Undergraduate Students' General Self-efficacy in a Problem-based Learning (PBL) Biomedical Engineering Major: A Quantitative Study

Undergraduate Students' General Self-efficacy in a Problem-based Learning (PBL) Biomedical Engineering Major: A Quantitative Study

Author: 
Kim Paige
Program of study: 
Ph.D./HEA
Abstract: 
The quantitative, correlational design of this study examined self-efficacy in an undergraduate biomedical engineering (BME) program where pedagogical practices are centered around problem-based learning (PBL). Self-efficacy is the belief one has about their abilities to respond to, cope with, and perform specific tasks in different domains, such as problem-solving pedagogy that innovatively and critically address healthcare, engineering, and clinical medicine problems. To examine self-efficacy beliefs, the General Self-Efficacy (GSE) Scale was administered as a web-survey to address three research objectives for the study: (1) the level of self-efficacy among the undergraduate biomedical engineering student population, (2) differences in the level of self-efficacy between female and male BME students, and (3) whether a correlation existed between self-efficacy and gender among the undergraduate BME population. The study sample was n=283. Statistical results showed 70.7% (n=200) BME students were Highly self-efficacious; 28.6% (n=81) were Moderately self-efficacious, and .07% (n=2) had Low self-efficacy towards PBL practices in the BME major. There was no statistically significant difference in the level of self-efficacy between female and male students in the population; and there was no statistically significant association between gender and self-efficacy among the BME population. Future recommendations included conducting a qualitative assessment of cognitive attributes of selfefficacy, a comparative examination across multiple undergraduate BME programs that employ PBL methods to teaching and learning; and a more in-depth exploration into how PBL environments affect teaching strategies, both positive and negative towards students’ interest, matriculation, persistence, and retention in undergraduate biomedical engineering education and the professional practice.
Dedication: 
First and foremost, to my Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ for whom without His relentless grace and mercy I would not have had the strength, courage or wisdom to start and/or finish this assignment. Through every physical, mental, health, emotional, and financial challenge, I was always assured that through His will, this goal was possible. To my parents, children, grandchildren, and sister, who probably will never truly understand the true drive and pursuit of this accomplishment, but always supported me regardless of my sporadic insanity, I am forever grateful that all of you will still be with me at the finish line and beyond. Words could never express how thankful I am for all your prayers and support throughout this journey. To my beloved friend, thanks for always keeping me focused even when I wanted to drive this baby into a ditch! Your patience, love, and friendship were so instrumental throughout this journey. To my best friends, thank you for always having my back as prayer warriors and cheerleaders! I am forever thankful that you understand the sacrifices and life transitions I had to make throughout this journey and those I will continue to make hereafter. And to my work family, thanks for allowing me to pursue this journey with you and for our students. I have truly been blessed to work with such great colleagues in higher education, academic advising, and biomedical engineering. And even now at the finish of this part of the journey, just know that I will continue to “Run til I Finish”. “I have decided, determined I'm committed… no matter the cost, I'm going to finish my race; I'm going to take my proper place in the winning circle… I don't know where or when or how, but I know that I'm going to make it, nestled safely in amazing grace… I'll Run til I Finish! (Dixon, A., & Norful, Smokie., 2006)
Acknowledgements: 
To the greatest dissertation committee this side of Heaven, special thanks is given to Dr. Tucker who was my scholarly cheerleader and leadership example since residency. Dr. Coleman, thank you for giving me a greater level of confidence as a researcher, practitioner, and student. Your imparted wisdom and guidance will be a lasting prompt to continue to soar higher. Dr. Nisbett, thank you for your candor and for giving me scholarly and professional insight that will continuously build my career in higher education. You were a committee of great academic scholars – women in the field - who were critical and honest about my work, patient in my learning and understanding of the research process, and encouraging through every aspect of progress and setbacks along the way. Thank you all for being partners in my journey to Dr. Kim L. Paige! For this and more, I am forever grateful for your expertise, diligence, patience, and inspiration.