learning activities and goals. Multiple expectancy-value theories have outlined how learners set personal learning goals ding on their beliefs about both their ability to accomplish a task — which was described earlier — and the value of that task given. It is obvious that students will feel more motivated to embrace the learning process and remember the materials better if this knowledge is relevant to them personally and appeals to their intellectual quest. 

For instance, a less-than-skilled reader is more likely to start a difficult for comprehension text if he believes that it will benefit him personally. The only way to convince your students in it, and therefore make them more motivated to learn, is to explain what you are doing thoroughly instead of simply dictating the rules. You need to show them how exactly the knowledge you are to give them will be useful to them.

#3 Make the Material You Teach Interesting and Relevant

Yet another motivational factor in the learning process is the learners’ interest. If you manage to make your students genuinely interested in the material you are teaching, you will be able to convey even the most complicated topics effortlessly and effectively. It is proven that among adult learners those who have little to no interest in the topic studied are more likely to show higher rates of absenteeism and subsequently poorer performance standards.

There are two types of interest that students have: individual or personal interest and situational interest. While the first one is associated mainly with the long-term willingness of a particular individual to re-visit the materials taught and better their own understanding of the subject, the second one is more malleable. In fact, situational interest is a psychological state that is created as a spontaneous response to a specific feature of the learning environment. This can be a result of an engaging practice that excites a student, or just an interesting fact that is regarded by them as thrilling. However, no matter what the initial reason for the situational interest is, it often has the potential to spark a more enduring interest in the subject and motivate students to learn more.

The most basic way to ensure this way of teaching is incorporated into your methodology is to sometimes step away from the textbook materials. While we cannot argue that textbooks are written by people who know their subject well, it is often that a lot of students can find reading rather repetitive and therefore boring. Moreover, it is important for them to draw a clear line of association between the theoretical material laid out in the textbook and real life. This is why it is so useful to use case studies and actualize the information you are conveying.

#4 Let Your Students Socialize

This following point goes hand in hand with the previous one as they can sometimes be treated as one. If you are working with a group of students it is important to let them have a chance to socialize with each other and have a meaningful discussion about the new materials they have just learned. For a lot of people, this can act as an additional motivational factor. It is in human nature to be adroit in different things, especially when engaging with others. We want to show that we are skilled, and are not willing to fail in front of our peers. In this way, your students will have a reason to keep studying to maintain a conversation with their fellow colleagues.

Moreover, it can also be very refreshing to introduce a change of social dynamics involving work in pairs or small groups, which would hold the attention of the students. 

#5 Implement a Competitive Aspect to the Learning Process

Some learning tasks and materials are simply not interesting by themselves e.g. memorizing tables, dates, and numbers. However, the memory of the aforementioned things can sometimes be essential to the overall quality of knowledge and are required to be processed. In order to motivate students to learn those, you can add a sense of competition and encourage students to work towards beating their personal best. Keep track of how much each of them improves each time.

#6 Go Extreme with an External Rewards System

The effect of the external reward system on the intrinsic motivation still remains the subject of a heated debate. Some people think that it limits the learners’ ability to embrace studying on the deeper levels, whereas others claim that it actually helps students to concentrate on their studies as it places value in a form of a rather tangible experience of the results of their learning.

One way or another, the system of rewards is actively practiced worldwide and if everything else fails to bring your students to learn a particularly challenging topic, you may turn to the good old ways.

An important thing to remember, though, is to explicitly explain to your students how they are graded and how they can enhance their educational grade.

Cheryl Hearts is a talented journalist from Boston, Massachusetts. From an early age, she was into writing so she decided to make it her career. Obtaining a Master’s Degree in Journalism has boosted her desire to grow as a journalist and currently she contributors to major media publications. Cheryl also runs her blog CherylHearts.com where she shares her opinion on topics trending in modern society.
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