According to Barkley (2010) motivation is “the feeling of interest or enthusiasm that makes somebody want to do something”.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs tells us that an individual will not be motivated to strive for higher level goals such as education, until lower level needs have been met (Maslow, 1970)


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

The following nine strategies can move the student from a reluctant learner to an engaged learner that is intrinsically motivated:

  1. Encourage students to draw on past experiences and facilitate a dialogue of discussion with regular active participation.
  2. Encourage students to share their own learning expectations and goals related to the course content
  3. Provide announcements and emails with information about the resources available for struggling students (i.e., mentorships, coaching, or counseling services).
  4. Provide real life applications through simulations, case studies, and role playing activities.
  5. Provide visual aids or even field trips that enhance the students learning and application of learning outcomes.
  6. Invite guest speakers that are experts in the field. Experts can pique students’ interests and highlight relevance of the learning concepts being taught.
  7. Talk with students about how the class assignments are relevant to future careers.
  8. Teach students to reflect and take control over their own learning by using weekly reflections (anonymously, if you like) to solicit feedback about their own performance and where they need to improve.
  9. Empower students by teaching them where to find materials and how to use resources in an online college platform that will help them in areas where improvement is needed.

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As an educator by applying the nine strategies for a reluctant learner will help motivate the learners. By creating  a positive respectful environment where I get to know the learner will help with motivating the learner. Finding out why the learner is learning will help the educator understand the motives of be a learner. Also, discovering what the learners passion  will help educators understand more about the learner therefore strategize instructional methods to motivate the learner. Using various exciting instructional methods will keep the learner motivated too.


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