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Keywords:

  • gross anatomy education;
  • medical education;
  • learning strategy;
  • student engagement;
  • self-regulated learning

In courses with large enrollment, faculty members sometimes struggle with an understanding of how individual students are engaging in their courses. Information about the level of student engagement that instructors would likely find most useful can be linked to: (1) the learning strategies that students are using; (2) the barriers to learning that students are encountering; and (3) whether the course materials and activities are yielding the intended learning outcomes. This study drew upon self-regulated learning theory (SRL) to specify relevant information about learning engagement, and how the measures of particular scales might prove useful for student/faculty reflection. We tested the quality of such information as collected via the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). MSLQ items were administered through a web-based survey to 150 students in a first-year medical gross anatomy course. The resulting 66 responses (44% response rate) were examined for information quality (internal reliability and predictive validity) and usefulness of the results to the course instructor. Students' final grades in the course were correlated with their MSLQ scale scores to assess the predictive validity of the measures. These results were consistent with the course design and expectations, showing that greater use of learning strategies such as elaboration and critical thinking was associated with higher levels of performance in the course. Motivation subscales for learning were also correlated with the higher levels of performance in the course. The extent to which these scales capture valid and reliable information in other institutional settings and courses needs further investigation. Anat Sci Educ. © 2014 American Association of Anatomists.