Because instructors are very concerned about how to motivate their students, this paper describes some of the most prominent and practically relevant contemporary theories of motivation, specifically expectancy value theory, goal orientation theory, and self-determination theory. After describing each theory and its basic components, suggestions are made about how to incorporate key concepts into teaching practices appropriate for postsecondary education. Where appropriate, suggestions for practice are linked to learning objectives and teaching methods that are part of the IDEA Student Ratings System (SRI). The goal is to provide sufficient basic information about research-based theories and practices that instructors can apply to facilitate student progress on the learning objectives in their classes.
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