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Understanding the Modeling Skill Shift in Engineering: The Impace of Self-Efficacy, Epistemology, and Metacognition

Yildirim, Tuba Pinar (2011) Understanding the Modeling Skill Shift in Engineering: The Impace of Self-Efficacy, Epistemology, and Metacognition. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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A focus of engineering education is to prepare future engineers with problem solving, design and modeling skills. In engineering education, the former two skill areas have received copious attention making their way into the ABET criteria. Modeling, a representation containing the essential structure of an event in the real world, is a fundamental function of engineering, and an important academic skill that students develop during their undergraduate education. Yet modeling process remains under-investigated, particularly in engineering, even though there is an increasing emphasis on modeling in engineering schools (Frey 2003). Research on modeling requires multiple perspectives, that of cognition, affect, and knowledge expansion. In this dissertation, the relationship between engineering modeling skill and students' cognitive backgrounds including self-efficacy, epistemic beliefs and metacognition is investigated using model-eliciting activities (MEAs). The impact of each cognitive construct on change in modeling skills was measured using a growth curve model at the sophomore level, and ordinary least squares regression at the senior level. Findings suggest that self-efficacy, through its direct and indirect (moderation or interaction term with time) impact, influences the growth of modeling abilities of an engineering student. When sophomore and senior modeling abilities are compared, the difference can be explained by varying self-efficacy levels. Epistemology influences modeling skill development such that the more sophisticated the student beliefs are, the higher the level of modeling ability students can attain, after controlling for the effects of conceptual learning, gender and GPA. This suggests that development of modeling ability may be constrained by the naiveté of one's personal epistemology. Finally, metacognition, or 'thinking about thinking', has an impact on the development of modeling strategies of students, when the impacts of four metacognitive dimensions are considered: awareness, planning, cognitive strategy and self-checking. Students who are better at self-checking show higher growth in their modeling abilities over the course of a year, compared to students who are less proficient at self-checking. The growth is moderated by the cognitive strategy and planning skills of the student. Therefore, inherent metacognitive abilities of students can positively affect the growth of modeling ability.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Yildirim, Tuba Pinartpy1@pitt.eduTPY1
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBesterfield-Sacre, Mary Elizabembsacre@engr.pitt.eduMBSACRE
Committee MemberRajgopal, Jayantrajgopal@pitt.eduRAJGOPAL
Committee MemberShuman, Larryshuman@engr.pitt.eduSHUMAN
Committee MemberMaillart, Lisambsacre@pitt.eduMBSACRE
Committee MemberCorrenti, Riprcorrent@pitt.eduRCORRENT
Date: 26 January 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 2 November 2010
Approval Date: 26 January 2011
Submission Date: 23 November 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Industrial Engineering
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: cognitive psychology; engineering education; modeling
Other ID:, etd-11232010-172425
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:06
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:52


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