Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

Self-Regulation in Improving University Education

Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

Self-Regulation in Improving University Education

Article excerpt


Methods of improving university education were investigated. Participants were 15 graduate students in a university in Japan. Each participant alternatively took the role of an instructor and a learner. Self-modeling by watching video-recorded instructional activities, and self-monitoring using the Self-Efficacy and Evaluation Scales were conducted as methods of self-regulation. A survey on classroom instructions revealed that self-modeling and self-monitoring were effective methods of improving instructions. These findings support the contention that self-regulation can play a significant role in improving university education.


Recent psychological and educational studies have focused on self-directed functions of human nature, including self-regulation.

a) Basic human capabilities. Bandura (1989) has suggested that symbolic capability, vicarious capability, forethought capability, self-regulatory capabilities, and self-reflective capability are fundamental human capabilities.

b) Self-regulation. According to the social cognitive theory, humans possess self-directive abilities that enable them to exercise control over their thoughts, feelings, and actions, based on the consequences of their actions. Psychological functioning is, therefore, regulated by an interplay of self-generated and external sources of influences (Bandura, 1986). Self-regulation also encompasses the self-efficacy mechanism that plays a central role in the exercise of human agency (Bandura, 1991).

c) Self-efficacy. Perceived self-efficacy refers to beliefs in one's capabilities to organize and execute courses of action required to produce given attainments (Bandura, 1997). Most studies on instructional self-efficacy have been conducted in the field of elementary and secondary education, whereas only a few studies of higher education have been reported.

d) Modeling and self-modeling. Modeling or observational learning is defined as learning through observing others (Bandura, 1986). New technologies have changed how modeling is conducted and have boosted its instructive power. Self-modeling of successes using videotaped replay has been shown to improve performance (Dowrick, 1983).

Based on psychology and educational technology research on learning and instruction, Itoh (2005) has proposed a new science of "Learning and instructional sciences (LIS)." LIS can clarify learning and instructional phenomena and apply the outcome to human problem solving. LIS treats education as a basic human functioning, and it has broader perspectives than ordinary teaching and learning studies that focus on school education.

LIS emphasizes the significance of self-investigation, which is a general term for investigating ourselves. It encompasses self-regulation, self-efficacy, self-reflection, self-monitoring, self-evaluation, self-esteem, and self-consciousness among others. It is based on the conception of human beings that advocate self-directedness of human nature.

As exemplified by the statement of Socrates' "Know thyself," self-investigation is a basic quest of human beings. It is also a challenge to contemporary psychology that has long been neglecting because certain notions, such as the one that this question is "unscientific." Itoh (1992) has analyzed her own learning processes as a second language learner, measured learning self-efficacy, and developed a video depicting the learning processes. This study has become the starting point of self-investigation in LIS. Itoh (2006) has proposed research methods for self-investigation related to LIS, in which the possibility of using media technologies as objective tools is discussed. These methodologies are expected to shed new light on an old question.

Recent trends in higher education in Japan

In 1991, the Japanese Ministry of Education formulated new policies for the reform of higher education. …

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