S3-ALT2-2 - Does Using Structured Learning Diaries Affect Self-regulation or Study Engagement? An Experimental Study in Engineering Education

3. Research Full Paper
Joonas A Pesonen1 , Elina E Ketonen1, Ville Kivimäki1, Petri Ihantola1
1 University of Helsinki

Previous research suggests that structured learning diaries can increase students' self-regulation skills. However, learning diaries also imply great effort for students, and more research is needed to understand the effect of diaries on students' motivation and engagement. In the current study, we investigate whether our approach of using curricular concept maps as structured learning diaries has an effect on students’ self-regulation or study engagement. 104 first-year engineering master's students were randomly assigned to experimental and control groups. The structured learning diary using a digital tool was a compulsory weekly assignment for the experimental group. Both groups completed pre- and post-test questionnaires on self-regulation and study engagement. Using Repeated Measures ANOVA, we did not find statistically significant differences between the experimental and the control groups in self-regulation or study engagement. However, with a more fine-grained grouping based on diary usage, we found a statistically significant decrease in passive diary users’ dedication (part of study engagement). Our results indicate that making students actively use reflection tools such as structured learning diaries remains a challenge. Moreover, such an intensive intervention may even have negative effects on study engagement for students who do not actively use the tool.