Online learning is a massively used and effective tool for education in academia and corporations. However, attrition rates are much higher in online education than in its classroom counterpart. Students are more autonomous, more self determined, and their level and type of motivation is, implicitly, more important for their academic performance. This study tested three specific instructional design interventions that targeted at enhancing students’ situational interest (SI), perceived utility (PU), and self-efficacy (SE), respectively. We used a sample of 134 psychology students who were randomly assigned to one of the four conditions: SI, PU, SE, or control. Results showed that each of the three interventions led to a significantly higher level of its targeted motivational factor, compared to the control condition. However, only participants in the PU condition showed a significantly higher performance than those in the control condition. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
KEYWORDS: situational interest, utility, self-efficacy, online learning, instructional design