Motivational and Cognitive Learning Strategies Used by First-Year Engineering Undergraduate Students at Universidad Católica in Chile

DOI: 10.4236/ce.2012.326121   PDF   HTML     4,860 Downloads   7,039 Views   Citations


The learning process is sensitive to the demands from the learning task and the specific subject of study. This study provides a characterization of the motivational and cognitive learning strategies used by students in their first year of an undergraduate Civil Engineering degree course at a prestigious Chilean university. The module considered for this study was “Introduction to Calculus”, the first course in Mathematics that these students took at the beginning of their career. A sample of 339 students (73% of the total students enrolled) attended the last lecture and consented to participate in this study lecture (no student rejected to participate). They answered the Motivated Strategies Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). The MSLQ asked the students about the motivational and cognitive learning strategies that they applied in the selected module. Mean scores for motivational and cognitive items were categorized into low, medium or high values. Students reported high motivational strategies, particularly regarding their value of the task and their control of learning beliefs. These were ranked as “high” level. As for the cognitive learning strategies, they were also high but slightly lower than the motivational dimensions of the learning experience. Hence, they were ranked in an upper-middle range, excelling in metacognitive self-regulation and effort regulation. Moreover, motivational and cognitive strategies were interrelated components affecting the learning outcomes. This study explored self-reported motivational and cognitive learning strategies applied by first-year undergraduate students of a Civil Engineering degree course in one of the largest universities in Chile. Our findings suggest that both motivational and cognitive components of the learning process are relevant and interact with each other. These results contribute to a better understanding of the learning process of Engineering students in an early curricular stage. Hence, they provide relevant knowledge that could be applied in teaching and learning practices in higher education.

Share and Cite:

Anais, M. , Hojas, A. , Bustos, A. , Letelier, C. , Zuzulich, M. , Cabieses, B. & Zubiaguirre, M. (2012). Motivational and Cognitive Learning Strategies Used by First-Year Engineering Undergraduate Students at Universidad Católica in Chile. Creative Education, 3, 811-817. doi: 10.4236/ce.2012.326121.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Chi-Kin Lee, J., Yin, H., & Zhang, Z. (2010). Adaptation and analyses motivated strategies for learning questionnaire in the Chinese setting. International Journal of testing, 10, 149-155.
[2] Chiecher, A., Donolo, D., & Rinaudo, M. (2007). Aprendizaje virtual en asignaturas presenciales incidencia sobre la motivación y el uso de estrategias. Revista Virtual Udesc Virtual, 1, 1-24.
[3] García, T., & McKeachie, W. (2005). The making of the motivated strategies for learning questionnarie. Educational Psychologist, 40, 117-121.
[4] González, R., Valle, A., Rodríguez, S., & Pi?eiro, I. (2002). Autorregulación del aprendizaje y estrategias de estudio. In J. Pineda, J. Nu?ez, L. álvarez, & E. Soler (Eds.), Estrategias de Aprendizaje. Concepto, evaluación e intervención (pp. 17-38). Madrid: Ediciones Pirámide.
[5] Hojas, A. M., Anais, M. J., Bustos, A., Letelier, C., & Zuzulich, M. S. (2012). Requerimientos académicos en estudiantes universitarios: El camino recorrido por el centro de apoyo al rendimiento académico y de exploración vocacional de la UC. Revista Calidad en la Educación, 36, 249-263.
[6] Letelier, C., Lissi, M., Flores, A., & Assef, C. (2007). Traducción del motivated strategies learning questionnaire.
[7] Paoloni, P. (2009). Contextos favorecedores de la motivación y el aprendizaje. Una propuesta innovadora para alumnos de ingeniería. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 7, 953-984.
[8] Pintrich, P., & García, T. (1993). Intraindividual differences in students’ motivation and self regulated learning. German Journal of Educational Psychology, 7, 99-107.
[9] Pintrich, P., Smith, D., García, T., & McKeachie, W. (1991). A manual for the use of the motivated strategies for learning questionnaire (MSLQ). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan.
[10] Rinaudo, M., Chiecher, A., & Donolo, D. (2003). Motivación y uso de estrategias en estudiante universitarios. Anales de Psicología, 7, 107-119.
[11] Rinaudo, M., De la Barrera, M., & Donolo, D. (2006). Motivación para el aprendizaje en alumnos universitarios. Revista Electrónica de Motivación y Emoción, 9
[12] Romero, M., & Pérez, M. (2009). Motivar a aprender en la universidad: Una estrategia fundamental contra el fracaso académico. Aportaciones de la investigación y la literatura especializada. Revista Iberoamericana de educación, 50, 1-13.
[13] Schunk, D., & Zimmerman, B. J. (2009). Motivation and self-regulated learning. theory, research and applications. New York: Routledge.
[14] Susperreguy, M. I., Flores, A., Micin, S., & Zuzulich, M. S. (2007). Apoyo académico en la educación superior: descripción de la experiencia y perfil de los alumnos que participan en el CARA UC. Revista Calidad en la Educación, 26, 307-333.
[15] Zimmerman, B. (2002). Becoming a self-regulated learner: An overview. Theory into Practice, 41, 64-70.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2020 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.