top of page

Fostering Student Motivation: Navigating Study Success and Challenges

When it comes to motivating students, arming them with the right tools is key.

Let's talk about the balance between success and difficulty in study motivation.

Success is a big motivator. As Peps McCrea explains in "Motivated Teaching," our excitement about future success really drives us. But studying doesn't always bring immediate rewards, as we learned from the EEF's Metacognition and Self-regulated Learning Guidance report. Sometimes, students have to choose between short-term fun and long-term learning, which isn't always easy.

But here's the thing: successful study often involves facing challenges. Robert and Elizabeth Bjork call these challenges "desirable difficulties." Things like retrieval practice, mixing up topics, spacing out study sessions—these all make learning harder in the short term, but they lead to better results in the long run.

So when students find studying tough, it's important to remind them that it's a sign they're doing it right. And we should also share what research tells us about effective study methods, steering students away from less helpful techniques like rereading and highlighting.

When it comes to studying, how students think about their successes and failures matters. Tools like exam wrappers can help them see what they're doing well and where they need to improve. This kind of reflection, encouraged by educators like Sam Atkins, helps students take charge of their learning.

But it's not just about celebrating success. It's also about recognizing when things didn't go as planned and learning from those moments. By helping students see the connection between their efforts and their outcomes, we're setting them up to be independent, resilient learners.

Adapted from an original article on the EEF blog by Mark Miller, Director of Bradford Research School:

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page