Academic journal article Education Research International

Affect and Cognitive Interference: An Examination of Their Effect on Self-Regulated Learning

Academic journal article Education Research International

Affect and Cognitive Interference: An Examination of Their Effect on Self-Regulated Learning

Article excerpt

Georgia Papantoniou 1 and Despina Moraitou 2 and Maria Kaldrimidou 1 and Katerina Plakitsi 1 and Dimitra Filippidou 1 and Effie Katsadima 1

Recommended by Bracha Kramarski

1, Department of Early Childhood Education, School of Education, University of Ioannina, 451 10 Ioannina, Greece 2, School of Psychology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 541 24 Thessaloniki, Greece

Received 3 August 2012; Revised 6 November 2012; Accepted 11 November 2012

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

1. Introduction

Self-regulated learning (SRL) is a notion that emphasizes the active role of the learner in setting one's goals to learning and ensuring that the goals set is attained [ 1- 4]. Self regulated learning in academic settings is assumed to consist of skills that are learned, rather than being unchangeable or genetically rooted [ 2]. As a result, various aspects of SRL have often been conceived as being situational and context dependent, while less attention has been devoted to the connection between SRL and individual trait-like characteristics [ 5, 6].

It is generally accepted in SRL research that self-regulation comprises different systems and processes that monitor and control behavior, such as cognition, metacognition, motivation, affect, and volition [ 1, 7, 8]. According to Efklides [ 1] and Winne [ 3] the interactions between different components of SRL can be described either at a macrolevel or at a microlevel. The level of functioning of SRL processes is important because metacognition, motivation, and affect at a macro-level are represented by relatively stable or trait-like person characteristics (e.g., metacognitive knowledge, positive and negative affect, ability beliefs, etc.) [ 2] that function across tasks or situations. In other words, SRL is conceived as domain-specific but at a generalized level (e.g., self-efficacy in mathematics, emotions raised in a specific course, etc.) rather than at the task-specific or micro-level. The macrolevel, or "Person" level according to Efklides [ 1], comprises cognitive, metacognitive, motivational, affective, and volitional person characteristics. In extant research in SRL there has been a lot of emphasis on motivational person characteristics but less so on affective. The "metacognitive and affective model of self-regulated Learning" (the MASRL model) [ 1] posits that there are interrelations between person characteristics and between them and micro-level processes as well. Specifically, affect and motivation are assumed to interact with metacognition, both metacognitive knowledge (MK) and metacognitive strategies (MSs).

Taking into account that there is no exhaustive list of affective person characteristics in the MASRL and that, despite the remarkable progress in the concept of self-regulated learning, there are still several unanswered questions about the role of affect (general moods and specific emotions), which--with the exception of test anxiety [ 9]--is not yet fully comprehensible [ 10, 11], this study conceptualized affect in terms of positive affect, negative affect, and cognitive interference (as one of the cognitive components of test anxiety). Focusing on affect is important because there is a need to clarify its role in SRL.

The interest in this study was also in SRL in terms of the proposed model by Pintrich [ 12] of self-regulated learning comprising three general categories of strategies: cognitive learning strategies, metacognitive control or self-regulatory strategies, and resource management strategies like managing and controlling one's own time, effort, study environment, and so forth. The importance of academic self-regulation is well established in college students, since it has been shown that self-regulated learners' attributes are positively related to their academic achievement and their quality of learning [ 13- 15]. …

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