Date of Award

4-23-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Nursing and Allied Health Professions

First Advisor

Teresa Shellenbarger, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Michele Crytzer, D.Ed.

Third Advisor

Christoph Maier, Ph.D.

Abstract

Pre-licensure baccalaureate nursing programs are facing the demand to retain and graduate students with the skills needed for the complex health care environment. Nursing faculty are challenged to identify the most appropriate student-centered strategies for promoting cognitive engagement in learning and academic success of the current generation of nursing students. To know how to adequately equip pre-licensure baccalaureate millennial nursing students with life-long learning skills, nursing faculty should have an understanding of the interrelationship between self-regulated approaches to learning, cognitive engagement, and successful academic outcomes. This study examined factors that influence cognitive engagement in learning and academic success of senior-level pre-licensure baccalaureate millennial nursing students. This study utilized a quantitative descriptive correlational design. A convenience sample of 65 pre-licensure baccalaureate millennial nursing students enrolled in a specific nursing theory course at a large state university in western Pennsylvania was used. The Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) was used to assess the motivational construct of self-efficacy and the use of cognitive self-regulated learning strategies amongst this cohort of learners. This study revealed senior-level pre-licensure baccalaureate millennial nursing students use all three cognitive self-regulated learning strategies (e.g., rehearsal, elaboration, organization) to understand content in a nursing theory course. Further statistical analysis indicated an increase in study time was associated with the use of both basic (e.g., rehearsal) and complex (e.g., elaboration and organization) cognitive self-regulated approaches to learning. Whereas increased self-efficacy beliefs and high grade point averages were associated with the use of select complex cognitive self-regulated learning strategies. The results of this study offer nurse educators insight into the way senior-level pre-licensure baccalaureate millennial nursing students perceive, interact, and respond to the environment in which their learning occurs. The implications of this study may be used by nurse educators to aid in the planning and implementation of curriculum and instructional methods that encourage the development of higher-level competency based decision making skills. The results of this study also support the need for future research in this area.

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