Skip to main content

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is usually characterized by genuine interest or fascination in the subject while extrinsic motivation is influenced by the expectation of reward or fear of punishment. 

How can faculty motivate students?

  • Model enthusiasm for the subject
    • Deliver presentations in an engaging way
    • Tell students what makes the topic interesting to you
    • Use humor where appropriate
  • Make it real
    • Use real-life examples or case studies
    • Connect subject matter to future career potential
    • Ask students to reflect on prior experiences
  • Use active learning techniques
    • Provide frequent formative assessments
    • Assess understanding of material throughout the lecture (also see Polling)
    • Allow for self-guided learning and exploration
    • Provide experiential opportunities whenever possible (also see Kolb's Experiential Model)
  • Create a safe place for sharing and collaboration
    • Encourage free expression of ideas
    • Facilitate engaging discussions and debates
    • Provide guidelines for proper behavior and communication
  • Understand diversity (also see Universal Design for Learning (UDL))
    • Teach to multiple learning styles
    • Make all materials accessible to students with disabilities
    • Integrate course content that includes the contributions and perspectives of both genders and different cultural, ethnic and racial groups, especially those that may be represented in the class.


Retrieved from Strategies for Increasing Student Motivation. (PDF ON D7)