June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Educational Research and Methods
22.1334.1 - 22.1334.17
Student Self-Directed Learning Outcomes for Different Learning EnvironmentsCalls for educational reform emphasize the need for student-centered learning approaches thatfoster a capacity for lifelong learning. Lifelong learners exhibit self-regulated behaviors consistentwith those of self-directed learners (SDL). Such learners are characterized as curious, motivated,reflective, analytical, persistent, flexible, and independent. Engineering educators and ABETrecognize that students’ development of SDL aptitudes is vital for their success in today’sengineering environment, and that instructors play a critical role in influencing outcomes related toSDL-development through their course design. Yet there is a critical lack of research examininghow instructor choices promote SDL development in undergraduate engineering students.We are conducting a large study investigating how instructor choices affect a range of studentoutcomes related to their development as self-directed learners. This study examines a variety ofundergraduate engineering courses at four different institutions throughout the U.S. with fourdifferent instructors employing a range of active learning pedagogies. The theoretical frameworkfor our study employs Pintrich’s model for assessing self-regulation, which has within it four areasof self-regulation: (a) cognition, (b) motivation, (c) behavior, and (d) context.Our research question considers “In what ways do engineering instructors assist students to becomeself-directed learners?” The courses involved students from sophomores through seniors.Instructor 1 taught a Heat Transfer course in a problem-based learning format. Instructor 2 used aproject-based learning studio for a Mechanical Engineering elective on Failure Analysis and aMetals and Alloys course. Instructor 3 taught Thermodynamics and Statics courses with in-classproblem solving activities using clickers and peer-to-peer instruction. Instructor 4 taught a Circuitscourse including in-class problem solving activities and semester-long cooperative learninghomework teams.Student outcomes are measured using the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire(MSLQ). The MSLQ is a validated self-report instrument that gauges college students’motivational orientations and use of different learning strategies. Dependent groups t-tests wereused to compare within group differences from pre-test to post-test. Effect sizes were calculatedusing Cohen’s d. Preliminary results show some significant differences for student outcomes onseveral subscales of the MSLQ for different instructors. These subscales may be tied back toPintrich’s model. After the problem-based learning course, students reported higher intrinsicmotivation (d = 0.46), elaboration (d=0.28), organization (d=0.56), effort regulation (d=0.93), andpeer learning (d=0.46). After the project-based learning courses, students reported lower task value(d=-1.18) and effort regulation (d=-0.73). After the courses with Instructor 3, students reported anincrease in metacognitive self regulation (0.24). After the course with Instructor 4, studentsreported an increase in organization (0.44).The different ways that students change in different courses suggest that different pedagogiesstudent-centered course structure required self-directed behaviors while the regulation ofinfluence development of certain behaviors related to SDL. For example, perhaps the problem-based learning impacted student development in all four areas in Pintrich’s model because thecognition in Instructor 4’s course might be tied to the structure of class assignments. Analysis ofthese results can help inform other engineering educators about effective ways to help studentsdevelop important SDL behaviors.
Lord, S. M., & Stefanou, C., & Prince, M. J., & Chen, J., & Stolk, J. D. (2011, June), Student Lifelong Learning Outcomes for Different Learning Environments Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18509
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