Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Journal of Technology Education






V T Publishing

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

First Page


Last Page



Within the self-regulated learning literature, motivation is considered to be an essential feature of students’ self-regulatory processes. Additionally, task affect (i.e., personal objectives and task value) is thought to influence students’ self-regulatory processes; insufficient task affect may lead to failures to self-regulate effectively. In a school setting, task affect is a form of motivation for completing the course tasks in order to attain course-level goals that are inherently valued. In this study, motivation is operationalized as students’ personal objectives and task values, and self-regulation refers to students’ understanding of tasks (also called task interpretation skill) involved in a course. This study investigates changes in students’ task interpretation skill, personal objectives for learning, and task values, if any, while engaged in engineering problem-solving activities in a 2nd-year introductory thermodynamics course. This study also seeks to explore whether patterns exist between students’ task understanding, personal objectives for learning, and task value while engaged in problem-solving activities throughout the course. The findings suggest that, as the semester progressed, both students’ task value for the course and their focus on mastering the course material were continuously developed. Similarly, students’ explicit and implicit task interpretation skills also improved as they engaged in problem-solving activities. However, it was found that implicit task interpretation skill was not developed as fully as explicit task interpretation when solving a complex problem; students seemed to understand 64–77% of the explicit and 39–49% of the implicit information presented to them.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.