Generating Motivation to Learn Via Tailored Lesson Introductions

Generating Motivation to Learn Via Tailored Lesson Introductions

Jennifer R. Banas (American College of Education, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jicte.2009041001
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Motivation to learn is difficult to generate when learners are uninterested in the topic. This quasi-experimental study explored behavioral construct tailoring as an instructional message design technique to generate motivation and improve cognitive performance. Ninety-eight college students pre- and post-appraised a lesson, completed a cognitive assessment, and attributed performance to affect or competence-related factors. A risk assessment was used to strategically assign experimental learners to one of three tailored lesson introductions. Results indicated that experimental group learners, on some subscales, were more motivated. Positive trends were found for some affective and competence-related performance attributions, as well as cognitive performance. These findings warrant additional research into behavioral construct tailoring.
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Educators are regularly challenged with the task of designing instruction in a way that motivates their audience to attend, learn, adopt, and sometimes practice the information presented. The challenge exists because information alone is seldom sufficient to change attitudes and behaviors (Strecher & Kreuter, 1999). Some learners do not see a need to change their current knowledge or habits; others do not see the connection between what they learn and its application in real-world settings; and others may find the topic to be contradictory to their belief system. There are, however, message design techniques an educator can utilize to increase audience motivation to learn by stimulating interest.

The value in stimulating interest is that interest plays an important role in learning (Hidi, 1990; Hidi & Anderson, 1992; Krapp, Hidi, & Renninger, 1992). An audience who is interested in what they are learning, generally reportsthey gave effort to the learning task; and they tend to attribute their performance of the task to their own competence (Boekaerts, 2002). The significance of a learner reporting a favorable attitude towards a task is that they will be more inclined to perform a similar task again (Bandura, 1977, 1986, 1998; Weiner, 1986). The problem, then, becomes identifying a strategy to stimulate audience interest, and consequently, generates motivation to learn. Tailoring affords this opportunity.

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