About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 459-462
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.0192

Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain

PROBLEM BASED LEARNING IN ELECTRONICS LABORATORIES: STUDENTS' ACADEMIC MOTIVATION

A. Gero1, B. Catz1, N. Sabag2

1Technion – Israel Institute of Technology (ISRAEL)
2ORT Braude College (ISRAEL)
Problem based learning (PBL) is a learner-centered pedagogy in which students perform research combining theory and practice in order to find a solution to a given problem. A possible platform for the implementation of PBL is the inquiry based laboratory, where students independently design and conduct experiments. However, research covering the use of inquiry based laboratories in engineering education is meager and focuses mainly on cognitive aspects. The affective domain which deals with academic motivation has not been a research focal point, although the importance of motivation in the learning process is considerable.

The study described in this paper focused on an inquiry based electronics laboratory offered at a leading Israeli college. This course is designed for electrical engineering students in their fifth semester, and is the first course where students are exposed to PBL and experience how engineers work. In view of the course's unique characteristics, the research examined whether a change in the students' academic motivation has occurred as a result of the course. Self-determination theory, which is one of the leading theories in the field of educational motivation, served as the theoretical framework for this study.

Fourteen electrical engineering students took part in the study which used quantitative tools as well as qualitative ones. The participants filled out an anonymous questionnaire at the beginning and end of the course. This five-point Likert-like questionnaire, ranging from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree", was based on the Self-Regulation Questionnaire – Academic (SRQ–A) scale. The questionnaire was comprised of twenty statements reflecting four major motivational factors, as defined by self-determination theory. For example, the statement "I am studying electrical engineering because I think the studies are interesting" expresses intrinsic motivation; the statement "I am studying electrical engineering because I think working in electrical engineering would be a good job for me" reflects identified regulation; the statement "I am studying electrical engineering because my parents want me to do so" reflects introjected regulation; and the statement "I am studying electrical engineering because I do not have a choice" represents external regulation. Additionally, semi-structured interviews were held with students at the end of the course. The quantitative data were statistically analyzed and the effect sizes (Cohen's d) were calculated. Through directed content analysis, the qualitative data were coded and classified into categories.

The study found a decrease (small effect) in the motivational factors characterized by relatively high perceived autonomy (intrinsic motivation and identified regulation) alongside an increase (small effect) in the factors characterized by relatively high perceived control (external regulation and introjected regulation). These changes could be explained by the findings, according to which, the students' need for competence was not met during the course. A possible cause for the failure to fulfill this need is the difficulty experienced by most students to adjust to independent learning and deal with the complexity of the problems studied on the course.

The research findings may expand the limited body of knowledge covering the use of inquiry based laboratories in engineering education and improve the training of engineering students.
@InProceedings{GERO2018PRO,
author = {Gero, A. and Catz, B. and Sabag, N.},
title = {PROBLEM BASED LEARNING IN ELECTRONICS LABORATORIES: STUDENTS' ACADEMIC MOTIVATION},
series = {10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN18 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-02709-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2018.0192},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2018.0192},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Palma, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {459-462}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Gero AU - B. Catz AU - N. Sabag
TI - PROBLEM BASED LEARNING IN ELECTRONICS LABORATORIES: STUDENTS' ACADEMIC MOTIVATION
SN - 978-84-09-02709-5/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2018.0192
PY - 2018
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2018
CI - Palma, Spain
JO - 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN18 Proceedings
SP - 459
EP - 462
ER -
A. Gero, B. Catz, N. Sabag (2018) PROBLEM BASED LEARNING IN ELECTRONICS LABORATORIES: STUDENTS' ACADEMIC MOTIVATION, EDULEARN18 Proceedings, pp. 459-462.
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