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Open Access Research article

Measuring strategies for learning regulation in medical education: Scale reliability and dimensionality in a Swedish sample

Samuel Edelbring

Author affiliations

Centre for Medical Education, Department LIME, Karolinska Institutet, Berzelius väg 3, 171 77, Stockholm, Sweden

Citation and License

BMC Medical Education 2012, 12:76  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-76

Published: 15 August 2012

Abstract

Background

The degree of learners’ self-regulated learning and dependence on external regulation influence learning processes in higher education. These regulation strategies are commonly measured by questionnaires developed in other settings than in which they are being used, thereby requiring renewed validation. The aim of this study was to psychometrically evaluate the learning regulation strategy scales from the Inventory of Learning Styles with Swedish medical students (N = 206).

Methods

The regulation scales were evaluated regarding their reliability, scale dimensionality and interrelations. The primary evaluation focused on dimensionality and was performed with Mokken scale analysis. To assist future scale refinement, additional item analysis, such as item-to-scale correlations, was performed.

Results

Scale scores in the Swedish sample displayed good reliability in relation to published results: Cronbach’s alpha: 0.82, 0.72, and 0.65 for self-regulation, external regulation and lack of regulation scales respectively. The dimensionalities in scales were adequate for self-regulation and its subscales, whereas external regulation and lack of regulation displayed less unidimensionality. The established theoretical scales were largely replicated in the exploratory analysis. The item analysis identified two items that contributed little to their respective scales.

Discussion

The results indicate that these scales have an adequate capacity for detecting the three theoretically proposed learning regulation strategies in the medical education sample. Further construct validity should be sought by interpreting scale scores in relation to specific learning activities. Using established scales for measuring students’ regulation strategies enables a broad empirical base for increasing knowledge on regulation strategies in relation to different disciplinary settings and contributes to theoretical development.

Keywords:
Regulation strategies; Self-regulated learning; Approaches to studying; Validation