Education, Science, Technology, Innovation and Life
Open Access
Sign In

Action Research on Impact of Project-based Learning on Intrinsic Motivation of Private College Students Learning English in China

Download as PDF

DOI: 10.23977/aetp.2021.53019 | Downloads: 55 | Views: 1199


Ying Zhang 1


1 Changchun Humanities and Sciences College, Changchun, Jilin, 130117, China

Corresponding Author

Ying Zhang


The study investigates the effect of project-based learning on the intrinsic motivation of private college students learning English in China. Motivation is instrumental to students’ learning process, private college students in China are less academically motivated than their counterparts in public institutions. Project-based learning is an effective instructional technique that empowers students to be the center of learning. In this action research, 21 students learning English in a private Chinese college were administered with the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory to examine the difference of their intrinsic motivation level before and after a project. The result of the study shows significant difference existing in interest, autonomy, competence and pressure students perceived before and after the project, which supports project-based learning has a positive impact on students’ intrinsic motivation for learning. Based on this result, it is highly suggested that more considerations should be given to incorporate PBL in course design to enhance intrinsic motivation of private college students in China.


Project-based learning, Intrinsic motivation, Action research, Private college students in China


Ying Zhang. Action Research on Impact of Project-based Learning on Intrinsic Motivation of Private College Students Learning English in China. Advances in Educational Technology and Psychology (2021) 5: 133-140. DOI:


[1] B.K. Hofer, “Motivation in the college classroom,” in McKeachie’s teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers, 12th ed., W. J. McKeachie and M. Svinicki, Eds., Boston: Houghton Mifflin, pp.140-150, 2006.
[2] D.K. Meyer, J.C. Turner, and C.A. Spencer, “Challenge in a mathematics classroom: Students’ motivation and strategies in project-based learning,” The Elementary School Journal, vol. 97, no.5, pp.501-521, 1997. 
[3] Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R.M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum.  
[4] Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R.M. (1991). A motivational approach to self: Integration in personality. In R. Dienstbier (Ed). Nebraska Symposium on motivation: Perspectives on motivation (Vol. 38, pp.237-288). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 
[5] Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R.M. (2002). Handbook of self-determination research. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press. 
[6] Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Buchner, A., & Lang, A.-G. (2013). G*Power Version [computer software]. Uiversität Kiel, Germany. Retrieved from
[7] Guo, P., Saab, N., Post, L.S., Admiraal, W., 2020. A review of project-based learning in higher education: Student outcomes and measures. International Journal of Educational Research 102, 101586. doi:10.1016/j.ijer.2020.101586
[8] Intellectus Statistics [Online computer software]. (2021). Intellectus Statistics.
[9] Krajcik, J.S., & Shin, N. (2014). Project-based learning. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed). The Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (pp.275-297). (2nd ed.). https://doi. org/10.1017/CBO9781139519526.018. 
[10] M. Bradford, “Motivating students through project-based service learning,” T.H.E. Journal, vol. 32, no.6, p.29,2005. 
[11] McKernan, J. (1996). Curriculum action research. London: Kogan Page.
[12] Moss, D., & Van Duzer, C. (1998). Project-based Learning for Adult English Language Learners. Washington, DC: National Center for ESL Literacy Education. Retrieved 2006, December 22, from HTTP:// /digests/ ProjBase.html 
[13] Pintrich, P.R., & Schunk, D.H. (2002). Motivation in education: Theory, research, and applications (2nd ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall. 
[14] Razali, N. M., & Wah, Y. B. (2011). Power comparisons of Shapiro-Wilk, Kolmogorov-Smirnov, Lilliefors and Anderson-Darling tests. Journal of Statistical Modeling and Analytics, 2(1), 21-33.
[15] Statistical Report on China’s Education in 2019. Website of Ministry of Education of China (2021). Retrieved 6 April 2021, from 456751. html
[16] The Law of Promoting Private Higher Education in China (2020). Retrieved 6 April 2021, from

All published work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright © 2016 - 2031 Clausius Scientific Press Inc. All Rights Reserved.