Robots, Motivation, and Academic Success
Raman, D. Raj
Educational literature has long supported strong correlations between student motivation and academic success. STEM literature has more recently shown mechatronic experiences to have positive impacts on these constructs, albeit limited empirical grounding. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to conduct a pilot experiment to empirically quantify differences in undergraduate student motivation and academic success in a mechatronic vs. a non-mechatronic experience, as well as examine the correlation between student motivation and academic success in both groups. We used a quasiexperimental, non-equivalent control vs. treatment design to collect n = 84 responses from multiple sections of a single undergraduate course. The multivariate dependent variable of student motivation was measured using the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire’s motivational orientation items. Our multivariate dependent variable of academic success was based on final course grades, final project scores, and quiz scores. Using ANCOVA and differences of proportions, we found no statistical difference in motivational orientation—specifically value choices and expectancy beliefs—in the mechatronic vs. non-mechatronic experience. In contrast, statistically significant differences in project scores and final course grades were observed in the mechatronic experience group. Additionally, we found no significant correlation between student motivation and academic success. These results indicated that students in the mechatronic experience, while earning significantly higher grades, did not exhibit different levels of motivation, leading to no association between student motivation and academic success. Even so, future research is needed to further understand the nuanced dynamics of motivational orientation within a mechatronic experience.
This article is published as Haughery, J. R., Raman, D. R., Olson, J. K., Freeman, S. A. "Robots, Motivation, and Academic Success." International Journal of Engineering Education 35, no. 6A (2019): 1859-1871. Posted with permission.