Motivation Matters

Learning is a complex process that challenges us all. Why do some learners approach the challenge with zest while others dread it and hide? We believe that much of the answer to this question is motivation. Learners’ beliefs about the learning task and about themselves as learners can play a powerful role in their goals, engagement, and success. Our work explores academic motivation and self-regulated learning from elementary school through adulthood.

“As a practitioner, I believe that deep analysis of the specific setting in which a study or intervention is taking place is a critical component.”

Context Matters

From beliefs to mindsets, motivation research often looks at characteristics within an individual to explain learning and success. What’s missing from this perspective is context. We believe that context matters — humans simply do not feel, think, or behave in vacuums. We work with educators to understand the ways in which their beliefs, emotions, and instructional practices influence student motivation, engagement, and achievement.

“Complex systems require complex solutions.”

Our Work

Broadly, our work explores motivation, context, and their interactions spanning several themes: Antecedents of Motivation, Student Perceptions and Beliefs, Mechanisms of Change, and Fostering Success of Underrepresented Minority Students. Across this work, we use multiple research methods and designs to address the complexity of understanding motivation in context.