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30-04-2021 | Original Article Open Access

Relationships between medical students’ co-regulatory network characteristics and self-regulated learning: a social network study

Tijdschrift:
Perspectives on Medical Education
Auteurs:
Derk Bransen, Marjan J. B. Govaerts, Dominique M. A. Sluijsmans, Jeroen Donkers, Piet G. C. Van den Bossche, Erik W. Driessen
Belangrijke opmerkingen

Supplementary Information

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s40037-021-00664-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Abstract

Introduction

Recent conceptualizations of self-regulated learning acknowledge the importance of co-regulation, i.e., students’ interactions with others in their networks to support self-regulation. Using a social network approach, the aim of this study is to explore relationships between characteristics of medical students’ co-regulatory networks, perceived learning opportunities, and self-regulated learning.

Methods

The authors surveyed 403 undergraduate medical students during their clinical clerkships (response rate 65.5%). Using multiple regression analysis, structural equation modelling techniques, and analysis of variance, the authors explored relationships between co-regulatory network characteristics (network size, network diversity, and interaction frequency), students’ perceptions of learning opportunities in the workplace setting, and self-reported self-regulated learning.

Results

Across all clerkships, data showed positive relationships between tie strength and self-regulated learning (β = 0.095, p < 0.05) and between network size and tie strength (β = 0.530, p < 0.001), and a negative relationship between network diversity and tie strength (β = −0.474, p < 0.001). Students’ perceptions of learning opportunities showed positive relationships with both self-regulated learning (β = 0.295, p < 0.001) and co-regulatory network size (β = 0.134, p < 0.01). Characteristics of clerkship contexts influenced both co-regulatory network characteristics (size and tie strength) and relationships between network characteristics, self-regulated learning, and students’ perceptions of learning opportunities.

Discussion

The present study reinforces the importance of co-regulatory networks for medical students’ self-regulated learning during clinical clerkships. Findings imply that supporting development of strong networks aimed at frequent co-regulatory interactions may enhance medical students’ self-regulated learning in challenging clinical learning environments. Social network approaches offer promising ways of further understanding and conceptualising self- and co-regulated learning in clinical workplaces.
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