ENHANCING STUDENT LEARNING IN PHYSICS BY MOTIVATING THEM
Motivation is an “internal state that activates, guides, and maintains behavior” (Green, 2002, p. 989). Since motivation is recognized as a factor affecting conceptual change, classroom strategies can be used to optimize student motivation (Palmer, 2005). Keller (1987a) developed a model called ARCS (Attention, Relevance, Confidence, Satisfaction) based on the expectation-value theory to stimulate the motivation to learn. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the effects of ARCS motivation model on students’ learning in physics.
Quasi-experimental design by using quantitative research methods was carried out for this study. Participants of the study were 59 10th grade students studying in a public high school. There were 31 students in the experimental group. The research was conducted during six-week instruction of electricity. 5E Instructional Model was implemented in the control and experimental groups. The teacher of both groups was the same. The only difference between the groups was embedding of the ARCS model in to the experimental group’s instruction.
Electricity Concept Inventory (ECI) developed by the researchers was used to measure the participants’ learning of the concepts of current, potential difference, resistance, and electric circuits before and after the implementation. Pilot study of the inventory was done with 111 11th grade students. After ensuring construct validity and content validity, the final inventory contained 24 multiple-choice questions. Internal consistency computed by the Kuder Richardson formula 20 was high, with reliability coefficients of 0.73. The mean of item difficulty was 0.41. The students were required to give their reasons for their choices of each question.
Data were normally distributed and analyzed by performing t-tests in 95% confidence interval. The results of independent samples t tests showed that there was no statistically significant difference between the control group’s knowledge (X ̅=3.4) and the experimental group’s knowledge (X ̅=2.8) before the instruction (p>0.05). However, statistically significant difference was found between the control group’s knowledge (X ̅=7.0) and the experimental group’s knowledge (X ̅=8.9) after the instruction (p<0.05). Likewise, both groups showed significantly higher performance in the ECI in the post-tests than they showed in the pre-tests (p=0.00). However, the increase in the experimental group was higher than the increase in the control group. The results of this study are in agreement with the findings of the studies done by Feng and Tuan, (2005) and Means, Jonassen and Dwyer (1997).
ARCS model includes attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction. It can be concluded from the results that ARCS motivation model affects students’ learning in physics positively and improves it. The integration of the ARCS model into instructional design by capturing and holding students’ attention, offering instructional content relevant to students’ personal experiences, giving students confidence to master their learning tasks, and then letting them obtain satisfaction (Liao & Wang, 2008) facilitates learning.
 Green, S. K. (2002). Using an expectancy-value approach to examine teachers’ motivational strategies. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18, 989–1005.