Self-Regulation Strategies in an Engineering Design Project

  •  Oenardi Lawanto    
  •  Andreas Febrian    
  •  Deborah Butler    
  •  Mani Mina    


Models of self-regulation describe how individuals engage deliberately and reflectively in goal-directed action in order to achieve valued goals. Studies have found that the consistent use of self-regulation in an academic setting is highly correlated with student achievement. Self-regulation plays a critical role in problem-solving, particularly when unraveling ill-structured problems as is required in engineering design. The primary research question: How did engineering students perceive their self-regulation activities while engaged in a design project? A total of 307 students from three higher education institutions working on their capstone engineering design projects participated in the study. The study evaluated students’ self-regulation in relation to both design and project management skills. We used a self-regulation in engineering design questionnaire (EDMQ) to assess students’ approaches to self-regulation. Quantitative data were analyzed in two parts using descriptive and inferential statistics. Findings suggested that: (1) Students focused more consistently on task interpretation than other self-regulatory strategies, particularly during design; (2) Students lacked awareness of the essential need to develop a method to assess the design deliverables; (3) Self-regulation gaps were found during early design phases, but as the design process progressed, a more balanced approach to self-regulation was apparent. Given the importance of task interpretation to successful performance, students attended to identifying tasks during both the design process and project management. However, they did not report engaging in planning, implementing, and monitoring and fix-up strategies as consistently, even when those processes were relevant and called for. Implications are drawn for research, theory, and practice.

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