Motivation is a complicated concept and difficult to measure and study; nevertheless, it is a substantial factor in students’ performance that demands extra attention. Instructors across all grade levels and disciplines struggle to cultivate classroom environments that focus on student interactions and promote interest where high-quality work is produced (Middleton & Perks, 2014). Educators have been searching for new strategies to improve instruction and student learning, and they keep looking for new ways to increase student motivation (Middleton & Perks, 2014). Moreover, practical knowledge in the classroom depends on the instructor’s ability to stimulate the interest and motivation that brought students to the course in the first place (Ericksen, 1978). Therefore, it is reasonable to explore and determine the contributing factors to increasing students’ motivation to learn. The primary purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine and identify the key contributing factors that helped with positively stimulating students to learn while determining factors that can significantly impact students’ motivation at the undergraduate level. In this study, the researcher answered two research questions by interviewing undergraduate students selected from various Southern California colleges and universities to determine the factors contributing to students’ motivation and perception of learning. The conclusions of this study are based on analyzing students’ responses during the interviews. The results of this study might shed light on why certain undergraduate students may not be motivated to learn in some classes. It might also help academic institutions adopt influential motivation-stimulating factors to create more possibilities for students’ learning and educational achievements.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Motivation in education; Learning—Education, Higher; Students—Education, Higher

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Shreyas Gandhi