Monday, November 5, 2007

This presentation is part of : Global Strategies in Nursing Education
Student Perceptions of Motivation and Learning Strategies in Nursing Courses
Betty L. Elder, PhD, RN and Mary L. Koehn, PhD, ARNP, FACCE. School of Nursing, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS, USA
Learning Objective #1: recognize different aspects of student motivational orientation and the use of learning strategies in nursing courses.
Learning Objective #2: integrate motivation, metacognitive skills, and creative learning strategies in their own practice to promote critical thinking and clinical reasoning.

Although students frequently enter nursing programs with high grade point averages, many of these students struggle with course content, critical thinking, and clinical reasoning. The literature supports metacognitive skills as a key to critical thinking and clinical reasoning. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess nursing students' motivation orientations and their use of learning strategies. The convenience sample consisted of 233 students in a baccalaureate nursing program. The Motivational Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) was administered to the students at the end of their respective semesters in the nursing program. The MSLQ includes two primary subscales: the motivation section assesses students' goals and values, the learning strategies section assesses cognitive and metacognitive skills used in their nursing courses. The students scored highest on task value, indicating that involvement in learning depended on their perceptions of interest, importance, and usefulness of the content. They placed low value on critical thinking and commitment to goals when faced with difficulties. In spite of efforts by faculty and employers to promote critical thinking and clinical reasoning, the low value students placed on these scales support exploration of the need for a change in the design of curricular models to transition students from a functional model to a metacognitive model promoting problem solving, prioritization, and global thinking. This can assist students from their entry into the program to the performance of their jobs once they graduate. Interventions promoting metacognitive skills will be introduced for creative teaching strategies that foster critical thinking and clinical reasoning. Recommendations for future research include evaluation of the effectiveness of these alternative strategies and the application of metacognitive performance as a measure of student success.