Changes in medical students' motivation and self-regulated learning: a preliminary study

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OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether medical students' motivation and Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) change over time to enhance our understanding of these constructs as dependent variables in medical education. METHODS: A cohort of first-year students (n=43) at a medical school in South Korea completed a self-report questionnaire on motivation and SRL--the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). The same questionnaire was administered to the same cohort in the beginning of Year 2. A Wilcoxon signed-rank test was conducted to determine if changes in participants' MSLQ scores occurred between in Years 1 and 2. RESULTS: Forty-one students completed the questionnaires in both years (95% response rate). Participants' motivation scores significantly increased, whereas their SRL scores decreased significantly after they went through Year 1. The most notable change in participants' MLSQ scores was in the increase in their test anxiety. There was a positive association between the participants' test anxiety and their cognitive strategies use in Year 1, which changed to a negative one in Year 2. Meanwhile, participants' test anxiety scores and their self-regulation scores became more negatively associated over time. CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows that even as medical students become more motivated, they actually use fewer self-regulated strategies over time. Our findings highlight the need for change in the medical school's learning environment to lessen students' test anxiety to facilitate their use of cognitive and meta-cognitive strategies.




Kim, K. J., & Jang, H. W. (2015). Changes in medical students’ motivation and self-regulated learning: a preliminary study. International Journal of Medical Education, 6, 213–215.

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