About Us

MERL is...

one of the eleven centres of research excellence in the National Institute of Education of Singapore. Our consultants are Professors Edward Deci and Richard Ryan, the creators of Self-Determination Theory and founders of the Rochester Human Motivation Laboratory. Research at MERL focuses primarily on motivational issues in education and sports, guided primarily by the Self-Determination Theory and other major motivational theories such as the Achievement Goal Theory.

Our international advisory panel, international facultylocal faculty, as well as graduate students have been growing steadily since the establishment of the laboratory. We now have a total of 13 renowned professors in our international advisory panel, and a total of 7 international faculty members.

We are led by Professor John Wang and Associate Professor Liu Woon Chia, and is advised by Professor Tan Oon Seng. There are also several other core faculty members and full-time research staff in MERL.

Our purpose...

is primarily to translate research findings on motivation into practical guides for teachers and practitioners in Singapore for application in schools. We also regularly organise conferences and seminars as a platform for knowledge sharing on the latest research in various fields related to motivation.

Join us!

We warmly welcome collaboration with faculty and researchers from other institutions. If you are interested in motivational research and are seeking to further your studies, do look through our faculty profiles for the research directions taken at MERL and feel free to contact any of us for further information and suggestions. For information about graduate degrees offered at the National Institute of Education, please click here.

Motivation is the driving force behind behaviour and it permeates every aspect of our lives in various domains: academia, sport, work, and relationships. The ubiquity of motivation engenders the importance of its nurturance in children and students from a young age by parents and educators alike.

The Motivation in Educational Research Laboratory MERL was set up in 2009 to address gaps in our understanding of motivation in the Asian literature. True to this mission, motivational research at our laboratory has grown considerably in the past 5 years, complemented by pedagogical research from other departments at the National Institute of Education (NIE). A compendium of our research is currently being worked on, to be published in a book, with contributing chapters by renowned international researchers on motivation.

On top of contributing to the motivational literature as a whole, MERL also aims to translate motivational research findings to practice. Researchers at MERL work closely with teachers in Singapore schools to impart methods of developing self-directed learners in physical education and in the classroom, informed by research findings. MERL's research has supported NIE's vision to be a reputable institute of distinction excelling in teacher education.

In 2013, motivation was identified as one of the key area of research by the Ministry of Education, Singapore. MERL will continue to be a resource-centre for teachers to learn about promoting students' intrinsic motivations to learn and excel, as well as to develop their own drives to inspire and lead. We look forward to your support of MERL and welcome you to our institute.

Professor Tan Oon Seng
Director, Singapore Centre for Citizenship and Character Education, NIE
Advisor, MERL