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Discuss the assumptions common to theories of self-regulated learning.

Discuss the assumptions common to theories of self-regulated learning.

Theory and research on self-regulated learning in academic settings have been influenced by various disciplines including management, education, and psychology (e.g., organizational, clinical, cognitive). Theories of self-regulated learning differ in many ways but share common assumptions. One is that self-regulated learning involves being behaviorally, cognitively, metacognitively, and motivationally active in one’s learning and performance (Zimmerman, 2001 ). A second assumption is that self-regulated learning is a dynamic and cyclical process comprising feedback loops (Lord et al., 2010 ). Self-regulated learners set goals and metacognitively monitor their progress toward them. They respond to their monitoring, as well as to external feedback, in different ways to attain their goals, such as by working harder or changing their strategy. Attained accomplishments lead them to set new goals.

Third, goal setting triggers self-regulated learning by guiding individuals’ focus on goal-directed activities and use of task-relevant strategies (Sitzmann & Ely, 2011 ). Goals that include learning skills and improving competencies result in better self-regulated learning than those oriented toward performing tasks (Schunk & Swartz, 1993a ). Lastly is an emphasis on motivation, or why persons choose to self-regulate and sustain their efforts. Motivational variables are critical for learning (Schunk & Zimmerman, 2008 ).

Based on theories and research, Sitzmann and Ely ( 2011 ) formulated a framework of constructs that constitute self-regulated learning, identifying three major types. Regulatory agents initiate self-regulated learning toward its objective, regulatory mechanisms help promote goal progress in an effective manner, and regulatory appraisals provide evaluative information on progress and influence continued goal striving. Sitzmann and Ely’s framework identified one regulatory agent (goal level), six regulatory mechanisms (attention, metacognitive strategies, time management, environmental structuring, motivation, and effort), and two regulatory appraisals (attributions and self-efficacy). These and other self-regulatory processes discussed in this chapter should be viewed as representative of a broader domain of potentially relevant processes.

In recent years, investigators have begun to address the development of self-regulation in groups (Hadwin, Järvelä, & Miller, 2011 ; Järvelä & Hadwin, 2013 ). Co-regulation refers to the coordination of self-regulation competencies among people in social contexts (Hadwin et al., 2011 ; Volet, Vauras, & Salonen, 2009 ). Learners jointly use their skills and strategies to develop new or expanded self-regulatory capabilities considered useful in group or individual contexts. Participants influence one another’s self-regulated learning. Although the context and learning dynamics are social, the outcome is individual learning.

Socially shared regulation refers to interdependent regulatory processes aimed at attaining a mutual outcome (Hadwin et al., 2011 ). In collaborative settings learners contribute their skills toward the goal of developing a self-regulated learning group. Although this chapter focuses on individual self-regulated learning, many of the principles discussed seem appropriate for co-regulated and socially shared regulated learning, both of which could occur in educational learning environments.

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