Motivational and self-regulated learning profiles of students taking a foundational engineering course

Katherine G. Nelson, Duane F. Shell, Jenefer Husman, Evan J. Fishman, Leen Kiat Soh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Technical, nonengineering required courses taken at the onset of an engineering degree provide students a foundation for engineering coursework. Students who perform poorly in these foundational courses, even in those tailored to engineering, typically have limited success in engineering. A profile approach may explain why these courses are obstacles for engineering students. This approach examines the interaction among motivation and self-regulation constructs. Purpose (Hypothesis): This project sought to determine what motivational and self-regulated learning profiles engineering students adopt in foundational courses. We hypothesized that engineering students would adopt profiles associated with maladaptive motivational beliefs and self-regulated learning behaviors. The effects of profile adoption on learning and differences associated with student major, minor, and gender were analyzed. Design/Method: Five hundred and thirty-eight students, 332 of them engineering majors, were surveyed on motivation and self-regulation variables. Data were analyzed from a learner-centered profile approach using cluster analysis. Results: We obtained a five-cluster learning profile solution. Approximately 83% of engineering students enrolled in an engineering-tailored foundational computer science course adopted maladaptive profiles. These students learned less than those who adopted adaptive learning profiles. Profile adoption depended on whether a student was considering a major or minor in computer science or not. Conclusions: Findings indicate the motivational and self-regulated learning profiles that engineering students adopt in foundational courses, why they do so, and what profile adoption means for learning. Our findings can guide instructors in providing motivational beliefs and self-regulated learning scaffolds in the classroom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-100
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Engineering Education
Volume104
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

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Students
engineering
learning
student
self-regulation
computer science
Computer science
learning behavior
Cluster analysis
cluster analysis
Scaffolds
instructor
classroom
gender
interaction

Keywords

  • Foundational courses
  • Learning profiles
  • Motivation
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Education

Cite this

Motivational and self-regulated learning profiles of students taking a foundational engineering course. / Nelson, Katherine G.; Shell, Duane F.; Husman, Jenefer; Fishman, Evan J.; Soh, Leen Kiat.

In: Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 104, No. 1, 01.01.2015, p. 74-100.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Nelson, Katherine G. ; Shell, Duane F. ; Husman, Jenefer ; Fishman, Evan J. ; Soh, Leen Kiat. / Motivational and self-regulated learning profiles of students taking a foundational engineering course. In: Journal of Engineering Education. 2015 ; Vol. 104, No. 1. pp. 74-100.
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