Self-regulation (defined in temporal terms) - processes and beliefs that precede, accompany, and follow efforts to learn, which in turn affect subsequent cycles of learning.
Meta-assignments: involve recording one's thinking and actions and "wrappers" (activities and assignments that direct students' attention to self-regulation before, during, and after learning regular course components).
Deep, lasting learning of any subject matter requires self-regulation.
So does critical thinking, because it entails the reflective, questioning examination of one's beliefs, values, conclusions, and thinking processes.
So does the acquisition of skills, whether mental or physical, because productive practice demands objective self-observation and self-evaluation as well as motivation and perseverance.
Self-discipline - Deferring gratification - Starting tasks early instead of procrastinating -
these behaviors and metacognition are the ultimate study skills for every learner, and the ingredients of life success, and today's students have them in short supply.
Learning is about one's relationship with oneself and one's ability to exert the effort, self-control, and critical self-assessment necessary to achieve the best possible results - and about overcoming risk aversion, failure, distractions, and sheer laziness in pursuit or real achievement - this is self-regulated learning.
Major goal of higher education - to create lifelong learners - intentional - independent - self-directed learners - who can acquire, retain, and retrieve new knowledge on their own.
1. Strategic Knowledge - heuristic problem-solving method - knowledge of different learning strategies and heuristics for different types of tasks; steps and algorithms for solving problems; need to plan, monitor, and evaluate learning and thinking; and effective strategies for rehearsal (memorizing) like paraphrasing, summarizing; and organization of material (concept-mapping)
2. Knowledge about cognitive tasks - comprehending directions, assessing the task difficulty, deciding wisely which strategies to use
3. Self-knowledge - knowing one's strengths and weaknesses, judging one's command of the material, knowing what strategies work best for you
Deep, lasting, independent learning requires a range of activities - cognitive, affective, and even physical - that go far beyond reading and listening. It entails:
1. setting learning goals for a class period, assignment, or study session
2. Active listening, taking notes, outlining, visually representing the material
3. Occasionally self-quizzing, reviewing, or writing a summary
Character, or at least some aspects of it, plays a major role in defining self-regulated learning.
Self-control, self-discipline, perseverance, and determination in pursuing long-term goals outweigh IQ.
Perceived task value, a "mastery or learning" goal orientation
Use of proven cognitive learning strategies
Control of study-related behavior and environment
Metacognition: one's conscious control over one's cognitive processes - such as focusing on given input, dialoguing with it, observing one's preoccupations and consequent resistance to novel or conflicting inputs, and reviewing and reflecting on an experience.
The awareness and knowledge about one's own thinking
Self-regulation encompasses the monitoring and managing of one's cognitive processes as well as the awareness of and control over one's emotions, motivations, behavior, and environment as related to learning.
BEHAVIOR - self-discipline, effort, time management, help seeking
ENVIRONMENT - use of technology, task management, sensory inputs
Deliberate Practice - experts engage in countless hours of a systematic practice - breaking down elements of a skill or performance - and with each practice carefully monitoring one's performance to identify errors, no matter how minute, in the elements - then isolate the source of each error and strive to correct it with each subsequent practice - it is long, hard, repetititive work - mentally demanding, emotionally straining, life-engrossing - incorporates self-regulated learning!
Theoretical Roots of Self-Regulation
3 practices to foster students' self-efficacy and learning
1. self-observation and self-monitoring of their performance
2. self-evaluation of their performance against their personal standards and values
3. cognitive, affective, and tangible responses to their performance evaluations, including self-correction
6 other prominent psychological theories:
1. behaviorism - human behavior can be explained in terms of conditioning, without appeal to thoughts or feelings - psychological disorders are best treated by altering behavior patterns
2. phenomenology - science of phenomena as distinct from that of the nature of being - study of consciousness and the objects of direct experience
3. information processing
4. volition - power of using one's will
5. Vygotsky - social development theory - social interaction precedes development - consciousness and cognition are the end product of socialization and social behavior
6. constructivism - learning is an active, constructive process - people actively construct or create their own subjective representations of objective reality - new info is linked to prior knowledge
Self-regulated learning takes place over time:
Before learning session
During learning session
After learning session
Task analysis (goal setting, strategic planning)
Self-motivation beliefs (self-efficacy, expectations, intrinsic interest, goal orientation)
Performance or volitional control
Self-control (use of imagery, self-instruction, attention focusing, application of task strategies)
Self-observation (self-recording, self-experimenting)
Self-judgment (comparison between one’s prior performance, another’s performance, or a standard)
Self-reaction (self-satisfaction, motivation, adaptive/defensive adjustments)
Emotional control – essential part of self-regulated learning
Benefits of self-regulated learning:
Self-efficacy theory: a sense of control, choice, and volition enhances a person’s motivation to perform a task
Self-regulation also contains elements of character and no doubt builds intellectual character. It fosters responsibility, introspective honesty, self-examination, and the pursuit of improvement.
The ability to defer gratification while young, has profound effects on adult behavior and abilities. It fosters goal setting, planning, self-esteem, ego resiliency, stress management, educational attainment, and social and cognitive competency.
Meta-assignments: metacognitive assignments in which students monitor and document their own thinking and actions in completing content-based assignments.
Wrappers: activities and assignments that direct students’ attention to self-regulation before, during, and after regular course components.
Observing a model ‘talking out’ a self-regulatory process may be the first stage of skill acquisition for students, but they must then engage in activities or assignments to develop their nascent skills. To the extent possible, these tasks should be worth something toward the course grade. Giving credit drives home to students the importance we give to learning how to learn, and it need not take more than a few minutes of our time.
Learning how to learn is worthy.
Self-assessment of self-regulated learning skills
Self-assessment on course knowledge and skills
Laying the foundation
Students rarely interact with the text – we need to help our students strengthen their reading comprehension, efficiency, persistence, and retention.
Flip the Classroom: replace as many readings and live lectures as possible with video- and audio-recorded presentations for homework.
Self-testing of recall
SQ3R – survey, question, read, recall, review
PQR3 – preview, question, read, recite, review
Survey/preview: thumb through it first, finding what it is about, looking at headings, subheadings, bolded or italicized words.
Graphics amplify text!
Flowcharts, diagrams, maps, icons, geometric shapes, symbols, outcomes map that takes form of a flowchart.
While highly skilled readers like academics do not notice it, reading text requires recognizing and translating complex patterns of black lines and curves into words, then grouping these words to make meaning. This process takes longer and involves greater effort for students, especially for those with little background in the discipline or who are reading in their nonnative language. Furthermore, many more black lines and curves are needed to communicate something in text than in a visual. Of course, text offers more detail and specificity, but to retain abstract material on a deep level, the mind has to simplify it, strip out unnecessary detail, and organize it into a quasi-visual structure anyway.
Mind mapping: concept maps/mind maps
Lectures: Can hold student attention when delivered dynamically, organized logically, and broken up intermittently by brief activities during which the students apply, analyze, or otherwise work with the new content they just received.
At the end of a 15-25 min minilecture, display a slide with a multiple-choice item testing students’ conceptual understanding of the content with 4 to 5 options – takes 3 min for 1 or 2 questions.
Turning student errors into learning opportunities
Have students write an error analysis of every problem solution they do not complete or get wrong
The students should identify the reasons that they did not obtain the correct answer
The students should then successfully solve it and a similar problem
Also, the students could jot down a few words about their confidence level right after they read a problem and again after they think they have solved it or have given up on solving it
In-class activity: Think Aloud – one student talks out his process of solving a problem while the other records his strategy and guides him as needed. Then the partners switch roles for the next problem
A “fuzzy” problem is embedded in a realistic, troublesome situation and complex enough to defy a clearly correct solution
While multiple solutions exist and some may be better than others, they all exact trade-offs – maximizing some values while undermining others – and present risk and uncertainty
While the regular assignment may be to develop, present, and justify the best solution to the problem, the equally important meta-assignment is for students to describe the steps of the process they followed in arriving at their solution and judging it as the best
While our interest in meta-assignments is to foster self-regulated learning, they can also serve as a classroom assessment technique (CAT) called documented problem solutions
Collections of cost-free cases and PBL websites:
Offers rich opportunities for self-regulation
Electronic format - ePortfolio
Self-regulated learning from exams and quizzes
Look at them as both summative and formative – occasions for feedback, correction, and improvement as well as grades
Activities and assignments to prepare for exams
Students rate their confidence level on this scale
Not at all
Activities during an exam
Rate your cognitive level
Knowledge and comprehension
Structure of the material, analogy, hierarchy
Activities and assignments after exams and quizzes
Post graded exam self-assessment
Along with the graded exams, give students a form with open-ended questions:
Posttest analysis – test autopsy – test postmortem
4 common reasons:
Post exam activities prompt students to examine more than their grade and to glean diagnostic and learning value from their errors. In particular, post exam activities help students identify and take responsibility for their own strategic mistakes and shortfalls preparing for and taking exams. In turn, students begin to internalize their locus of control. Moreover, these exam wrappers benefit the students who need the most help – the underprepared, lowest-achieving students, who rank lowest in self-regulated learning skills and have the most to gain by acquiring them.
Frequent, regularly scheduled assignments and activities
Occasional reflective writing
On any schedule
Deferring gratification is a form of self-regulatory behavior, and procrastination is a form of self-regulatory failure.
Learning how to defer gratification is key to life success
Chronic procrastination hinders success
Setting the stage for student success – set the stage for student achievement in your course from the first day of class by creating conditions that lower students’ stress level, foster their motivation, and enhance their self-efficacy. Therefore, consciously establish a positive atmosphere of emotional safety, encouragement, trust, and support. Get to know your students and let them get to know you. Learn and use their names. Convey openness, approachability, and warmth. Be animated and enthusiastic. Smile. Display your sense of humor, your enjoyment of teaching, and your passion for your discipline. Help students get to know one another with icebreakers and in-class group activities and build a sense of community.
Encouraging deferred gratification
Saves them from a lot of irritation and misery as well as enhances their chances for success socially, psychologically, educationally, and eventually, financially.
Implementing instructor strategies
Helping students overcome procrastination
Heightening students’ self-awareness – procrastination involves self-deception and often deception of others as well
Because of the self-deception, denial, and anxiety underlying procrastination, some students avoid admitting the behavior. Therefore, as you launch your intervention program, you need to raise students’ self-awareness by familiarizing them with the signs of procrastination
Implementing instructor strategies
Five-step plan for die-hard procrastinators by Burns
Beyond time management
Closing the course opening
Stand-alone closing activities and assignments
Bringing course to a close
Not for grading
(Hold students accountable by cold calling on individuals, pairs, or groups to report out)
For grading with a rubric
For Specifications Grading
Past examples of Specs Grading
Specs grading of self-regulated learning assignments
Broader uses of specs grading
How much to count self-regulated learning assignments
Beginning of the course
During the course
End of course
Your outcomes and your syllabus
Sarah Nilsson, J.D., Ph.D., MAS
602 561 8665
You can also fill out my
The information on this website is for EDUCATIONAL purposes only and DOES NOT constitute legal advice.
While the author of this website is an attorney, she is not YOUR attorney, nor are you her client, until you enter into a written agreement with Nilsson Law, PLLC to provide legal services.