Evaluating the Impact of Teaching Methods on Student Motivation

  • Elizabeth A. Cudney Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Julie M. Ezzell John Deere
Keywords: Quality, Six Sigma, Engineering Education, Chi-Square Test, Student Motivation, Learner Preferences


Educational institutions are consistently looking for ways to prepare students for the competitive workforce. The challenge to do more with less is carried over from industry into the classroom. Various methods have been utilized to interpret human differences, such as learning preferences and motivation, to make the curriculum more valuable. The objective of this research was to determine the impact of new teaching methods on students’ comprehension and knowledge retention within an undergraduate course. New technology and techniques tailored to the student’s individual learning preferences were introduced into the curriculum. The study surveyed students at the beginning and end of a semester to determine the impact on the student’s experience. The survey assessed if implementing tools that catered to the student’s specific learning preference would have an impact on his/her motivation. An analysis was performed using Chi-Square test to examine how the student’s education experience improved through the application of the new curriculum tools. The results showed the tools had a positive impact on the student’s learning experience. The analysis also suggests that students experienced a change in motivation throughout the semester. This shows that in some aspects more investigation is required in order to identify causes for the motivational shifts.

Author Biographies

Elizabeth A. Cudney, Missouri University of Science and Technology
Dr. Elizabeth Cudney is an Associate Professor in the Engineering Management and Systems Engineering Department at Missouri University of Science and Technology. She received her B.S. in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University, Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering and Master of Business Administration from the University of Hartford, and her doctorate in Engineering Management from the University of Missouri – Rolla. In 2014, Dr. Cudney was elected as an ASEM Fellow. In 2013, Dr. Cudney was elected as an ASQ Fellow. In 2010, Dr. Cudney was inducted into the International Academy for Quality. She received the 2008 ASQ A.V. Feigenbaum Medal and the 2006 SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineering Award. She has published five books and over 50 journal papers. She is an ASQ Certified Quality Engineer, Manager of Quality/Operational Excellence, and Certified Six Sigma Black Belt. She is a member of the ASEE, ASEM, ASQ, IIE, and the Japan Quality Engineering Society (JQES).
Julie M. Ezzell, John Deere
Julie Ezzell is an Engineer working within the Enterprise Strategic Quality group at John Deere. She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, M.S. in Engineering Management, and a certificate in Project Management from Missouri University of Science and Technology. Her main research interests include utilizing quality tools to make improvements to the education system, evaluating student learning preferences, and inspiring self-directed learning. She maintains membership in the Engineering Honor Society, Tau Beta Pi, and Society of Women Engineers (SWE).