Medical and allied health students' self-regulated learning: The interplay between motivational beliefs and learning strategies


Flemmings Fishani Ngwira, Mary Kamwaza, Sufyan Rashid, Grace Boby, Grace Kadzakumanja

Objective: Research on academic self-regulation suggests that students’ self-efficacy, intrinsic goal orientation, deep approach to learning, and organized studying improve students’ academic performance. The primary goal of the study was to investigate the extent to which students perceive their motivational beliefs and their self-regulated learning strategy use, and examine the relationship between the two constructs; motivational beliefs and self-regulated learning strategies. Methods: A sample of 205 first year students (121 males and 84 females) from the College of Medicine in Malawi responded to a five-point Likert-type scale questionnaire assessing their self-efficacy, intrinsic goal orientation, and learning strategies. Data were analyzed using IBM® SPSS® Statistics, version 20. Results: Compared with learning strategies, students reported higher levels of motivational beliefs; self-efficacy [M = 4.37, standard deviation (SD) = 0.64]; and intrinsic goal orientation (M = 4.09, SD = 0.68). Male students had higher levels of intrinsic goal orientation than their female counterparts (p < 0.05), and the first-generation students had higher levels of deep strategy than non-first-generation students (p < 0.05). Linear regression results indicate that both self-efficacy and intrinsic goal orientation positively predicted deep learning strategies (self-efficacy: β = 0.21; intrinsic: β = 0.41), meta-cognitive strategies (self-efficacy: β = 0.30; intrinsic: β = 0.38), and resource management (self-efficacy: β = 0.25; intrinsic: β = 0.26). Conclusion: The results suggest that the first year medical and allied health students possess intrinsically strong motivational beliefs and that these beliefs have an important impact on their deep learning approach and organized studying. Possible implications of the results and recommendations for future research are discussed.