Self-regulated Learning: A Narrative Review


Husain Abdulhay


Abstract: Issue of self- versus other-regulation is also diligently stressed and applied in contemporary education so as to put person at the helm of situation, not a pawn at the mercy of circumstances. In the same vein, this study aims to draw attention to a newly developed concept of learning which overemphasizes the role of individual learner in attunement of his thought, emotions and strategies to accelerate and escalate the extent of his acquisition. To do so, an overview of this new phenomenon known as self-regulated learning is given at first and evidence attesting to the fruitfulness and utility of such strategy is dispensed in the following.

Keywords: Self-regulated learning, motivation, cognition, metacognition, context


Self-regulated learning (henceforth SRL) emerged as a result of inquisitiveness into “how students become master of their own learning” (Zimmerman and Martinez-Pons, 1990, p.4). It has been eventuated from inquiry into the process of learning by those learners who have been assiduous and triumphant in their learning despite hindrances to their efforts (ibid).

Self-regulation has gained momentum in educational psychology consonant with constructivism approach to learning to attend more to the role of individual learner and his/her needs for better management of his/her learning. Research in educational domain is likewise exploiting this advancement by highlighting all aspects of individuals which are worth the investigation and consideration for an effective learning to occur.  This prompted researchers to pedagogically extend an operational definition for self-regulated learning.

Self-regulation has come to the fore as learner’s responsibility for learning and taking active role for constructing his own knowledge is much more acknowledged and promulgated in developmental education. Contemporary education acknowledges the centrality of learner and learner’s development and seeks to lend assistance to advance this development by considering all aspects of learning and teaching affecting learners’ progress. Knowledge is not any more transmitted to acquirers; rather, it is obtained in a way, bound and determined by learners, to actualize this entity.

Learners are much more valued in the contemporary educational system in so far as their roles as the builders of knowledge are more gratified. SRL is congruent with constructivism and learner-centered education.  Self-regulated learning is in parallel with constructivist view of learning and teaching in that it puts learner at the epicenter of learning and construction of knowledge and, hence, it merits more heed in contemporary education. Constructivism underscores the importance of individual self in building meaning (Vygotsky, 1978). Learner acts out as an umpire of feeding inlet of knowledge to them.

Disassociation from text-based education and moving towards constructivism seeks learners to be independent self-regulative learners and this is much sooner accomplished in a milieu which supports and provides sufficient altitude for learners to experience and implement their skills and strategies to self regulate their learning. Teachers can provide enough leeway for learners to participate and engage by creating an environment which is secure to experience and maneuver over their learning. Cultivating  a milieu which is encouraging and motivating allow for experiencing and implementing skills and strategies more willingly and get feedback for establishing and if deemed necessary altering their strategies to learn more effectively.

Literature aims to spur teachers and practitioners to reckon at learners’ responsibilities and decision making, congruent with constructivism and schism from transmission of knowledge, rote learning, and spoon-feeding schools of teaching.





Self-regulated learning has been in the limelight over the last three decades. It has grabbed attentions among academics and psychologists. It stems from educational psychology and percolates in educational and non-educational studies and instruction. SRL has attracted many fields from psychology to mathematics, health, sport, medic, technology, policy making, and language education. Myriad empirical and non empirical studies exist concerning educational and non educational self-regulation learning.

Effect of self-regulatory strategies on academic success has been well established in many studies (Pintrich & De Groot, 1990; Pintrich, 1990; Zimmerman, 1990). Self-regulated learners indulge much higher self-propulsion in their learning in comparison with those who do not self-regulate. Zimmerman and Martinez-Pons (1990) refer to a growing body of correlational research which denotes higher achievements with greater usage of learning strategies by self- regulated learners than with little utilization of self-directed learning strategies.

Wolters, A. C. (2010) in a review study entitled the relation between the 21st Century and self-regulated learning (SRL), with reference to multiple studies, evinced that however forging students into a self-regulated learner establishes the stepping-stone to volition, motivation, and self-management in them, transferable also to contexts outside of school.

Effect of schooling on the different dimensions of self-regulated learning has been examined in different fields of study. Leutwyler, Bruno & Maag Merki, Katharina (2009) in a longitudinal study extending for almost two years in gymnastic school revealed significant effect of schooling on development of self-regulatory capacity of young learners.

Pratontep and Chinwonno (2008) scrutinized the self-regulated learning strategies of 30 Thai university students in a reading comprehension program. The results uncloaked significant differences between the students’ English reading comprehension, divided into upper and lower level groups based on their competencies in reading comprehension,  especially for the lower level group, in pre- and post-test. Students reported frequent use of metacognitive and performance regulation strategies through the self-regulated learning interview schedule. The students in upper level group actively used self-regulated learning strategies more often than the lower level did to regulate their metacognition and performance. Furthermore, the students’ verbal protocols of reading unveiled the use of self-regulated learning strategies in the performance or volitional control phase more often than in the forethought or self-reflection phases.

The positive effects of interventions studies designed to promote students’ SRL have now been well established. Training programs are carried out and pilot tests are conducted as part of the syllabus or running experiments to enhance self-regulated learning. Cleary and Zimmerman (2004) present an anecdote of a cyclical model of academic self-regulation in a case study program to highlight the primary processes and techniques used by an self-regulation coaching (henceforth SRC) working with a 12-year-old Caucasian student and, eventually, to empower her self-regulation skills. The program was sprouted from social-cognitive theory and research and integrated many of the essential features of the problem-solving model. Interventions used in the Self-regulation empowerment program (SREP) comprising making graphic, cognitive modeling and coaching, and structured practice sessions. The SRC assessed Anna’s motivational profile as well as how she used strategies to self-regulate her learning according to triadic phases of self-regulation and, at the end, after getting a feeble grade in the tests she was offered an intervention approach in an individualized training program to teach her to set goals, to record in person the performance processes (i.e., strategies used) and outcomes (i.e., test grades), and to evaluate goal progress and strategy effectiveness. The intervention programs at the end endorsed her improved test score of 90 as a result of her newly acquired study strategies.

The training program much attended to the psychological side of Anna and encouraged her to press in and press on by recording and monitoring her progress with the help of delivered self-regulation strategies taught by her coach. Taking more responsibility for her learning and modifying her beliefs and motivating herself helped Anna to elevate her grades in school. The studies bear robust evidence of the positive effects of SRL instructional programs on children’s academic achievement. It must also be mentioned that training programs will benefit more students and even educators when they are implemented concurrent with other academic interventions or social programs and when they consider all aspects of learners (affective, cognitive, motivational and cultural) and learning settings and self-regulation stages cannot be applied in a rigid way to every  learning activity (ibid).

Causal-effect study carried out by Liu (2008) showed that self-regulatory capacity of learners can predict learners’ self-perceptions in English achievement that in practice affects their successes. This notifies how the enrichment of self-regulatory capacities in the forms of perceptions and beliefs assists learners to attain success.





Self-regulated learning is a composite concept encapsulating besides cognitive and metacognitve strategy also motivation and affection in its framework. Currently, self-regulation is recognized as an amalgamation of cognition, metacognition, motivation and emotion. Zimmerman (1989) posits that the learner’s decisive self-management of environment, behavior, and personal processes is the most visible indicator of a learner’s degree of self-regulation.

Self-regulated learning with its broadened definition is “multi-component, iterative, self-steering processes that target one’s own cognitions, feelings, and actions, as well as features of the environment for modulation in the service of one’s own goals” (Boekaerts and Karoly, 2005).

Paris and Paris (2001) identify self-regulated learning in its three words as the mobilization of autonomy and control by the individuals steering and regulating their actions toward attainment of the goals.

While self-regulation is defined in its discourse meaning as control process of learning, academic self-regulation is identified as proactively active participation of learners in the process of learning.Theorists have their own set interpretation of self-regulated learning contingent upon tradition and schools they’ve adopted for learners’ learning processes.

The terms “self-regulation” and “self-control” are being used interchangeably, albeit some subtle distinctions are drawn by different researchers. Some use the term self-regulation more broadly to refer to goal-directed behavior whereas “self-control” may be associated specifically with conscious impulse control (Baumeister and Vohs, 2004). To Schmeichel and Baumeister (2004), self-regulation associates well with both conscious and unconscious alteration of responses by the self, while “self-control” implies a more explicit and cognizant process of response alternation. By the same token, it can be said that through self-regulation learners wages into acting of the self to change its own responses.

Zimmerman (1990) asserts that however self-regulated learning  is defined differntly according to adopted theoretical orientations by different  researches but the commen conceptualization shared among them is that self-regulated learners are cognitively, metacognitively, motivationally and behaviorally predisposed to accomplish their goals . To become self-regulated learner means that one becomes adept in orientating his/her learning to reach his/her own goals despite cognitive, motivational and emotional impediments. Self-regulation enacts as an interim gadget for optimizing learning and expediting process of goal achievement. Paris and Paris (2001) propound that each person builds his/her own theory of self-regulation.

Self-regulation appeals for heeding the interplay of context and individual behavior (Bandura, 1986). Many instruments and methods exist and are developed to understand self-regulation (e.g. the Learning and Strategies Study Inventory to assess self-regulation strategies in general; LASSI (Weinstein, 1987) , Scale of English Self-Regulated Learning Strategies originated by Wang, Wang, and  Li, 2007 and Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire, MSLQ originated by Pintrich, Smith, Garcia & McKeachie (1993).





SRL is examined against various theoretical perspectives for the inclusion of many facets of control and learning (Paris and Paris, 2001). They name Piaget’s constructivist theory, Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory, social learning theories, and information-processing theories as the central tenets of these theoretical perspectives to study SRL. Zimmerman (1989) expounds it in terms of phenomenological, social cognitive, Vygotskian and cognitive constructivist theories and volitional.

The most prominent theory which overshadows the self-regulation studies and research is Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory (Zimmerman and Schunk, 1989). Zimmerman (1995), the avant-garde author on self-regulated learning, pursues social cognitive theory to study self-regulation.

However, social cognitive theory has illuminated self-regulated learning studies by providing a holistic backdrop against which the self processes are enacted. It seeks to emphasize reciprocal interactions between the environment, the person, and his/her behavior (Bandura, 1997). It purveys a theoretical framework to scrutinize learning in its real context. All the contributors, inside and outside of the individual learners, to control and regulate learning is encapsulated in social cognitive theory. Learners, in this theory, are identified with their thorough dimensions in which their thoughts, feelings and actions interact reciprocally in an integrating and molding environment to generate the desired learning.

Social cognitive theory addresses the interrelationship between the learner, the learners’ behaviors, and the social environment of classroom (Bandura, 1997). Social cognitive theory expounds on how learners’ properties are influenced by characteristics of learning environment. It represents a broad spectrum of the factors which influence the learners and learning processes.  With the help of the theory researchers are enabled discern umbilical nexus between the learners and learning environment. The consideration of environment in determining actual learning is urged by social cognitive theory, an assumption akin to Vygotscian view of learning, to swerve the riveted attention on the sole studies of cognitive individual development.

Social cognitive theory regards contextual or situational variables as potent contributors to students’ motivation and self-regulation than personal attributes.  It implies in a sense that the context is influential in individual’s cognitive, behavioral and motivational processes of learning. In this view, the individual’s self-regulated learning is not seen as a stable trait in all situations. However it is liable to alternation and change over the course of time and leaned upon different settings. So as a result of the application of this theory to education, self-motivational beliefs and behaviors will vary depending on the nature of educational setting or the specific tasks which learners are required to do.

There are many models of self-regulated learning each of which originates from a different theoretical perspective. In the domain of academic studies many models of self-regulation have been projected, each of which traces back and is imputed to a different theoretical approach, which categorically overlap in their construct and conceptualization (Wolters 2010). The following showcases some, the most prominent of which is the Zimmerman’s model.


  1. The Personal Responsibility Orientation model set forth by Brockett and Hiemstra (1991)
  2. The Effort Management Hierarchy model developed by Thomas and Rohwer (1993)
  3. Zimmerman’s three-phase self-regulation model (Zimmerman, 1990)


The Personal Responsibility Orientation model set forth by Brockett and Hiemstra (1991) places self-direction in learning as an overriding theme with two related sub-dimensions. There exists the following two constructs under the umbrella of self-direction: (a) self-directed learning which incorporates the concepts of the adult learner and teaching-learning process set forth by Knowles, and (b) learner self-direction which focuses on characteristics internal to the individual that incline person toward taking self-initiated onus.

According to Thomas and Rohwer (1993), the effort management hierarchy model is based on four hierarchical levels of study activity. These activities include monitoring, self-regulation, planning and evaluating. Thomas and Rohwer purport that learner self-direction occurs in a continuum of activities which range from awareness of needs to individual control of one’s study efforts including concentration, time and effectiveness of learning. They add that the key to self-directed learning is regulation and remediation.

Zimmerman’s triadic self-regulation model introduces self-regulation as a cyclical process involving learner assessment and feedback of personal, behavioral, and environmental factors during three phases of the learning process: (a) the forethought phase during which goal setting and social modeling occur; (b) performance control during which the learner compares their performance to that of other learners and provides self-instruction regarding learning strategy; and (c) self-reflection, the stage of self-evaluation, resultant feedback, and self-reward for performance success (Schunk, 2001).

Pintrich (2000) proposes four assumptions for self-regulation and learning:

The first assumption, active constructive assumption, assumes that all acquirers be active, efficient participants in the learning process. Learners subsume new material and anchor it based on previously internalized information to establish individualized meaning, purposes, and strategies. Secondly, control potential is the assumption that learners have the ability to self-manage their thought processes, motivation and behavior and the environment. Third, goal assumption, assumes that learners set goals and self-regulate their efforts by monitoring thought processes, behavior, and motivation en route to reaching those goal. The fourth assumption, mediation, recognizes the role of learners’ personal, behavioral, and environmental self-regulation processes of learning for adjusting mercurial volatility of the individual, the learning context and goal attainment (ibid).

Paris and Paris (2001) extended a developmental metaphor of self-regulation based on socio-cultural model of learning in which students develop competencies and become more self-regulated. In this model of learning Piagetian tenet is also applied in which behaviors are molded and organized through participation of learners in zone of proximal development and self-regulation is an adaptive representation of this organization demonstrated in a situation than a set of skills to be learnt (ibid.).





Metacognition is considered as an effective strategy for putting self-regulation into effect. Positive direct effects of metacognitive self-regulation on deep learning strategies and on self-regulatory strategies was sealed by Al-Harthy and Was (2010).

Metacognition is ken about cognition and regulation of cognition. It refers to ability to mull over and control ones’ own learning (Flavell, 1979, 1981). Knowledge about cognition encompasses three sub-processes facilitating reflective aspect of meta-cognition: declarative, procedural and conditional knowledge. Regulation of meta-cognition includes planning, monitoring, debugging and evaluation of strategies. The metacognitive self-regulation component refers to the awareness of and control over the cognitive processes.

Susimesta (2006), in an attempt to identify the theoretical and empirical boundary line between self-regulation, self-regulated learning and metaconition, concluded that drawing a boundary line between cognition skills and strategies and metacognition skills and strategies is sometimes difficult. Dinsmore, Alexander, and Loughlin (2008), by rehashing and dissecting 225 studies, found that metacognition is so pertained to cognitive orientation while self-regulation more to human action. Duckworth, K., Akerman, R., MacGregor A.,Salter, E., & Vorhaus , J. (2009) endorse that cognitive and non-cognitive skills are entwined.

Zimmerman and Martinez-Pons (1990) purport that, students who are mecognitivley aware show a better performance and are more strategic than those learners who are less informed of. Not to mention, many of the metacognitive knowledge and skills are not necessarily and specifically taught in classroom. As Elliot (1999) puts it, students mould their ideas and reactions gradually and only after undergoing many challenging learning.


However, there is some inconsistency between findings in some researches. Pokay and Blumenfeld (1990) evidenced the negative relationship between meatcognitive strategy use and achievement. To quote Zimmerman (1995, p. 217), “it is one thing to possess metacognitive knowledge and skill but another thing to be able to self-regulate its use in the face of fatigue, stressors, or competing attractions”.





According to Boekaerts, M. (1999) most studies have focused on modifying cognitive dimensions of self-regulation for optimal learning to happen than those of affection, motivation and performance. Zimmerman (1995) claims that self regulation is more than metacognitive ken and thinking skills. It concerns with self efficacy beliefs and the sense of agency and going through motivational and behavioral processes to effectuate the in-place beliefs. However, self-regulation is comprised of a convoluted system of social, motivational and behavioral processes that is inaugurated by individual referenced to self-factor (ibid). He persuades and prevails on researchers to traverse metacognitive knowledge and skill to consider more the motivational and behavioral processes underlying self-efficacy and personal agency for effectuating these self beliefs.

Reaserch  in domain of strategy instruction denotes that strategy awareness is good predictor of learners‘ use of strategies but motivatioenal belief of lerners is good indicator of putting these strategies into use. Motivational studies of self-regulation are escalating as motivational beliefs play a significant part in deployment of metacognitive strategies (Wolters C, A. & Pintrich P, R. 1998;Young, 2005).

Studies on motivation and strategies demonstrate a close link between motivational beliefs and use of strategies. Existing research has documented positive relations between students’ academic self-efficacy and their use of self-regulation strategies (Schunk, 2005). In an early schooling study, Pintrich and De Groot (1990) found that middle school students’ self-efficacy beliefs were positively related to their cognitive engagement and academic performance. The findings documented that school children who believed they were capable of learning were more likely to report use of SRL strategies and to persist longer at difficult academic tasks.

Paulsen and Gentry (1995) examined the relationships among motivational variables (intrinsic and extrinsic goal orientation, task value, control of learning, test anxiety, and self-efficacy), cognitive learning-strategy subcategories (rehearsal, elaboration, and organization), self-regulation subscales (time, study, and effort), and students’ academic performance (final grade) in an Introduction to Financial Management course. They found that all motivational variables were significantly related to the academic performance, final grade in the course, where path analysis revealed the self-efficacy as the strongest predictor of performance.

Motivational beliefs act as cantilevers which strengthen the suspensions of attitudes to sustain effort and persistence for finalizing the goal. Self-regulated learner is tantamount to a self-efficacious learner who persists in his beliefs despite worries and has the adequate will to strive to attain his goals. Self-regulated learner is tantamount to a self-efficacious learner who persists in his beliefs despite worries and has the adequate will to strive to attain his goals. Research denotes that effective self-regulation is pivoted on students’ sense of self-efficacy for self-regulating their learning and taking on actions (Schunk, 1995).






SRL is conceptualized as a dynamic process enhanced by some contextual features (Boekaerts and Corno, 2005). Social cognitive theory sets great store by interrelated interaction of the environment, the person, and his or her behavior (Bandura, 1986). Social cognitive theorists postulate that student’ social experiences in learning environment, particularly their interactions with teachers, can affect self-regulated learning (Zimmerman, 1989).  An allover calibration of the factors influencing learning overshadowed by social cognitive theory has helped researchers and educators to scrutinize self-regulated learning much scrupulously.

Myriad studies of strategy instruction have shown that cognitive practices along side with non-cognitive support result in higher attainments. Pintrich and De Groot (1990) believe that the importance of classroom contextual factors for instigating key enablers of learning, viz. ‘will’ and ‘skill’ represented as older cognitive models of learning, to succeed is irrefutable.

Zimmerman (1997) recognizes environmental determinants as physical and social attributions. Social experiences in learning are like autonomy support, feedback to self-evaluate, leaner-centered. Influence and contribution of learning and teaching context and domains can be examined at three levels of macro (school) micro (classroom) and personal (individual level) and this study only considers the social aspects of learning and teaching at micro levels. Physical attributions are facilities, equipments, arrangement of classroom and et cetera.

There are multitudes of studies that vindicate the irrefutable effect of the contextual factors on developing self-regulatory capacity of learners (Cleary and Zimmerman, 2004; Lin, 2004; Perry, 1998; Sungur and Gungoren, 2009; Wolters and Pintrich 1998; Yen, 2005; Young, 2005). In a correlational study conducted by Yen (2004) the strength of association between student-teacher interactions and self-regulated learning(r =.36, p <.01) was found to be large which endorsed once again the constructive role of teachers in creating a setting conducive to fostering and spurring student’s self-regulated learning. Young ( 2005) in a study aiming to fathom motivational effect of the classroom environment in facilitating self-regulated learning  found that delivery with high interaction, encouraging feedback, and clear goals that emphasize learning over grades will augment intrinsic motivation and the use of self-regulated learning strategies. Leutwyler and Merki (2009) conducted a longitudinal study in an ecologically valid setting of 20 public and two private high schools in Switzerland (Gymnasium, ISCED 3A) without specific training programs.  The results showed the significant effects of schooling and instructional processes on students’ progress in self-regulated learning though differing in degree of stability contingent upon different features of the school and instructional process. The development of many aspects of cognitive and metacognitive self-regulation was impacted by school process variables, to a greater degree, than students’ extra-curricular experience. The findings implied the effect of various social and didactical factors on the promotion of self-regulation of cognitive, metacognition and motivation. Cognitive and metacognitive self-regulation variances explained by these variables ranged between 1.8 % for transformation strategies and 5.3 % for monitoring strategies and evaluation strategies. Perceived social inclusion played an important role in the positive development of practically all dimensions of motivational self-regulation (βmin = .131; p < .05). With regard to the didactic aspects of classroom instruction, requiring students to elaborate frequently promoted the development of intrinsic motivation (β = .089; p < .05) while teachers’ use of a process orientation showed no effect at all and high self-reliance of learners had a demonstrable effect on only one single case. The degree of transferring orientation in teaching (measured using the scale “elaboration”) illustrated the positive relations with the development of cognitive and metacognitive self-regulation. Only one association between motivational self-regulation and teachers’ use of transfer orientation was demonstrable in isolated cases only. Gender had impacts only on some aspects of cognitive and metacognitive self-regulation, explaining between 12.8 % and 25.3 % of the variance for monitoring strategies and transformation strategies and explained much of the variances in motivational self-regulation both of which accounted for students’ starting conditions.

Critical role of specific contextual and situational variables on students’ motivation and self-regulation has been attested in recent studies. (Lin, Xi-zhe 2004; Linnenbrink & Pintrich, 2002; Young, 2005; Zimmerman, 1989). Classroom environment contributing to students’ motivation and autonomy to have opportunity and take responsibility for personal experience is recommended by Paris and Paris (2001).

Many aspects of learning environment like autonomy support in the form of providing choices and opportunity, teaching programs, teaching approaches, student-teacher interaction, and motivational beliefs have been found to contribute to fostering and development of this skill (Ames, 1992; Lin, 2004).

The optimal conditions for developing self-regulation occur when children and young people have an opportunity to pursue goals that they themselves find meaningful; they will also be invited to develop their skills by selecting their own activities, taking initiative, engaging in challenging and co-operational learning experiences and making their own decisions (Boekaerts and Corno, 2005). Self-regulation, as an indivisible compartment of such professional development, is emphasized by social constructivist theory. This means that knowledge is constructed through social interaction and is a shared experience rather than an individual one (Vygotsky, 1978). Teachers need to be involved in sharing and reflecting on their practices with their colleagues. Teachers leading a solitary practice may not be aware of the need to make changes in their instructional perspectives. Teachers’ collaboration with one another has been widely studied as a remedy to the isolation that many teachers experience. Butler, et al., (2004) propound that cooperation creates a professional learning community that holds members accountable while sustaining momentum during “inevitable challenges”.

Classroom environment contributing to students’ motivation and autonomy to have opportunity and take responsibility for personal experience is recommended by Paris and Paris (2001). So as for learners’ self-regulated learning a supporting and empowering environment is likewise required to be designed and implemented by teachers and educators to motivate learners to deploy self-regulatory strategies.

Harrison and Prain (2009) conducted a case study on 11 year 8 students’ self-regulation of learning beliefs and practices in two English task completion and engagement within an 11 month schooling program influenced by the learning and teaching processes, contextual, organizational factors in an Australian regional secondary school context with a low socio-economic origin. Students were questioned on affective and cognitive strategy uses after completing tasks by the authors and teachers after two or three weeks. students reported use of self-regulatory strategies by honing independent  learning through constructing an environment that cater for their differences in interest and also by harnessing structure of the class  and learning and teaching process.


The research comprised part of a tri-schooling study project to obtain self-regulatory capacities of students on lessons, within and in pursuit of task completion activities, by classroom observations and interviewing learners and teachers. Their perceptions and strategies were noted these were coded as the springboard for the further analysis on the self-regulatory development patterns. Engagement was operationalized in respect of cognitive, emotional and behavioral processes.  Within task completion, interview yielded that learners reported affective responses to the tasks and use of strategies.

Among 11 participants, nine showed sundry self-regulatory tactics, alacrity to take responsibility for executing the tasks, seeking help from teachers and classmates and  peer learning and happiness on achieving set goals and also managements of their own times. One of the participants, Albert, having gone through inquiry into his failure on task completion revealed that he had difficulty in implementing the strategies he had shown at other skills than school work at which he was good.

Experiencing transformed organization of the class in a new learning community and teacher’s expectation of students to work independently in inquiry time had significant impact on student’s perceptions and subsequently on their self-regulatory practices. The new learning community brought with it the convolution of each specific environment which had an enabling effect on students’ developments. Support of teachers showed significantly the improvement of self-regulatory strategies. Unscheduled syllabuses in the new learning community dissipated the monotony of the activities while provoking some uncertainty and anxiety over what will come next but axiomatically offering more challenge and responsibility and providing more opportunity in the new environment.

Results had some implications for future reinforcement of self-regulatory capacity of schoolchildren students through caring for students’ differences, providing non-rigid and positive non-competing learning environment, more accurate learning evaluative system, and support for teachers to meet student’s need collaboratively.






Self-regulated learning has been introduced in education taking its roots from educational psychology. SRL has grabbed attention of many people from different fields from psychology to mathematics, health, sport, medical, technology, policy making, marketing and language education. It is in line with constructivist epistemology and in parallel with the learner-centered education and gradual schism from teacher-directed learning through providing learners with opportunity and laissez-faire to have control over their learning skills and participating them in decision-making

Educational psychology research has dealt extensively with self-regulation and its significance as a mediating variable for academic performance, success and social competence (Zimmerman, 1990; Magno, 2010). Self-regulated learning is a composite concept encapsulating apart from cognition and metacogniton also motivation and affection in its construct.


Effect of self-regulatory strategies on academic success has been well-established galore in many studies (Kitsantas, Steen, and Huie, 2009; Lindner and Harris 1992; Pintrich, 1999; Pintrich and De Groot, 1990; Zimmerman, 1990). In the realm of academic self-regulated learning cross-sectional and longitudinal studies in naturalistic and non naturalistic contexts prevail that do address the development and enhancement of self-regulated learning. Self-regulation is believed to be the best predictor of academic performance on all the outcome measures, suggesting that the use of self-regulatory strategies, such as comprehension monitoring, goal setting, planning, and effort management and persistence is essential for academic performance on different types of actual classroom tasks (Boekaerts and Corno, 2005; Zimmerman and Pons, 1986, 1988).

Previous studies dealt exclusively with pure cognitive models of SRL but by expansion of theories and models research is currently encapsulated other dimensions of self-regulated learning which interplay in self-regulated learning process. Duckworth et al. (2009) state that self-regulation is not concerned with ‘thinking skills’; it also questions the role of emotion, motivational beliefs, self-concept and contextual factors in learning. The word self is more appreciated when it is reflected as a whole enacting and formulating in connection with world. Individual as a whole entity integrated in setting, yields more precise speculations about his thought, motivation and behaviors.

Studies depict that the acquisition of self-regulation skills is not an all or nothing phenomenon learnt overnight. This is not a skill acquired instantaneously and automatically and like other learning needs to be nurtured and practiced by schooling. It is a skill that beings from early schooling and continues to flourish cognitively by age and diminish motivationally at the same time, invigorated and empowered by co- and other-regulation. Hong and O’Neil (2001) revert back to multitudes of studies which evince that it is a trait which is not stable and is subject to fluctuation and oscillation.

While many educators consider self-regulation as a set of skills, some consider it as the deployment of all individual resources to invigorate learning process. Paris and Paris (2001) extended a developmental metaphor of self regulation based on socio-cultural model of learning in which students develop competencies and become more self-regulated. In this model of learning Piagetian tenet is also applied in which behaviors are molded and organized through participation of learners in zone of proximal development and self-regulation is an adaptive representation of this organization demonstrated in a situation than a set of skills to be learnt (ibid.).

Self-regulation is also studied as the state or the trait attributes in relation to the psychological characteristics. With self-regulation as a protean system, trait-related measures are also important in self-regulated learning to be studied in connection with academic performance. Hong and O’Neil (2001) concur that differences of trait and state constructs for self-regulation in individual learners are also in need of consideration both for learning and performance and for offering training programs by instructors. Winne and Perry (2000) maintain that self-regulated learning measure tools can be categorized as an aptitude gauge and an activity (event) gauge. Measurements of aptitude examine stable qualities and properties of students that represent predictable behaviors in the future that come in the form of self-reporting questionnaires, structured interview and teacher judgment or as event gauge which describes state and processes of individuals while they are self-regulating.

The research on self-regulation has not been limited to the traditional settings and are implemented to nontraditional settings like distance education and online learning where personal and self-factors more than social and contextual factors play a definitive role in  prompting academic achievement (Azevedo and Seibert 2004; Susimesta, 2006).


In addition, many studies on self-regulated learning have been done in the domain of foreign language learning. English learning skills also have been subject of inquiry in terms of exploitation of self-regulated learning strategies. Usefulness of self-regulation as a strategy for productive learning in second language learning and acquisition discipline is being endorsed by several studies (Harrison and Prain, 2009). Tseng, Dörnyei, and Schmitt (2006) evinced the transferability of self-regulation construct from educational psychology into the field of second language acquisition by examining self-regulatory capacity for vocabulary learning strategies of Taiwanese university and high school students.

However it should be noted that, very few studies exist that systematically delve into how far elements of self-regulation differ by gender (Zimmerman and Martinez-Pons, 1990), or by characteristics of the family such as socio-economic background. Leutwyler and Merki (2009) found that that gender played no role in the deployment of self-efficacy and persistence. Gender was stabilized to explain no variances in cognitive and metacognitive self-regulation (ibid).





Taking into account the relevant theories, research, reviews, and meta-analytical studies of the self-regulation literature, it is generally agreed that the findings about the organization of self-regulation and its strong relationship with performance and success are highly reliable (Pintrich and Schunk, 1996). The literature elucidated the value of self-regulated learning and constructive role of learning and teaching environment in its burgeoning and fostering.

With self-regulation skill training programs being incorporated as separate courses in most disciplines in addition to content knowledge teaching programs in today’s education, magnitude of this skill in enabling effective learning is being conveyed. Helping students to reach the point that they have the capacity to regulate their own learning is advised to equip learners to advance their learning. By the same token, other- regulation and co-regulation is a way of propelling learners into self-regulation.

However, trickling learners into academic self-regulation and dispensing gradually with other regulation and co-regulation with teachers and peers seeks a supporting learning environment. Transition from other regulation by teachers and co-regulation by peers to self regulation seeks a fostering learning environment which provides skill and will for self-regulated learning. Paris & Paris (2001) assert that helping students to become self-regulated not only promotes more sui juris, competent, and determined learners, but is also likely to elevate test scores. A supporting and empowering environment is required to be designed and implemented by teachers and educators to motivate learners to deploy self-regulatory strategies. However, despite this strong advocacy of the value of this capacity, teachers still struggle and hesitate to provide learning experiences that support this learning capacity in students (Prain, 2008).

As literature enlightened how cognition, motivation, affect and context are closely intertwined in promoting self-regulation, attending to all these elements in conjunction with teaching of strategies and skills elevates higher achievement and wellbeing of learners. The review made it clear how the enrichment of self-regulatory capacities in the forms of perceptions and beliefs assists learners to attain success. It commands attentions of learners and teachers at collegiate levels and beyond and even more importantly those serving at basic levels of education and primary school to heed more attention to this skill since the development of this capacity appeared to be incremental developing faster and faster after the initial stages of schooling.

The aforesaid studies accentuating the interplay between self-regulation phenomenon and success encourage learners to mull once again over self-regulatory strategies and put this fruitful skill into use.  The concrete data also remind practitioners and educators to rehash and review their content delivery methods, interaction with students, apprehension of self-regulatory behavior of college language learners and thorough insight into learners’ perceptions of motivational beliefs. The evidence provided prevails on educators and curriculum developers to cogitate more on modifying and revising learning and teaching environment. With contextual factors, directly and indirectly, affecting development of this skill more practice en route to enhancing self-regulated learning, which eventually, result in deep learning is suggested.

The literature likewise spur curriculum developers and syllabus designers to revise their materials for incorporating more problem solving tasks and group working activities, intervention programs, strategy training courses for bolstering self-regulated learning which has been shown to be the cornerstone of constructivist learning.




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