The paper is grounded in the premise that learning occurs within a dynamic system of social and ecological interactions in the learning environment. Our intent is to open the conversation about hose ac, as engineering educators, design effective learning experiences for this dynamic system, particularly in light of the deeply ethical, adaptive expertise required of today's graduates. Drawing from two well-researched theories of psychological development (self-determination and self-regulation), we assert that fostering the engagement and positive growth required for adaptive expertise necessitates a holistic educational approach. This approach requires us to consider both the psychological needs of the learner, and the interaction between ecological factors and these psychological needs. We present a dynamic systems simulation model that is based on key concepts from self-determination and self-regulation theory. The model links factors in the learning environment, or 'ecological factors,' to outcomes related to student learning. To demonstrate that the model simulates the observed behavior of the system, we compare model simulations with student motivation measures in three learning situations that were designed and implemented by the authors. The evidence highlights the dramatic influence of ecological factors: high and low intrinsic motivations in different situations, and strong correlations between students' motivational orientations and ecological factors. Comparison of the simulated and measured student responses illustrates the potential for the integrated use of .systems dynamics and learning science to aid design of learning environments that foster student motivation, engagement, and learning.


Materials Science and Engineering



URL: http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/mate_fac/118