Motivated strategies for learning and their association with academic performance of a diverse group of 1st-year medical students
Background. Most instruments, including the well-known Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ), have been designed in western homogeneous settings. Use of the MSLQ in health professions education is limited.
Objective. To assess the MSLQ and its association with the academic performance of a heterogeneous group of 1st-year medical students.
Methods. Eighty-three percent of 1st-year medical students consented to participate in this quantitative study. The MSLQ consisted of a motivation strategies component with six subscales, while the learning strategies component had nine subscales. Demographic and academic achievement information of the students was also collected. Stata version 13 (StataCorp LP, USA) was used for the statistical analyses of all data.
Results. Female students displayed significantly higher motivational scores. Students with prior educational experience and those who attended peermentoring sessions had significantly higher learning strategy scores. Significant but moderate relationships were found between academic performance and the motivation strategies subsumed within the categories ‘task value’ and ‘self-efficacy for learning performance’. In terms of the ‘learning strategy component’, ‘critical thinking’, and ‘time and study environment’, the composite score was significantly but poorly correlated to academic performance.
Conclusion. Overall, limited correlations were found between the MSLQ scores and academic performance. Further investigation of the use of the MSLQ and its association with academic achievement is recommended, with greater focus on specific learning events than on course outcomes. This study highlights the importance of evaluating an instrument in a specific context before accepting the findings of others with regard to the use of the instrument and its correlation with academic performance.
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