Academic journal article New Waves

Towards Lifelong Learning: Identifying Learner Profiles on Procrastination and Self-Regulation

Academic journal article New Waves

Towards Lifelong Learning: Identifying Learner Profiles on Procrastination and Self-Regulation

Article excerpt

Introduction

To develop a mindset for lifelong learning, Singapore's Ministry of Education (MOE) has devised a New Framework for the 21st century-students should possess lifelong learning goals and life-ready competencies such as creativity and innovation. It is our collective vision that every student will become a confident person, a self-directed learner, an active contributor and a concerned citizen (MOE, 2010). From an educational initiative to a pedagogical paradigm, it is increasingly important to foster a culture of lifelong learning and help students embrace a mindset for lifelong learning. Lifelong learning is defined as "the competence for learning throughout one's lifetime, a domain-specific competence that requires motivation and self-regulated learning" (Lüftenegger et al., 2015, p. 2). Lifelong learning is also "a natural propensity of human beings to continue to learn" (McCombs, 1991, p. 120). As such, a lifelong learner is motivated and selfregulated. By taking ownership of learning, students experience a sense of autonomy and the joy of mastery that is inherent to lifelong learning.

Lifelong learning is primarily a topic for personal development, further education, and successful learning. It should be nurtured from an early learning experience into adulthood. Schools have been encouraged to lay cornerstones for preparing students for lifelong learning. Learners should develop the enduring core of competencies, values, and character from young so that they have the resilience to succeed and build a strong foundation for lifelong learning (Ng, 2007; 2013). Nevertheless, it has been challenging for teachers to elicit students' interest and motivation in academic learning. Furthermore, there are limited empirical studies on lifelong learning and motivation, as well as how motivation contributes to lifelong learning.

Empirical studies had shown declining motivation towards learning during their junior high or middle school years (e.g., Woods-McConney, Oliver, McConney, Maor, & Schibeci, 2013). Students tend to control their effort level towards tasks or school assignments. Procrastination refers to putting off or postponing one's task until another day. Procrastination is considered as a motivational strategy of self-handicapping or a deliberate self-motivating strategy whereby students withdraw their effort upon given difficult tasks or procrastination in performing school tasks (Choi & Moran, 2009). Previous research of procrastination has focused on college students (e.g., Chu & Choi, 2005; Rebetez, Rochat, & Van der Linden, 2015). To date, such studies are still limited in the academic contexts of middle and junior high schools.

The present study aimed to uncover an in-depth and meaningful understanding of different learners' behaviors, ranging from adaptive to maladaptive patterns of motivational-cognitive learning, psychological factors and academic achievement. It drew on different clusters to show how these patterns of outcomes might link to student learning, thus providing practical insights to teachers. By profiling diverse learners, this study potentially identified the self-regulation and selfdetermined behaviors of a lifelong learner. To sum, this paper posited a person-centered perspective of diverse learners' profiles and how to foster intrinsic motivation in their academic learning.

Theoretical Framework

Grounded in the self-determination theory (SDT), individuals usually have natural organismic activities and integrative propensities that coordinate them towards satisfaction of needs (Deci & Ryan, 1985). Different individuals will engage in diverse behaviors so as to satisfy their needs. SDT research focuses on three basic psychological needs (i.e., autonomy, competence and relatedness) to predict behavior and various outcomes of individuals. In addition, previous research showed that social-contextual relations have a significant impact on students' motivation, selfregulated learning and achievement in middle and high schools (e. …

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