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Developing the ESLS - Engineering Students Learning Strategies Instrument

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Instruments and Methods for Studying Student Experiences and Outcomes

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Sreyoshi Bhaduri McGraw-Hill

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Sreyoshi Bhaduri leads Global People Analytics at McGraw Hill - where she works on projects leveraging employee data to generate data-driven insights for decisions impacting organizational Culture and Talent. Sreyoshi has an interdisciplinary expertise having earned her Ph.D. in Engineering Education from the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech and Masters degrees in Applied Statistics and Mechanical Engineering.
Her research interests include women in technology and industry, studying the impact and effectiveness of inclusion and diversity initiatives and employing innovative, ethical and inclusive mixed methods research designs to People Research.

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Michelle Soledad Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Orcid 16x16

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Michelle Soledad is the Director of Communications and International Engagement in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She holds degrees degrees in Electrical Engineering (BS, ME) from the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) in Davao City, Philippines, and in Engineering Education (PhD) from Virginia Tech. Her research interests include faculty development and data-informed reflective practice. Michelle's professional experience includes roles in industry and academia, having worked as a software engineer, project lead and manager before becoming Assistant Professor and Department Chair for Electrical Engineering at the Ateneo de Davao University.

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Holly M. Matusovich Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Dr. Holly M. Matusovich is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Education. She is current the Assistant Department Head for Undergraduate Programs and the former Assistant Department Head for Graduate Programs in Virginia Tech’s Department of Engineering Education. Dr. Matusovich is recognized for her research and practice related to graduate student mentoring. She won the Hokie Supervisor Spotlight Award in 2014, was nominated for a Graduate Advising Award in 2015, and won the 2018 Graduate Student Mentor Award for the College of Engineering. Dr. Matusovich has graduated 10 doctoral students since starting her research program in Spring 2009. Dr. Matusovich co-hosts the Dissertation Institute, a one-week workshop each summer funded by NSF, to help underrepresented students develop the skills and writing habits to complete doctorate degrees in engineering. Across all of her research avenues, Dr. Matusovich has been a PI/Co-PI on 12 funded research projects including the NSF CAREER Award with her share of funding be ingnearly $2.3 million. She has co-authored 2 book chapters, 21 journal publications and more than 70 conference papers. She has won several Virginia Tech awards including a Dean’s Award for Outstanding New Faculty, an Outstanding Teacher Award and a Faculty Fellow Award. She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University, an M.S. in Materials Science from the University of Connecticut and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University.

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Through the course of their education, engineering students adopt learning strategies which are specific to the engineering discipline. While literature talks about understanding learning strategies through instruments such as the LASSI or the MSLQ these existing instruments do not adequately capture the whole range of learning strategies employed by engineering students. In this manuscript, we describe the steps in the development of a survey instrument to measure engineering students’ learning strategies. The aim of this exploratory research study is to develop and gather validity evidence for a survey instrument that can be used to measure engineering students’ learning strategies. As elaborated earlier, such an instrument is important because it will allow educators to facilitate enhanced conceptual understanding among students in the engineering classrooms.

Primarily, through this research paper, we answer the following research questions: 1. What factors emerge from an Exploratory Factor Analysis used to develop the ESLS survey? 2. What are the validity and reliability measures of the ESLS instrument based on the pilot implementation of the survey? 3. For a pilot implementation of the survey instrument, how do students compare on learning strategy use by gender and grade expectancy?

The development of ESLS was informed by the results of a qualitative study on the learning strategies employed by engineering students in engineering science courses. Once the preliminary structure was developed, we assessed the psychometric properties of the new instrument, and the factor structure of the preliminary version. Exploratory Factor Analysis revealed a 6-dimension model focusing on: (1) Working The Problems, (2) Associations with the Real World, (3) Seeking Help to Improve Conceptual Understanding, (4) Planning, (5) Utilizing Resources, and (6) Interactions. This study suggests that the instrument developed is of high reliability and validity and can serve as a tool for instructors and educators to assess learning strategies of the students in engineering classrooms. Consequently, information on what students provided by this instrument can help with informed decision-making regarding interventions towards encouraging students to adopt better study habits.

Bhaduri, S., & Soledad, M., & Matusovich, H. M. (2020, June), Developing the ESLS - Engineering Students Learning Strategies Instrument Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34436

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