Motivated Strategies for Learning in Accelerated Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing Students

Monday, 9 November 2015: 10:40 AM

Majeda M. El-Banna, PhD, MSN, BSN, RN
Billinda Tebbenhoff, DNP, APRN-BC, RN
Malinda Lee Whitlow, DNP, FNP-BC, RN
Karen Fraser Wyche, PhD, MSW
School of Nursing, The George Washington University, Ashburn, VA, USA

Background/Purpose: Accelerated Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) students enter nursing programs motivated to learn. These students, from diverse educational and employment backgrounds, must adapt quickly to an unfamiliar curriculum. ABSN students may rate themselves high in self-directedness and motivation to learn and study. Also, they report unique needs and expectations (Walker, et al., 2007). Their perceptions are influenced by their life experiences (D’Antonio et. al., 2010) and academic stressors based partly on family responsibilities (Weitzel & McCahon, 2008). Given this information and our experiences with ABSN students enrolled in The George Washington University’s 15 month program, we explored the differences in students’ motivational orientations to achieve academic success and the use of different learning strategies and self-esteem by demographic characteristics.

Methods:  ABSN students (n =82) from four different semesters completed online: a demographic survey, the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) to assess motivation and learning strategies (Pintrich& Smith1993), and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) which is a global measure of self-worth (Iaccobucci, Daly, Lindell, & Griffin, 2012). The MSLQ consists of motivation and learning strategies sections. The motivation section consists of six scales (intrinsic and extrinsic goal orientation, task value, control of learning beliefs, and test anxiety). The learning section consists of nine scales (rehearsal, elaboration, organization, critical thinking, self-regulation, time and study environment, effort regulation, peer learning and help seeking). MSLQ items are scored on a scale of 1 to 7 with the values of 1 “not all true of me” to 7 “very true of me”.  The RSES assesses a person’s overall evaluation self-worthiness as a human being. Responses are coded on a 4-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree). Data analysis included descriptive statistics, t-test and one-way ANOVA.

Results: This student sample was predominantly white (71%), in their twenties (67%), single (54%), worked part time (49%), and had a family income of $50,000 or more (74%). Students scored within normal ranges on self-esteem with no differences between students in different semesters or by demographic data. There were no semester differences on any of the measures of motivation or learning scales. The mean score of motivation to engage with courses material and learning strategies was (M=5.4). Students who identified themselves as white and have pre-requisites GPA higher than or equal 3.7 were highly motivated and more likely to use a variety of learning strategies. On the motivation scales, low income students, younger than 30 years old, with children and a GPA higher than or equal 3.7 were more likely to participate in tasks in order to obtain good grades, rewards or approval (extrinsic goal orientation). Students who identified themselves as single and a race other than white had the belief that the courses were less interesting and less valuable (task value).  On learning scales, males and students who identified themselves as white expressed that they were repeatedly using summarizing information (elaboration) as a learning strategy to succeed. Students who self-identified as “not single” scored higher on organizing information using outlines and tables (organization) than single students. Males reported frequently evaluating new ideas and applying them to novel situations (critical thinking) during their learning more than females.  Students identified themselves as white reported high study skills and appropriate use of study time (time and study environment). On the scale of effort regulation (continuing to study when content is perceived to be boring) the mean scores of individuals who were identified as not single, white, having children, a pre-requisite GPA less than 3.7 and older than 30 were significantly higher than those students identified as single, not white, childless, having a pre-requisite GPA greater than or equal to 3.7 and younger than 30.

Conclusion & Implication:  Programs with ABSN students need to know about the motivational orientations and the learning strategies used by their students as they progress through a fast-paced curriculum. Awareness, support and integration of social and academic characteristics of ABSN students can help faculty and programs boost students’ motivation and improve their achievement. Course content and faculty input can help student’s navigate a nursing curriculum which will help improve outcomes for students and provide information for program, curricular and pedagogical improvements.