‘Ain't nothin' like the real thing’. Motivation and study processes on a work-based project course in information systems design
Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
2007 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Educational Psychology
Volume 77, Issue 2, pages 397–411, June 2007
How to Cite
Helle, L., Tynjälä, P., Olkinuora, E. and Lonka, K. (2007), ‘Ain't nothin' like the real thing’. Motivation and study processes on a work-based project course in information systems design. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 77: 397–411. doi: 10.1348/000709906X105986
- Issue published online: 24 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
- Received 17 June 2005; revised version received 18 January 2006
Background. Advocates of the project method claim that project-based learning inspires student learning. However, it has been claimed that project-based learning environments demand quite a bit of self-regulation on the part of the learner.
Aims. Consequently, it was tested whether students scoring low in self-regulation of learning experienced ‘friction’, an incompatibility between student self-regulation and the demands posed by the learning environment. This would be manifest in cognitive processing and motivation.
Samples. The target group consisted of 58 mainly third-year Finnish university students taking a mandatory project course in information systems design. During the project course, student teams completed a commissioned assignment. The study also included a matched nonequivalent comparison group composed of computer science students attending study programmes without a project-based component.
Methods. Data were gathered by means of a questionnaire administered at the beginning and end of the project course and it was analysed by between-groups repeated measures ANOVA. In addition, the students on the course were interviewed.
Results. Results suggest that the work-based project model in question may indeed have a substantial motivational impact, interestingly benefitting especially those students who scored low in self-regulation.
Conclusions. It is argued that we tend to view learning environments too simplistically. In particular, a basic distinction should be made between individual and collaborative learning contexts, since peer scaffolding, group grading and choice of group roles may explain why students scoring low in self-regulation of learning did not encounter friction as expected.