Purpose: Research has shown students in general do better throughout their post-secondary education if they participated in a First Year Experience (FYE) course. Research questions whether first-year students peform better in face-to-face, online, or blended courses. The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions of first-year health science students in online and blended learning environments and self-regulation, in a FYE course.

Methods: The study utilized educational design and research tools designed to create and improve teaching and learning practices. For the design of the learning environment, analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation (ADDIE) was implemented. Action-based research (ABR) was utilized for analyzing and improving instructional practices. A survey adapted to evaluate self-regulation was used to evaluate perceptions of self-regulation, goal setting, environment, task strategies, time management, help seeking, and self-evaluation and students’ perceptions of instructional modality.

Results: A total of 657 students (online n=295 and blended n=362) consented and participated in the study. Majority of online participants (90%) somewhat agreed to strongly agreed in being efficient in goal setting compared to the blended group at 87%. In the area of environment for studying, 95% of online participants reported having a comfortable, distraction-free environment as compared to the blended group (85%). For the category of learning environment (online vs. blended), 94% of online participants reported being comfortable, compared to 85% in the blended. There was low confidence identified among participants (63%) in the categories of time management, environment, help seeking, and task strategies.

Conclusions: Ways to help students improve and expand their self-regulation skills should be developed in the early years of higher education. The study revealed students were not accessing supplemental resources to aid their learning. Therefore, faculty may need to consider streamlining the supplemental resources made available to students, utilizing the ADDIE model to evaluate their course. Increasing faculty and peer face time, could improve self-regulation skills and make students feel a stronger connection to the learning process and potentially overall academic success.

Author Bio(s)

Michael T. Holik, Ed.D, MS.Ed. is an Associate Professor for West Chester University of Pennsylvania in the Nutrition Department.

Patricia Davidson, DCN, RDN, LDN, CDCES, FAND, CHSE, FADCES is a Professor for West Chester University of Pennsylvania in the Nutrition Department.

54FE588B-F009-41FE-AC22-C0CF05CC3CDE.jpeg (169 kB)
Figure 1 Comparison of Self-Regulation Categories

C82680DD-7BF4-4732-879F-95296F84887D.jpeg (481 kB)
Table 1 Sample Categories of Self-Regulation Questions


Submission Location


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