Self-Regulation of Learning

Article excerpt

Self-regulation of Learning This special issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly presents various ways in which self-regulation of learning is assessed at diverse academic levels and how it influences learners and educators in different academic settings. Self-regulation of learning encompasses learners' self-initiated actions to attain important academic goals. Choosing to enact long-term intentions requires learners to focus their attention on setting specific, manageable goals; identify appropriate learning strategies; generate and maintain appropriate levels of motivation; monitor their academic progress; and reflect on their academic improvement and level of satisfaction with their attained goals.

Skilled self-regulated learners generate extraordinary motivational beliefs to secure goal accomplishments. When conflicts arise between pursuing important academic goals and yielding to tempting distractions, they learn how to remain task-focused despite their immediate impulses; they delay gratification. By contrast, less-skilled self-regulated learners are unable and often unwilling to generate appropriate self-efficacy beliefs, interest, task value, and outcome expectancies that could help them successfully attain their predetermined academic goals; they are unable to delay gratification. The differences between these two types of learners may be explained by their unique characteristics such as personal goals, vicarious experiences, history of reinforcement, social modeling, and highly influential environmental and social conditions.

Self-regulation of learning is cyclically initiated when learners set valuable academic goals, select learning strategies, and assess the feelings and motivational beliefs they need to attain the goals. Then, self-regulated learners proceed to self-monitor their goals, beliefs, and use of strategies by comparing their performance with appropriate standards, by seeking necessary help, and by engaging in social and environmental control. Finally, the self-regulation process ends with learners' self-reflection and self-evaluation of how they completed the task.

Since the 1980s, self-regulation of learning has emerged as an important area of research that helps to explain academic success. The seminal work of Albert Bandura transformed self-regulation of learning into a pivotal component of every major academic endeavor. For instance, self-regulation of learning has been found effective in most key areas of human development and learning in school, college, and medical settings, sports and industry, and direct classroom and online instruction.

In this special issue, Kitsantas et al. present data supporting the idea that self-regulation of learning is an important educational process related to Web-Based Pedagogical Tools. The authors describe how college educators can use these tools to promote students' self-regulation. Similarly, Dell addresses the increased benefits of self-regulation of learning strategies among online adult learners. Finally, Artiro and Stephens report a positive association between task value and self-efficacy with students' use of self-regulation learning strategies in online courses. …