Effective Self-Regulated Learning

You’ve surely heard, “Give a guy a fish, and he will eat for a day.” “Teach a guy to fish, and he will eat for the rest of his life.”

In educational circles, the phrase “inspire people to become independent, lifelong learners” is frequently used, but what really goes into motivating individuals to become independent, lifelong learners? Continue reading to discover more about self-regulated learning and how to improve it.

What is Self Regulation?

The ability to self-regulate has been viewed as a desirable quality throughout history because of its positive effects on behavior and the acquisition of skills (Reid, 1993). The appeal of self-regulation and its positive effects on behavior and educational outcomes has prompted much research in this area.

“Self-Regulation refers to the self-directive process through which learners transform their mental abilities into task-related skills” (Zimmerman, 2001). This is the method or procedure that learners use to manage and organize their thoughts and convert them into skills used for learning.

Self-regulation is the process of continuously monitoring progress toward a goal, checking outcomes, and redirecting unsuccessful efforts (Berk, 2003). In order for students to be self-regulated, they need to be aware of their own thought processes and be motivated to actively participate in their own learning process (Zimmerman, 2001). 

Self-Regulated Learning

Self-regulated learning is one method of instructing people on how to learn. Individuals should define their own learning goals and work individually and autonomously to accomplish them, in the widest sense.

It’s the polar opposite of a teacher handing out a worksheet and pupils filling it out solely on the basis of the instructor’s instructions.

Learning that is self-directed and self-regulated is beneficial.

Self-regulated learning, as opposed to the worksheet example, entails students defining their own learning objectives, choosing how to best accomplish those goals, and then working toward those goals in a systematic and planned manner. Workshops and other teaching methods

Workshop Model

There are three elements to the workshop model. The class begins with a mini-lesson, after which students work independently while the teacher circles the room, chatting with them. Finally, the session concludes with a recap of what the students learned through their individual work.

Lucy Calkins and Nancie Atwell are heavy hitters in the workshop model. Their efforts have aided in the dissemination of best practices, allowing instructors to establish truly student-led learning environments.


Student portfolios are another example of an education that is moving toward self-regulated learning. Students create learning objectives and evaluate their progress against those objectives on a regular basis.

They store all of their thoughts and student work in folders, and they meet with their instructor on a regular basis to discuss how they’re progressing toward their goals.

The issue is that the workshop format and portfolios need teachers to have a distinct attitude and skill set. That’s where self-regulated learning theory comes in.

3 Elements of Self-Regulated Learning

One way to think about self-regulated learning is to divide it down into three parts: processing mode control, learning process regulation, and self-regulation.

This division of self-regulated learning allows teachers to better understand how to best assist students in achieving their particular goals, as well as giving us a look into how we may all become more self-regulated learners.

1. Regulation of Processing Modes

Giving learners a choice in how and why they learn in the first place is the first step toward self-regulated learning.

Students in our worksheet example are doing the assignment because the teacher instructed them to, but by refocusing on why we’re learning in the first place, we’re laying the groundwork for self-regulated learning.

Noel Entwistle, an educational researcher, distinguishes between three main motives for learning, and his work clarifies what we’re all striving for. Students might strive to recall or duplicate knowledge, improve their grades, or seek personal insight or significance.

2. Regulation of Learning Process

When students are in command of their own learning process, they have reached the next stage of self-regulated learning. Metacognition is another term for this.

According to studies, when teachers perform the majority of the heavy lift ing—deciding what works and what doesn’t for each student—students’ metacognitive skills suffer.

We used to joke in middle and high school that if we left the building wearier than the children at the end of the school day, we hadn’t done our job. That means teachers must devise a strategy for getting pupils to undertake the heavy labor of metacognition—thinking about thinking.

Students must accept the challenge and become interested in what is working and what isn’t in their customized and (at least in part) self-generated learning plans.

Learning about how the brain works, what metacognition is all about, and all the different learning styles may all help to improve metacognition. Developing an interest in your personal talents and learning preferences

3. Regulation of Self

Finally, there’s goal setting. If students are going to become truly self-regulated learners, they have to start setting their own goals and then reflecting on their progress toward those goals.

Final Thoughts

Learning for the purpose of learning is self-regulated learning. As a result, alter your entire perspective on why you’re studying in the first place. When given a topic or assignment, choose what you want to learn more about or begin with what interests you the most.

Then, create SMART goals and evaluate your progress on a regular basis. Self-awareness is a talent that may be enhanced with practice. If you make learning your job and duty, you’ll be well on your way to being a self-regulated learner.

You’ll never have to blame someone or something else for your learning difficulties. Instead, you’ll have the self-awareness and talents to take control of your education and discover a way to make it work for you.

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