Engineering students' learning during internships: Exploring the explanatory power of the job demands‐control‐support model

Faculty/Professorship: Economics and Business Education 
Author(s): Goller, Michael; Harteis, Christian; Gijbels, David; Donche, Vincent
Title of the Journal: Journal of Engineering Education
ISSN: 2168-9830, 1069-4730
Publisher Information: Hoboken, NJ : Wiley
Year of publication: 2020
Volume: 109
Issue: 2
Pages: 307-324
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1002/jee.20308
Background: Internships are highly relevant learning experiences for engineering students. However, such practice-based learning settings must be carefully designed to allow their learning potential to unfold.
Purpose: Exploring the job demands-control-support (JDCS) model, this study aimed to investigate how job demands, job control, and social support affect interns' use of different learning strategies.
Method: The study utilized data collected from a sample of engineering students (n = 118) who completed a required internship during their degree. The data were analyzed using a structural equation modeling approach including latent factors. Results: Job demands were found to be a relevant and significant driver of students' shared regulation (e.g., asking for feedback), self-regulation (e.g., self-directed use of codified information), efforts to relate theory to practice (e.g., connecting workplace experience with theoretical knowledge), and the absence of avoidance of learning (e.g., lack of adaptation to work situations), but not of external regulation (e.g., asking for help to solve problems). Job con-trol, however, was not found to be a positive or significant driver of student learning. Social support was found to be a relevant and significant predictor of external and shared regulation but not of the other learning activities. Conclusions: This study provided mixed findings regarding key hypotheses central to the JDCS model, generating rather poor evidence supporting it. In fact, job demands, job control, and social support exhibited much less explana-tory power than expected for engineering students' learning during internships.
GND Keywords: Ingenieurstudium ; Praktikum ; Selbstgesteuertes Lernen ; Arbeitsanforderung ; Arbeitskontrolle
Keywords: internships, professional practice, self-regulated learning, informal learning
DDC Classification: 330 Economics  
RVK Classification: QB 300   
Type: Article
Release Date: 17. June 2022