Table of Contents
The learning process of students has been shown in two research studies to be influenced by motivation. On the one hand, when there is motivation through perceived competence, challenge, interest, and curiosity, the students are encouraged to learn. On the other hand, when there is inspirational motivation, teachers are encouraged to teach students. As such, motivation is extremely important in learning for students.
Keywords: learning, motivation, students, teachers.
Qualitative Article Review
Background of the Study
Shroff, Vogel & Coombes (2008) conducted a research study to find out whether technology-supported learning environments or traditional classroom environments enhance student intrinsic motivation. Six types of individual factors that were examined include perceived challenge, feedback, perceived interest, perceived competence, perceived curiosity, and perceived choice. This study revealed that there is no universal model or influential factors for all situations that support students’ fundamental motivation in technology-supported environments. The study attempted to assess the individual factors that support students’ fundamental motivation in online discussions.
The researchers used a case study approach to assess the individual factors that support students’ fundamental motivation in online discussions. The method of using a case study was employed because it provides a deeper analysis that goes beyond quantitative methodologies, such as statistics focusing on numbers (Wijna, Loyens & Derous, 2011). It penetrates deeper into the dynamic issues that are concerned with the interaction processes in the online discussions of students in the classroom. As such, the researchers used the case study approach to assess the individual factors that support students’ fundamental motivation in online discussions.
To assess the individual factors, the researchers drew from a population of seven students from the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) taking the Management of Information Systems (MIS) course. These students took part in a series of interviewees. The MIS course was selected based on three criteria. First, the course provides an opportunity for students to apply technology support to the online classroom environment. Second, the activities of learning in discussions were specifically structured to fit the design of the course. Lastly, the online discussions were used for the aim of understanding the type of individual-level factors that support students’ fundamental motivation in online discussions.
Five questions that were asked to students that assess the individual-level factors that support their fundamental motivation in online discussions are as follow. First, individual perceived competence questions were asked, such as how online discussions promote the ability of an individual to communicate information effectively. Second, individual perceived challenge questions were asked, such as how online discussions raise the level of difficulties. Third, questions relating to feedback were asked, such as how online discussions promote and provide positive feedback between students. Fourth, individual perceived choice questions were asked, such as how online discussions provide students with choices. Finally, individual perceived curiosity questions were asked, such as how online discussions promote the ability to study, investigate, and analyze. A questionnaire was used to collect the response from the respondents.
The findings showed positive results that individual-level factors support students’ fundamental motivation in online discussions. For example, the first factor, perceived competence, showed that individual competence was higher in online discussions than face-to-face discussion. The second factor, perceived challenge, showed that individual challenge was higher in online discussions than face-to-face. The third factor, feedback, showed that online discussion led to a higher positive feedback than face-to-face ones. The fourth factor, perceived choice, showed that individual preference was higher in online discussions than face-to-face.
Critique of the Study
I have confidence in the researchers’ findings. There are several reasons for this. The first reason is the use of a clear question that the researchers wanted to answer: to assess the individual factors that support students’ fundamental motivation in online discussions. The second reason is the use of questions that cover all possible angles. For example, instead of asking only questions related to perceived competence, the researchers have posed other questions related to perceived challenge, perceived curiosity, perceived choice, and feedback. These questions ensure that the researchers get findings that reveal a deeper meaning.
However, there are issues in the research that need to be addressed to make the findings more compelling and believable. The research needs to increase the sample population of the study from seven to about twenty students. The reason for this is that the margin of error is high with seven students as compared to twenty students. For example, there is a possibility of all the seven students responding that individual-level factors support students’ fundamental motivation in online discussions. Nonetheless, it may not be true if the sample population contained twenty students. The research also needs to give an explanation of the response of teachers, especially, their observation during the online discussions. This will validate the findings of the study.
In the big picture, the study means that the use of technology to conduct online discussions can be used to help students learn more than in the classroom. This study applies to the research topic in different ways. First, it shows that through the use of technology, students can be taught via online discussions without the need for a classroom. Second, it shows that different strategies of learning, such as the use of the individual factors can support students’ fundamental motivation in online discussions. Due to this, the students get to learn strategies that promote better memory storage and retrieval for later use.
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Quantitative Article Review
Background of the Study
Ibrahim et al (2014) conducted a research study on the impact of transformational leadership. The aim of the study was to investigate the impact of transformational leadership in terms of stimulation, motivation, and personalized consideration on the commitment of teachers towards the learning of students and teaching as a profession. This study revealed two things: a moderate level of commitment from the teachers and a low level of the qualities of transformational leadership among the respondents. However, it revealed that stimulation, motivation, and personalized consideration were factors that contributed towards the commitment of teachers to the teaching profession.
The researchers used a quantitative survey method to investigate the impact of transformational leadership. This method was employed because it goes beyond thoughts and perceptions, focusing on quantitative information, such as the number of people (Mertens, 2009; Marlow, 2010). The target population consisted of 1,014 trained graduate and non-graduate teachers from Sarawak, Malaysia, working in twenty seven secondary schools. This population was chosen because of a number of reasons. The first reason was diversity. For example, while some teachers were trained graduates, others were trained non-graduates. The second reason was adequate representation. For instance, the large population was chosen to ensure that a huge number of survey questionnaires were returned by the respondents.
The survey questionnaire was used to collect quantitative information that focused on three areas that include attitudinal, personal, and behavioral questions. The first question addressed the extent of the transformational leadership practice of the principals in the secondary schools. The second question addressed the extent of the commitment of teachers towards student learning and the teaching profession in the secondary schools. The third question addressed the extents of the relationship between the commitment of teachers and transformational leadership in the secondary schools.
The findings showed overall positive results. In the first question, the results showed that the teachers perceived a general low level of transformational leadership quality from their principals at 30.09%. However, the teachers expressed idealized influence as a quality that they liked from their principals at 41.88%. Intellectual stimulation saw the lowest level at 21.83%, indicating that the teachers perceived it to be the least favorable quality that they liked from their principals.
In the second question, the results showed that the level of commitment of teachers towards their secondary schools was 55.84%, and thereby, showed that teachers were willing to obligate themselves. The second highest, which was 56.13%, was the commitment of teachers towards the teaching profession. This showed that they were moderately committed towards their profession. However, the commitment towards student learning, which recorded the least results, was 17.43%. This showed that the teachers were least committed to the learning of students.
In the third question, the results showed that there was a correlation between the commitment of teachers and transformational leadership, (r = 0.443). In addition, the results also showed that there was a partial linear correlation between components of commitment of teachers and components of transformational leadership. For example, individualized consideration had a linear correlation (r = 0.516), while inspirational motivation had (r = 0.463). Intellectual stimulation had the weakest linear correlation of the commitment of teachers towards the teaching profession (r = 0.335).
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Critique of the Study
I have less confidence in the researchers’ findings. The less confidence materializes because the results, which comprise of statistical data, do not show thoughts and perceptions of the teachers. For example, a result that shows the perception of the teachers on the quality level of transformational leadership of their principals may present a percentage (30.09%) that portrays the principals as lacking transformational leadership. However, this may be true for certain areas of leadership and not all of them. Therefore, the results may be misleading.
While the researchers need to be commended for using a huge sample population of teachers in the study, they need to look at some issues that may make the findings more accurate. They need to include students in the research. Currently, the results focus on teachers and the principals and not students. The contributions of students may be vital because they may reveal how they respond to teaching. The response to teaching may provide some reasons why teachers are committed to the learning of students.
The implication of this study is that stimulation, motivation, and personalized consideration on the commitment of teachers towards the learning of students and teaching as a profession is important in persuading the teachers. This study applies to the research topic in a number of ways. First, it shows that inspirational motivation from the schools’ principals is essential in making teachers commit to the training of students. Second, it shows that intellectual stimulation through different means makes teachers committed to their work. As a result, the teachers can use inspirational motivation and intellectual stimulation as a strategy to promote better memory storage and retrieval for later use.
- Ibrahim, M., Ghavifekr, S., Ling, S., Siraj, S., & Azeez, M. (2013). Can transformational leadership influence on teachers’ commitment towards organization, teaching profession, and students learning? A quantitative analysis. Asia Pacific Education Review, 15(2), 177-190.
- Marlow, C. (2010). Research methods for generalist social work. Boston: Cengage Learning.
- Mertens, D. (2009). Research and evaluation in education and psychology: Integrating diversity with quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
- Shroff, R.,Vogel, D., & Coombes, J. (2008). Assessing individual-level factors supporting student intrinsic motivation in online discussions: a qualitative study. Journal of Information Systems Education, 19(1), 111 – 126.
- Wijnia, L., Loyens, S., & Derous, E. (2011). Investigating effects of problem-based versus lecture-based learning environments on student motivation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 36(2), 101-113.