Motivation Design Principles

Motivation Design Principles

There are many different theories of student motivation, but they share some common themes. M-PLANS summarizes these common themes in five motivation design principles (MDPs) that can help teachers incorporate motivation supports more intentionally in their planning and instruction. The five motivation design principles are:


Support feelings of relatedness and belonging within the classroom community


Support students’ confidence through instruction that includes clear expectations; challenging work that is calibrated to the knowledge, skills, and abilities of students; and informational and encouraging feedback


Learning Orientation
Emphasize learning and understanding and de-emphasize grades, competition, and social comparison


Support students’ autonomy through opportunities for student decision making and direction


Provide opportunities for learning science that students find personally meaningful, interesting, and/or culturally relevant

These design principles were developed based on a synthesis of prior research and theory. For more details about this work, please see: Linnenbrink-Garcia, L., Patall, E. A., & Pekrun, R. (2016). Adaptive Motivation and Emotion in Education: Research and Principles for Instructional Design. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3(2), 228–236.