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Self-regulation of Learning.

Self-regulation of Learning This special issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly presents various ways in which self-regulation of learning is assessed at diverse academic levels and how it influences learners and educators in different academic settings. Self-regulation of learning encompasses learners' self-initiated actions to attain important academic goals. Choosing to enact long-term intentions requires learners to focus their attention on setting specific, manageable goals; identify appropriate learning strategies; generate and maintain appropriate levels of motivation; monitor their academic progress; and reflect on their academic improvement and level of satisfaction with their attained goals.

Skilled self-regulated learners generate extraordinary motivational beliefs to secure goal accomplishments. When conflicts arise between pursuing important academic goals and yielding to tempting distractions, they learn how to remain task-focused despite their immediate impulses; they delay gratification. By contrast, less-skilled self-regulated learners are unable and often unwilling to generate appropriate self-efficacy beliefs, interest, task value, and outcome expectancies that could help them successfully attain their predetermined academic goals; they are unable to delay gratification. The differences between these two types of learners may be explained by their unique characteristics such as personal goals, vicarious experiences, history of reinforcement, social modeling, and highly influential environmental and social conditions.

Self-regulation of learning is cyclically initiated when learners set valuable academic goals, select learning strategies, and assess the feelings and motivational beliefs they need to attain the goals. Then, self-regulated learners proceed to self-monitor their goals, beliefs, and use of strategies by comparing their performance with appropriate standards, by seeking necessary help, and by engaging in social and environmental control. Finally, the self-regulation process ends with learners' self-reflection and self-evaluation of how they completed the task.

Since the 1980s, self-regulation of learning has emerged as an important area of research that helps to explain academic success. The seminal work of Albert Bandura transformed self-regulation of learning into a pivotal component of every major academic endeavor. For instance, self-regulation of learning has been found effective in most key areas of human development and learning in school, college, and medical settings, sports and industry, and direct classroom and online instruction.

In this special issue, Kitsantas et al. present data supporting the idea that self-regulation of learning is an important educational process related to Web-Based Pedagogical Tools. The authors describe how college educators can use these tools to promote students' self-regulation. Similarly, Dell addresses the increased benefits of self-regulation of learning strategies among online adult learners. Finally, Artiro and Stephens report a positive association between task value and self-efficacy with students' use of self-regulation learning strategies in online courses.

Several articles inquire into topics related to self-regulation and effective teaching. Fleisher proposes that a caring and supportive classroom environment will result in effective teaching. Likewise, Itoh investigates reports that self-modeling and self-monitoring are effective methods of improving instruction in Japan. Hasanbegovic, Moser, and Metzger recommend that it is important to reform the curriculum of European universities to promote learning strategies among students and faculty. In a different setting, Dusold and Sadoski compare large-group lectures in medical education with self-directed learning; they found that students in the self-directed group better enjoyed the flexibility of their learning process. {To complement these articles, Harper reports that high-achieving pre-service teachers exhibit strong incremental views and more self-regulatory behaviors compared with low-achieving pre-service teachers.

Another highlight of this special issue is the use of self-regulatory learning strategies. Leong and Bodrova propose that self-regulation of learning encompasses the ability to regulate emotions and thinking. Mudrey, Scholes, and Lewis report that setting goals is associated with classroom performance, while Judd and Bail conclude that the use of self-regulatory strategies influences test scores among college students.

Self-regulation of learning has long been associated with homework. To illustrate, Rosario et al. report an association between gender, school grades, homework variables, and self-regulation of learning. Xu reports an association between family help and time spent on homework for homework attitudes and homework management strategies among middle school students. More specifically, Bembenutty reports that motivational beliefs and use of learning strategies are significant predictors of standardized test scores in mathematics.

Self-regulation of writing is highlighted in a study by Bhattacharya, who describes a field-based project in which pre-service teachers engage in the self-regulation of writing, revising, and self-evaluating a project report. Similarly, O'Malley et al. present a study in which faculty members participated in a writing group over a two-year period; this participation was beneficial for the faculty members and created a community to solve problems and share decisions.

We hope that the articles in this special issue on self-regulation will stimulate discussions about the role and influence of self-regulation in our academic settings, and encourage dialogues about what constitutes human functioning and learning. Further, these articles are a clear indication of the important contribution of self-regulation in explaining how learners study and develop their personal skills.

Hefer Bembenutty, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Secondary Education and Youth Services

Queens College of the City University of New York
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Author:Bembenutty, Hefer
Publication:Academic Exchange Quarterly
Date:Dec 22, 2006
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