BkRev#. Where there’s a Will…Motivation and Volition in College Teaching and Learning. (2017). Michael Theall, John M. Keller (eds.) San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 116 pp. $. ISBN: 978-1-119-47623-8.

Hailey Miller
Office of Academic Support and Information Services
University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL
[email protected]

Motivation is a concept that educators at all levels can speak to. Whether teachers are trying to encourage children to learn math or professors are attempting to engage college students, motivation is a concept that has many moving parts. The Winter 2017 edition of New Directions for Teaching and Learning, “Where there’s a Will…Motivation and Volition in College Teaching and Learning” explores the research and practice of the motivation, volition, and performance (MVP) model and how it can be applied in various educational settings. The issue contains applications from neuroscience to first-year college students, to faculty evaluations.

Understanding the intricacies of motivation and volition are crucial when gauging why students are or are not performing. While the MVP model is complex, each chapter gave a unique way of using it in various environments. No one wants to reinvent the wheel and this book provides the resources advisors and other professionals need to guide student success. Organizing the book in clear chapters allows readers to pick and choose which topics they are most interested in without having to read the entire book. For professionals that have limited time or specific interests, the ability to be selective is appealing.

Karen A. Becker’s chapter titled MVP and College Success for First-Year Students would be the most beneficial chapter for academic advisors. To combat reluctant learners, the MVP model was used to help create a Reading and Study Skills program to increase student success. While this particular program was designed for first-year students, the model could assist in the creation of similar programs for upperclassmen, student-athletes, or students in pre-professional programs.

Ultimately, the introduction of the model is heavy and may require additional reading of Keller’s previous material to fully grasp the model and its background. However, the individual applications of the MVP and ARCS-V models were repeatedly easy to understand. Where there’s a Will… would be a strong book for an office that does more than academic advising. Incorporating the chapters on online and face-to-face course design and faculty engagements makes a great resource for college or department specific advising offices, as well as adjunct instructors. While it won’t be in my Top 10, it will be on my bookshelf as a recommended read to colleagues.

Posted in: 2017 Book Reviews
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