Two Ways to Increase Student Interest for Mathematics and Science in Education

Prosjektperiode: 01/01/2012 - 31/08/2015

Institusjon: Institutt for samfunnspsykologi, Universitetet i Bergen

Prosjektleder: Rolf Reber

Program: Norsk utd.forskn.2009-2018


Lack of motivation in middle school has been identified as one of the most urgent problems in the Norwegian educational system. The basic idea of the proposed project consists in developing and testing interventions that make mathematics and science instr uction more interesting and thus motivates students to learn. In collaboration with Judith Harackiewicz (University of Wisconsin--Madison), we examine two recently developed teaching methods to increase interest: Example choice (developed by us) and relev ance intervention (developed by Harackiewicz), in two subprojects. Example choice makes learning of formal principles interesting by providing students with different contents they can choose from and then connecting these contents to the principle to be learned. Relevance intervention makes learning of principles interesting by relating them to goals related to and relevant for students' everyday life. Subproject 1: Examining the effects of combination of example choice and relevance intervention on int erest and learning. This subproject includes three studies: (1) Combined effects of example choice and active relevance intervention. (2) Combined effects of example choice and passive relevance intervention. (3) Implementation of relevance intervention a t school. Subproject 2: Examining the effects of personalization in connection to example choice or relevance intervention. This subproject includes three studies: (1) Effects of personalization on interest and learning and comparison to example choice. (2) Development and study of personalized relevance intervention. (3) Implementation of example choice and personalization at school. The significance of the projects lies in exploring new methods of making contents interesting by connecting what student s have to learn with the contents and goals they are interested in. The project may pave the way to completely new approaches to increase motivation at Norwegian schools and thus helps solve a major problem.