Background: Prior research has pointed out that students’ academic well-being has a significant impact on their persistence in their current study, learning experience, academic achievement, and competence development. However, limited studies have explored first-year engineering students’ academic well-being and supportive factors in the field of engineering higher education. To support engineering students to become agentic professionals, it is meaningful to pay close attention to their academic well-being and help them to become purposeful learners at an early stage of their professional development.
Research Question: 1) How can an instrument be developed and validated to characterize the sources of students’ academic well-being in a PBL context? 2) What sources could foster students’ academic well-being in a PBL context? Are there significant differences in age, gender, and discipline as a function of sources of academic well-being?
Methodology: With the guidance of the conceptual framework with the domains of internal and external sources, a survey was designed based on a literature review and conducted in a PBL environment. The survey’s content validity, construct validity, and reliability were tested using expert review, a pilot study, exploratory factor analysis (EFA), and Cronbach’s alpha.
Findings: Supportive sources fostering students’ academic well-being were reported in the factors of personal values, agentic action, interactions within the learning environment, and external support. Comparisons between gender, age, and discipline verified the different impacts of the four factors on fostering academic well-being.