In this article, the authors discuss the relationships between the perceived value of instructional techniques, including technology enhancements like course material websites (lecture notes, review sheets, grades, sample tests), and the student motivation and learning.
The authors propose that instructional techniques do not impact all students equally. Research prior to this paper has been on the relative effectiveness of different instructional techniques. This assumes that these techniques are perceived equally by all students.
All 172 subjects, students in this case who were enrolled in psychology or business classes. Most had easy access to a computer. The subjects were questioned on their perception of different instructional techniques. All the courses had an online presence including lecture notes, review sheets, grades, sample tests, and links to articles). They stated the perceived value of course websites, active learning, and traditional lectures. The subjects were asked to fill an Academic Motivations Inventory (AMI) that consists of 90 items and includes 16 dimensions of academic motivation.
About 93% of the students reported that they find the course websites useful. The interesting part was that when the 16 dimensions of the AMI and the three instructional strategies (website usage, active learning, and traditional lecture) were correlated, some statistically significant correlations emerged. In layman’s terms, “one size does NOT fit all.”
The authors state that “The results of our study clearly suggest that various teaching techniques are significantly associated with distinct aspects of students’ academic motivation.” Three profiles of academic motivation emerged, they were engagement, avoidance, and achievement motivation, each associated with unique learning preferences.
From a teaching perspective, engaged students are ideal for learning. These students desire self-improvement and will respond to the widest spectrum of teaching techniques. Avoidant students worry about their performance and grades and are more likely to dislike school and experience stress. They present a challenge to the teacher. Achievement motivated students placed a high value on traditional lectures as well as course websites and online learning.
It is surprising that the questions that the authors, Meera Komarraju and Steven J. Karau, raise here have not been asked before. From my own experience in the field of education (both as a student and as a teacher), I find that not all students react the same way to a presentation, whether in class on online. I am glad that they addressed this point in this paper. My observation is that further study is needed, and with much more refined statistics. The authors acknowledge that there were some internal inconsistencies. It will be interesting to hear the experiences of teacher-librarians and other information professionals working in these situations.