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Motivating Students To Learn More: A Case Study In Architectural Education

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Instructional Strategies in AE Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.888.1 - 15.888.8



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Paper Authors


Joseph Betz State University of New York

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Joseph A. Betz is an architect and Professor in the Department of Architecture & Construction
Management at the State University of New York College of Technology at Farmingdale. He
received his undergraduate and professional degrees in architecture from the Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute and his post-professional degree in architecture from Columbia University.
A recipient of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, he has served as both
national Program Chair and Division Chair of the Architectural Engineering Division of the
American Society for Engineering Education.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Motivating Students to Learn More: a case study in Architectural Education

Abstract Motivational techniques have been successfully used in the workplace to increase worker productivity for many decades. These same techniques can also be used in the classroom to increase learning. This study applies a workplace motivational technique called the Expectancy Theory of Motivation by Victor Vroom to a group of undergraduate architectural engineering technology students. It measures the relative difference in learning between two groups of students: one, an experimental group where the motivational technique is applied, and the other, a control group where it is not. The experiment uses a standard set of readings that are given to both groups of students followed by a multiple choice test. Faculty teaching of the material was not a factor in the experiment, only the motivational technique used by the faculty in the experimental group was. Both study groups are benchmarked prior to performing the experiment. Two different methods of analysis are used: one, descriptive statistics and two, a non-parametric rank sum probability test to show chance was not a factor in this small sample size. A survey was used to collect student attitudes and perceptions on motivating factors. The implication of these findings will be to provide faculty with motivational tools to increase student learning.

Introduction If we could only motivate our students, maybe they would learn more and perform better. This is a common theme expressed by faculty. We feel this way because we are partly responsible for creating successful learning environments. Motivation plays an important part in our performance and it must be so with students also. A question we may ask ourselves is, “Can we incorporate motivational techniques in our teaching to increase student performance?” If so, how much of a factor is it? What aspects of these motivational techniques work the best and seem to make a difference to students?

We like to think that architectural and engineering students differ from general studies or liberal arts majors in that they have a more narrow focus for their career goals and associated learning objectives. When we were students, we typically focused more on courses in the major because we knew that it would someday lead to a job, and so on. Assuming our instructors created a warm and inviting learning environment, how much more could they have done to motivate us in the discipline?

This paper takes Victory Vroom’s Expectancy Theory1 on motivation and applies it to a group of undergraduate architectural engineering technology (AET) students to see what factors motivate them to learn more and perform better today. This paper is not meant to be an in-depth scientific study in student motivation or behavioral psychology and gives only a cursory outline of Vroom’s Expectancy Theory. This paper is testing if it is possible for faculty to motivate students in architectural engineering programs beyond a student’s internal self motivation to learn more or perform better using the theory as a conceptual framework. Can an instructor take ten or fifteen minutes out of class time and try to motivate students to increase performance? Does it have an influence on student attitudes? Is it worth valuable classroom time to incorporate motivational techniques at all and what works?

Betz, J. (2010, June), Motivating Students To Learn More: A Case Study In Architectural Education Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16060

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