Promoting autonomous motivation through problem-based learning with self-determined problem

Year: 2012

Author: Chua, Bee Leng, Nie, YouYan, Zhou, MingMing, Tan, Oon Seng

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Developing enjoyment and autonomous motivation in learning is very important to enhance students' commitment to quality learning. However in a competitive learning environment, adult learners are mostly extrinsically motivated with the pressure to learn rather than intrinsically motivated with the enjoyment in learning. Therefore, the current research aims to use self-determination theory and problem-based learning (PBL) model as the guiding frameworks to revise the pedagogical practices in one post-graduate course to promote autonomous motivation. Accordingly, PBL with self-determined problem model was proposed to promote students' 1) problem identifying ability, 2) problem solving ability, and 3) autonomous motivation in learning. Quasi-experimental studies were designed to examine the effects of PBL with self-determined problem compared to traditional lecture-based instruction and PBL with teacher-designed problem. The research is at its pilot stage and the initial qualitative results showed that post-graduate students were well-adapted to the PBL with self-determined problem. The authenticity and relevance of self-determined problem initiates the students' autonomous motivation to quality learning. These findings support the feasibility of using PBL with self-determined problem as an innovative pedagogical approach to enhance learning in a post-graduate course. The insights for further studies were discussed.