Award Date

May 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Mary Bondmass

Second Committee Member

Michele Clark

Third Committee Member

Catherine Dingley

Fourth Committee Member

Howard Gordon

Number of Pages



Intentional learning is the process of acquiring skills and attributes that facilitate knowledge attainment and application, and this process may foster learning skills and attributes in nursing students so they may thrive in student-centered nursing curricula and competently practice in today’s dynamic and complex healthcare system. The purposes of this study were to determine 1) if there are any associations between academic achievement and intentional learning and 2) if there is an effect of a nursing concept interview assignment on academic achievement and intentional learning scores in second-semester nursing students.

The majority of studies on intentional learning were quasi-experimental designs providing strong evidence. Positive associations with intentional learning discovered in these studies include higher order thinking, learner satisfaction, efficacy, autonomy, learning how to learn, and self-reflection and evaluation. The interview assignment, developed in the accounting discipline, has demonstrated initial promising results and is adaptable to nursing education as both disciplines have similar end goals to prepare students for practice through professional formation. However, the studies involving the interview assignment did not use an instrument to measure intentional learning, which would strengthen the findings. This study used the Learning Orientation Questionnaire (LOQ), which has demonstrated sound psychometric properties.

The Conceptual Model for Successful Intentional Learning was adapted to guide this study. This model is based on neuroscience research on the limbic system (i.e., emotional center of the brain) and supports the use of individualized approaches to support and teach students. These approaches specifically target areas of need based on the student’s intentional learning ability and foster areas for improvement, such as goal setting, prioritization, reflection, and self-evaluation.

A quasi-experimental, two group (experimental and comparison) pretest/posttest design was used for this study. A convenience sample of 92 students in the second semester of a Bachelor of Science in nursing program in the midwestern United States was used. All students enrolled in a nursing theory course were given a demographic survey and LOQ at the beginning of the second semester. The intervention, a nursing concept interview assignment, occurred throughout the semester with the experimental group only. The LOQ was administered again at the end of the semester to both groups of students to answer research questions one and three. Lastly, final exam scores for all students were analyzed at the end of the semester as a measure of academic achievement to answer research questions one and two.

Respective to the three research questions asked in this study, statistical analyses demonstrated 1) no significant relationship between final examination scores and posttest LOQ scores; 2) significant differences for final examination scores between the comparison and experimental group, with students in the comparison group scoring higher on the final examination (p = .000), which was an unexpected finding; and 3) no interaction effect of time by group and no differences in pretest and posttest LOQ scores between groups after completing the nursing concept interview assignment. Although not a specific research question in this study, it was discovered that LOQ scores significantly increased from the beginning to the end of the semester, regardless of group (p = .039). While the intervention trialed in this study did not influence this change, other interventions and/or factors must be studied to determine how to positively impact intentional learning in nursing students so they gain the characteristics needed for student-centered nursing curricula and practice.


active learning; intentional learning; nursing; nursing education; student centered learning; theory practice gap


Education | Nursing

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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