Self-Regulated Learning and Academic Achievement: Theoretical Perspectives

By Barry J. Zimmerman; Dale H. Schunk | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
Theories of Self-Regulated Learning and Academic Achievement: An Overview and Analysis

Barry J. Zimmerman

City University of New York

Theory and research on self-regulated academic learning emerged in the mid-1980s to address the question of how students become masters of their own learning processes. Neither a mental ability nor an academic performance skill, self-regulation refers instead to the self-directive process through which learners transform their mental abilities into task- related academic skills. This approach views learning as an activity that students do for themselves in a proactive way, rather than as a covert event that happens to them reactively as a result of teaching experiences. Self- regulated learning (SRL) theory and research are not limited to asocial forms of education, such as discovery learning, self-education through reading, studying, programmed instruction, or computer-assisted instruction, but can include social forms of learning such as modeling, guidance, and feedback from peers, coaches, and teachers. The key issue defining learning as self-regulated is not whether it is socially isolated, but rather whether the learner displays personal initiative, perseverance, and adaptive skill in pursuing it. In this initial chapter, I discuss selfregulation theories as a distinctive approach to academic learning and instruction historically and then identify their common features. Finally, I briefly introduce and compare seven prominent theoretical perspectives on self-regulated learning—operant, phenomenological, information processing, social cognitive, volitional, Vygotskian, and cognitive constructivist approaches—in terms of those common features. In the chapters that follow, each theoretical perspective is discussed at length

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