Self-regulated Learning: What Is It And Why Is It Important?

Changes in professor-regulated learning have reinforced the importance of self-regulated learning for students of all ages. Read all about it here!
Self-regulated learning: What is it and why is it important?

Self-regulated learning is closely linked to the way people regulate their emotions, cognitions, behaviors, and environmental aspects during a learning experience. Furthermore, we know that it is important to be able to control your mind in terms of learning processes.

The faster you learn to do this, the more successful and joyful your educational experience will be.

There are many self-regulating skills. Some of them are good time management, the ability to choose the best ones for problem solving, and the ability to actively manage emotional states, such as frustration.

The definition of self-regulated learning

Barry Zimmerman is one of the most important researchers in the field of self-regulated learning. He argues that self-regulation is not a mental or academic performance competency. Rather, it is a self-oriented process through which students can transform their mental skills into academic skills.

A man looks at notes on a whiteboard

According to Zimmerman, self-regulated learning involves not only gaining a detailed knowledge of an ability, but also other skills such as self-awareness, self-motivation, and the ability to behave in a way that enables you to apply what you learned in a appropriate vis.

Beginners assess themselves by comparing themselves with others and receiving feedback from them. They also often attribute many of their mistakes to shortcomings over which they have no control. On the other hand, experienced students who know how to manage their own learning accept that they have failed when they have done so.

Instead of blaming themselves for their failure, they instead focus on how to improve their weaknesses.

Looking at it from a different angle, self-regulation is not something that some students have and others do not. According to Zimmerman, self-regulation consists of applying specific processes selectively to each learning task.

These processes must be selected based on personal characteristics. Therefore, it is best to talk about self-regulation in connection with learning or a particular form of learning.

Self-regulated learning involves establishing goals, and then choosing the right strategies to achieve those goals. Once you have chosen a goal, monitor your progress and restructure your techniques if you do not meet your goals.

You also need to use your free time more efficiently, evaluate the methods you have chosen, and adapt your methods for future learning. Of course, you should always apply the new things you have learned to future endeavors.

Self-regulated learning abilities

Self-regulated learning abilities are important tools when it comes to learning. Yet teachers rarely teach students in them explicitly. Therefore, many students lack independence, motivation, perseverance and a positive sense of well-being during their studies.

In order for educators to transfer these skills effectively to their students, it is important for them to be well informed regarding the key self-regulatory mechanisms.

Students go through three main phases as they regulate their own learning: planning, execution, and reflection. These phases do not necessarily occur in this order. Students can go through many cycles during a learning task.

A student uses self-regulated learning to study
  • In the planning phase, students establish their goals and standards. They must be able to accommodate them within a specific assignment, session or course. This phase involves the student’s perception of the learning environment.
  • During the achievement phase, students demonstrate their commitment to their learning experience. At this point, they are monitoring their own learning. They can compare their progress with the standards they established in the planning phase.
  • During the reflection phase, students think about and evaluate their learning experience. This includes reflecting on feedback, and mentally storing ideas and concepts for use in future learning.

Professors and self-regulated learning

When looking at the importance of self-regulated learning, it is important that professors explicitly teach students these skills. They should also offer strategies to help students apply them during the learning process. Part of this teaching process should include:

  • Explain the applicability and importance of self-regulated learning abilities.
  • Explicitly teaching self-regulated learning strategies.
  • To help students identify when and how they can use these self-regulated learning abilities.

A 2012 study by Dignath-van Ewijk and Van Der Werf, which focused on teachers’ self-regulated learning perceptions and behaviors, showed that professors believe in the usefulness of transferring these skills to their students.

The results of the study highlighted how teacher education would provide them with the skills and knowledge that could promote self-regulated learning effectively.

We should develop pedagogical strategies to be able to teach students self-regulated learning. This will include tools, resources, and strategies they can use in the classroom.

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