New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Educational Research and Methods
This one group pre-test-post-test design research study investigated situational intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, amotivation, and curiosity and how they were differentially impacted by engineering undergraduates’ participation in an IDEAS studio course and a comparison course (designated Course X). Situational motivation is a descriptor for the motivation people have when involved in an activity. Vallerand (1997) has referred to it as, “here-and-now” of motivation. All IDEAS studio courses are small with an interdisciplinary mix of students. Students voluntarily register for these courses that include the creation of a physical artifact, a real problem and broad perspectives in class work, and an open process to create solutions. Participants in an IDEAS course were asked to select a comparison course that was the least like the IDEAS course. Three times throughout the semester situational motivation and curiosity were assessed for both courses using 21 questions selected from existing instruments.
The Situational Motivation Scale (Guay, Vallerand, & Blanchard, 2000) was used to measure motivation and amotivation. This is a multidimensional assessment designed to measure the four kinds of motivation hypothesized by self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985): intrinsic motivation, two measures of extrinsic motivation (identified regulation and external regulation), and amotivation. Self-determination involves a feeling of options, a sense of considering oneself free to do what one has chosen to do. It hypothesizes that motivation is explained by beliefs about “competence, autonomy, and relatedness” (Guay et al., 2000, p. 205). While there has been an absence of agreement on an appropriate definition for curiosity (Arnone, Small, Chauncey, & McKenna, 2011), it is clear that curiosity, interest, and engagement are dynamically related. Therefore, curiosity was measured by taking five questions from an existing Situational Interest Scale (Chen, Darst, & Pangrazi, 1999). Four of the questions came from the Exploration Intention factor and one from Instant Enjoyment. It was hypothesized that when in the IDEAS course, students would have higher intrinsic motivation, identified regulation, and curiosity than in Course X, while they would have higher external regulation and amotivation in Course X than in the IDEAS course.
Sixty-two engineering undergraduates from one university participated in the study over two semesters. The majority were White (66.7%) seniors (58.8%) with self-reported GPAs of 3.01-3.50 (51%). There were 40 males and 11 females. Students were from multiple engineering majors but the largest group was mechanical engineering (33.3%). Paired samples t-tests were completed after each assessment to determine if there were significant differences in motivation and curiosity between the IDEAS course and Course X. Cohen’s d was used to measure effect size. Results showed that at each of the three times students completed the assessment, there was a significant difference between their situational motivation and curiosity for the IDEAS course and Course X. When evaluating the IDEAS course, students consistently had higher scores in intrinsic motivation, identified regulation and curiosity than Course X with large effect sizes. When considering Course X, they consistently had higher scores in external regulation and amotivation than the IDEAS course with large effect sizes.
References Arnone, M. P., Small, R. V., Chauncey, S. A., & McKenna, H. P. (2011). Curiosity, interest and engagement in technology-pervasive learning environments: A new research agenda. Educational Technology Research Development, 59, 181-198. . (doi: 10.1007/s11423 011-9190-9) Chen, A., Darst, P. W., & Pangrazi, R. P. (1999). What constitutes situational interest? Validating a construct in physical education. Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science, 3 (3), 157-180. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. NY: Plenum Guy, F., Vallerand, R. J., & Blanchard, C. (2000). On the assessment of situational intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: The Situational Motivation Scale (SIMS). Motivation and Emotion, 24 (3), 175-213. Vallerand, R. J. (1997). Toward a hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.). Advances in experimental social psychology (pp. 271-360). NY: Academic Press.
Prince, M. J., & Nottis, K. E. K., & Vigeant, M. A., & Kim, C., & Jablonski, E. (2016, June), The Effect of Course Type on Engineering Undergraduates' Situational Motivation and Curiosity Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26134
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