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Session Overview
SYM-01: Investigating Motivational Goal Setting in Different Learning Contexts
Time: Tuesday, 28/Aug/2012: 9:00am - 10:30am
Session Chair: Sanna Järvelä, University of Oulu
Discussant: Alexander Minnaert, University of Groningen
Organizer: Dirk Bissbort, University of Oulu, FINLAND
Organizer: Sanna Järvelä, University of Oulu
Location: 251

Session Abstract

Goal setting plays an important role in student’s regulation of behavior and motivation in learning. However, which kind of motivational goals students set in different learning contexts, and how can effective goal setting be promoted to enhance learning and outcomes? This symposium groups four empirical studies that examined students’ motivational goal setting in different learning contexts. Several theoretical approaches and empirical results related to motivational goal setting with respect to situational specificity will be discussed, drawing on social cognitive models of self-regulated learning (Boekaerts & Cascallar, 2006; Winne & Hadwin, 2008; Wolters, 2003; Zimmerman, 1989, 2008), concepts of social regulation and shared regulation (Hadwin & Oshige, 2006; Järvelä, Volet, & Järvenoja, 2010; McCaslin, 2004), models of personal goals (Murayama & Elliot 2009), and goal taxonomy (Ford, 1992). In the first paper, McCardle, Webster, and Hadwin investigated how quality of self-set goals improved when students were guided to self-evaluate goal quality compared to students without guide. In the second paper, Bissbort, Järvelä, Järvenoja, and Malmberg examined which types of motivational goals graduate students set in solo and collaborative learning contexts, and how individual goals were connected to group goals. In the third paper, Dresel, Bieg, Fasching, and Tulis studied joint influences of personal goals and goal structures on achievement-relevant outcomes. In the fourth paper, Smit, Boekaerts and Pat-El investigated the structure of non-academic goals of students in pre-vocational secondary education. The symposium seeks to initiate lively discussion about the findings and educational implications by the discussant and with the audience.


Supporting students in setting effective goals for self-regulated learning: Does a tool for weekly self-monitoring help?

Lindsay McCardle, Elizabeth A. Webster, Allyson Hadwin

University of Victoria, United States of America

Self-regulated learners direct, monitor, evaluate, and adapt their cognition, behaviour, and motivation (Winne & Hadwin, 1998; Zimmerman, 1989, 2000). Winne and Hadwin (2008) describe the two main features of self-regulated learning as (a) recognizing when there is a discrepancy between the current state and the goal state and (b) taking action to change that discrepancy. We propose that to be effective for regulating learning, the goals set by learners should include four main properties: (a) achievable in a short amount of time, (b) specific actions to accomplish learning, (c) a clear standard against which to judge performance, and (d) detailed content of what is to be learned (TASC goals; Webster, Hadwin, & Helm, submitted). In a 12-week, first-year course, students (N = 150) were taught these goal properties and set weekly goals in an online environment (Moodle; Dougiamas, 1999). There were two conditions: (a) students evaluated their goals weekly (weeks 4-9) on the basis of TASC criteria using a guide in Moodle, and (b) students evaluated their goals at the mid- and end-points of the semester without an evaluation guide. Data have been collected and goals will be coded for quality. A repeated-measures ANOVA will be used to compare goal quality between the two evaluation conditions before and after the intervention. We hypothesize that while both groups will have similar goal quality at the beginning of the semester, students in the weekly evaluation condition will have better goals at the end of the semester than those without the weekly evaluation.

Motivational and Social Goal Setting in Solo and Collaborative Contexts of Learning

Dirk Bissbort, Sanna Järvelä, Hanna Järvenoja, Jonna Malmberg

University of Oulu, FINLAND, Finland

The purpose of this study was to examine motivational and social goal setting in solo and collaborative contexts of learning. Goal setting is a crucial activity within self-regulatory phases and processes and a reference point for monitoring and attribution (Zimmerman, 2008), and within socially-shared regulation of learning (Hadwin et al. 2010). Participants included 18 graduate students collaborating in three phases. Using content analysis, data was coded for mastery goals, performance goals, motivation regulation goals, and social goals. Regarding the question, which types of motivational goals students set in solo and collaborative learning phases, findings revealed that at the beginning of both the solo and the collaborative phases, students focused clearly more on mastery goals than on performance goals. In addition, students’ shared goal setting focused also on social goals. However, students set regulation goals only individually for their solo learning, but not sharedly for collaborative learning. Students in solo phases set mastery goals, performance goals, regulation goals, but hardly any social goals, whereas students in collaborative phases set no regulation goals. Individuals did not set very often regulation goals for the group work. Individuals’ social goals were not often connected to the shared social goals in contrast to mastery and performance goals. Two typical pattern of goal type combination were social goals combined with mastery goals or performance goals. Students changed their goal setting over both the solo and the collaborative phases, however it was not possible to identify a clear development of goal setting from phase to phase.

Modeling Joint Influences of Personal Goals and Goal Structures

Markus Dresel, Sonja Bieg, Michaela S. Fasching, Maria Tulis

University of Augsburg, Germany

An extension of Murayama’s and Elliot’s (2009) analytic framework for studying joint influences of personal achievement goals and goal structures is proposed, which is based on the differentiation of personal goals with respect to situational specificity (personal goal orientations vs. situational goals) and that allows for specific predictions. To provide first evidence to underpin this extension empirically a study is presented, which was conducted in the university context with 497 students who reported their personal goal orientations, and were repeatedly (3 times) surveyed with respect to situational-specific goals, perceptions of goal structures and achievement-relevant outcomes (persistence, elaboration strategies, rehearsal strategies, situational interest, task-specific self-concept). Results indicated situational variation as well as stable between-person differences in goal setting processes. Setting achievement goals in specific learning environments depended on both, personal goal orientations and perceived goal structures. Results revealed additionally, that the actualization of goal setting tendencies in situational goals can depend on environmental conditions. Finally, effects of personal goal orientations on achievement-relevant outcomes were fully mediated and effects of perceived goal structures on achievement-relevant outcomes were partially mediated through the setting of situation-specific goals. Overall, results supported the usefulness of the model extension and the distinction between more stable personal goal setting tendencies and more variable situation-specific goal setting processes.

Multiple motivational goals in the classroom: A validation of the Goal Identification and Facilitation Inventory.

Karin Smit, Monique Boekaerts, Ron Pat-El

Leiden University, The Netherlands, Netherlands, The

Goals are seen as important motivational factors that influence behavior (Ford,1992). Research on goals and motivation has mainly focused on academic goals. However, students bring a variety of goals into the classroom (e.g. Boekearts & Nimivierta, 2000; Boekaerts, 2008, 2009). Although questionnaires about non-academic goals are available (e.g. Wentzel, 2000; Dowson & McInerney, 2004), the items often include learning. In an attempt to measure academic and non academic goals, Boekaerts developed the 84 item Goal Identification and Facilitation Inventory (GIFI) which aims to measure 16 goals, based on Ford’s goal taxonomy (1992). The validity and reliability of the instrument was tested. 603 students (296 girls, 303 boys, 4 missing), with the average age of 14.7 (S.D. = .74) in pre vocational secondary education filled in the self report questionnaire. A Principal Component Analysis was performed. Preliminary results, based on the eigenvalue, the screeplot, parallel analysis and the content of the items, identified a 5 component solution. This solution showed it is difficult for these students to distinguish between the different goals that are related with social behavior and compliance. After items with double loadings were removed, a component that represents well being and positive behavior could be defined. The provision and acquisition of help were perceived as a separate component. Furthermore, the solution showed self determination, material gain, and ego goals as separate components. Preliminary results from Structional Equation Modeling showed a fairly reasonable fit.

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