Return to Current Projects

Motivation in Engineering

Influence of Motivation on Learning Outcomes in an Engineering Service Course

The P20 Motivation and Learning Lab is currently involved in collaborative research funded by the National Science Foundation Research Initiative Grants in Engineering Education (RIGEE). This grant seeks to establish an interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers in the fields of engineering and educational sciences.

The current project examines student motivation and achievement in large, interdisciplinary service courses which students take early in undergraduate students’ engineering degree programs. This project is in collaboration with Dr. Molly Kennedy from Clemson University. The purpose of the study is to develop measures to examine student motivation in engineering courses, to generate instructional methods that might enhance students’ perceived relevance and motivate students from a range of engineering disciplines who may not see the course material as relevant to their degree, and to determine how the planned course interventions affect students’ perceptions of value and development of self-efficacy.

The broader significance and importance of this project arises from developing ways to better retain students in engineering programs. Because students are more likely to leave engineering in the first two years when the large service learning courses are often taken, discovering how to improve how relevant these courses are perceived by students may contribute to retaining higher numbers in engineering.

Link to NSF project: