PhD Defense Lucas Jeno – Motivation as a prerequisite for learning

Friday, February 16, 2018 is a big day for bioCEED, and especially for Lucas Jeno who will defend his PhD degree at the University of Bergen with the dissertation: “The antecedents and consequences of students’ autonomous motivation. The relation between need-support, motivation, and academic achievement». We congratulate Lucas with an excellent thesis, and wish him good luck with the defense.

The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences has appointed the following Evaluation Committee to evaluate the thesis:

  • Director, Chantal Levesque-Bristol, Purdue University
  • Professor, Anders Malthe-Sørensen, University of Oslo
  • Associate professor, Anne Bjune, Department of Biological Sciences, UiB (chair of the committee).

This is how Lucas has summarized his work for the press release:
Teachers and learning activities that provide students with choices and opportunities, optimal challenges, and an experience of being taken care of, increase the students’ motivation, learning, and desire to continue their studies. In three studies of students in higher education, Jeno found that students who experience learning activities and teachers who support, rather than hinder, their intrinsic motivation, learnt more and had a stronger sense of well-being.

The first study was a national survey of biology students that mapping their experience of motivational support, motivation, life goals, and dropout early in the semester. These data were connected with students’ grades at the end of the semester. The results showed that students who experienced support from teachers and fellow students had intrinsic goals, experienced more mastery and self-determined motivation, which in turn led to better grades and the desire to continue the studies. Students who were more driven by extrinsic goals and extrinsic motivation thought more about dropping out and had lower grades.

The second study was an experiment that compared motivation and learning among students who used a mobile application, with students who used a traditional textbook (a reference book) as a means of identifying plants and animals. The students using the mobile application had higher motivation, felt more mastery, and learned more, compared to students using the textbook.


The third study compared traditional lectures with more student-active group-based teaching where students collaborate and discuss the material in class, rather than listen to a teacher. The results showed that student-active teaching led to higher motivation, mastery, engagement, and learning for the students.

Traditionally, higher education has used teaching methods that passivize students, rather than activating them. This despite the fact that research shows that active learning leads to more motivation, well-being and learning. This thesis contribute new knowledge on how teaching methods and technological tools should be designed to create optimal motivation and learning for students. Higher education institutions are recommended to develop and use methods that support students’ intrinsic motivation in work against dropout, assessment, and learning.

Lucas’ main supervisor is Professor Arild Raaheim, and the co-supervisors are Professor Vigdis Vandvik and Professor Anne Grete Danielsen.

On 16th Feb, Lucas will first hold his lecture on a given topic and then there will a public defense fo the PhD dissertation:

Venue: Large Auditorium, HIB (Thormøhlensgate 55)


Announcement of office as student representative on bioCEED – Centre for Excellence in Biology Education

bioCEED is seeking a new student representative from UiB.

bioCEED is a Centre of Excellence in Education (SFU) in the field of biology and is a collaboration between Department of Biology at University of Bergen, Arctic Biology at the University Centre at Svalbard (UNIS), the Higher Education Research Unit at University of Bergen and the Institute of Marine Research. bioCEED is funded by NOKUT and the partner institutions.  The overarching aim of the SFU arrangement is to contribute to the development of excellent quality in higher education.

bioCEED will work to develop innovative and excellent teaching in biology. Key points in the bioCEED plans are:

  • Give students knowledge and experience through linking theoretical knowledge to practical skills and tasks with societal relevance. E.g. by offering internship in research, management and industry.
  • Activate and engage students and teachers in the learning process, and develop new learning and assessment methods
  • Document, do research on, and spread knowledge of biology teaching and learning

UiB has two student representatives that cooperate with two student representatives at UNIS. The student representatives represent the students in bioCEEDs Steering Group and Board. Representatives are appointed for one year (with option for longer appointment).

Who is eligible to apply?

– You are a student at BIO or MBI
– You are engaged in education and the development of teaching and learning
– You are active in the student community and have a good network of contacts among students
– Experience in student organizations, boards, councils or working groups is an advantage
– Experience as a teaching assistant or similar is an advantage


– Represent the students bioCEEDs Steering group (and Board if applicable), and bioCEED activities
– Be a contact point between bioCEED and students
– Contribute to bioCEED activities and outreach
– Lead the student driven project biORAKEL, and contribute to other bioCEED projects

Application: Write a short text about yourself and your education and experience. Why do you want to be a student representative in bioCEED, and what will be your contribution?  Deadline : 1st December 2017. Send application by e-mail to: marked Application student representative bioCEED.

More information: Centre leader Vigdis Vandvik, current BIO student representatives Ragnhild Gya and Mari Vold Bjordal or coordinator Oddfrid Førland.