Our ASEE 2018 paper “Work in Progress: Strategic, Translational Retention Initiatives to Promote Engineering Success” describes a pilot program started in Fall 2017 to leverage existing university resources to support successful course and program outcomes for students entering general engineering with insufficient calculus preparation. The program was continued in Fall 2018 and remains in progress. One component of the program is a learning strategies course focused on skills relevant to success in the students’ three cohorted STEM courses: introductory engineering, general chemistry, and the first semester of an extended, year-long calculus course.
Entangled Learning provides the pedagogical framework for the learning strategies course. The pedagogy is an action-based metacognitive framework for individual and collective self-directed learning. The active processes of Entangled Learning, “designing,” “learning,” “doing,” and “knowing,” are informed by cycles of documenting, self-regulating, critically reflecting, integrating, and collaborating. Course activities and assignments scaffold learning through these actions. Most of the assignments are learning journal activities for which students identify a developmental behavior. Students identify a resource that will inform their decisions on changing their behavior or conceptual understanding, engage with and document their activity, evaluate their results, and derive meaning for themselves as STEM students. Learning journals address self-regulation, time and energy management, self and wellness, learning strategies, and exam wrappers. Additionally, students work collaboratively to apply their developing skills to learn the content in the cohorted courses.
The Entangled Learning framework aligns with the Skillful Learning model of metacognition as presented by Cunningham, Matusovich, and Blackowski in their 2018 ASEE pre-conference workshop “The impact of metacognitive instruction on students’ conceptions of learning and their self-monitoring behaviors.” Their videos and classroom resources elaborate on metacognition as knowledge of cognition (persons, tasks, strategies) and regulation of cognition (planning, monitoring, controlling, evaluating). With permission, we included their Skillful Learning video modules in our learning strategies course and used selected supplemental resources in instruction.
This paper will explain the course design with Entangled Learning as the underlying pedagogy and the use of the Skillful Learning metacognitive instruction resources. We will present an analysis of first-year general engineering students’ ability to engage in practices to promote metacognitive awareness. Analysis of qualitative data will inform a discussion of the effectiveness of our use of the Cunningham, Matusovich, and Blackowski materials with our first-semester freshmen. Qualitative data analysis will also be used to explore students’ ability to demonstrate metacognitive awareness and engagement within the Entangled Learning framework.
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