Motivating students to learn is possibly one of the most pondered and discussed areas among
people involved in the education and training of others.
How to get students interested and
involved in the learning process has long been one of the greatest challenges for instructors.
Motivation involves the activation, direction, and persistence of a specified behavior. While
students are responsible for their own learning, you can greatly enhance their desire to learn by
creatively using motivational techniques. In the educational sense, motivation is the process of
prompting a person to learn. The majority of your students will respond to general methods
of motivation. However, to provide appropriate incentives for individual students to learn, you
must learn to recognize their needs, incentives, and drives.
Generally, all behavior is motivated.
The goal of instruction is to motivate students to
achieve course objectives.
Instructors sometime mistakenly believe that a student who is not
participating in classroom activities or finishing homework assignments is not motivated.
Strictly speaking, the student is not motivated to behave in the manner desired by the instructor.
This chapter provides background information on the principles of motivation and offers some
practical techniques for instructors to use in the motivation of their students.
Before looking at the principles of motivation, look at the motivation theory developed by
Abraham H. Maslow. Simply stated, Maslows theory proposes that individuals will seek to
gratify higher order (growth) needs only when all lower order (deficiency) needs have been
relatively well satisfied. Based on Maslows theory, people are driven to satisfy unfulfilled needs
in a specific order. Maslow refers to the order in which they fulfill those needs as a hierarchy
Maslows hierarchy (fig. 3-1) contains a lower level of needs, known as deficiency needs, and
a higher level, known as growth needs.
Deficiency needs include physiological, safety,
belongingness and love, and esteem needs. Growth needs include the self-actualization, desire
for knowledge and understanding, and aesthetic needs.
The implications of this particular theory to the training environment are intriguing. As the
instructor, you control what takes place in the classroom or laboratory. That means you play
an important role in gratifying the needs of your students. Students are more likely to try to
satisfy their desire to know and understand once their physical and psychological needs have
They need to feel
psychologically); have self-esteem;
safe, relaxed, and comfortable (both physically and
and have a sense of belonging.