Engineerica Academic Centers Blog Transforming Students Into Self-Regulated Learners

Transforming Students Into Self-Regulated Learners

Dr. Linda Nilson, an expert on the subject of self-regulated learning, spoke to our audience in November about how learning center managers can use their platform to encourage this behavior in students.

So, what is self-regulated learning? Dr. Nilson explained it’s a way for students to support themselves or a way for them to learn how to learn. Higher education employees such as student support center managers, tutors, and staff, are in a unique position to teach this behavior.

Students generally don’t come to college with the skills they need for self-regulated learning. Dr. Nilson points out the thoughts students generally have about learning at this stage in their education. They often believe that learning isn’t something that they have any control over, but that it is something that either happens or doesn’t happen, regardless of the effort they put in. For students who were able to learn quite easily in high school, often also believe that once they are in college, learning should still be easy. If it’s hard, their thinking is often that it’s either their own fault as the student or the instructor’s fault.

Self-regulated learning, Dr. Nilson explained, is the antidote to this kind of thinking. It involves the conscious planning, monitoring, and evaluation of learning throughout the learning process, and there are several dimensions to consider:

  • Metacognition, or the concept of thinking about your thinking. This will be discussed in more detail in our December keynote session with Dr. Saundra McGuire, but Dr. Nilson gave some basic strategies for how to encourage students to think about their own thinking processes.
  • The student’s emotional and motivational control over the material they are learning and how it is presented to them.
  • The student’s control over their physical environment. Students may believe they have no control over this, and in fact, their educators and support staff may believe this as well. But the truth is there are things students can do to control their physical environment, or at least to learn to work better within it, which Dr. Nilson elaborates on in her presentation. 

There are numerous benefits to self-regulated learning, many of which can be seen both anecdotally and in research. These benefits include increased motivation, efficacy, performance, and professionalism for students. Again, Dr. Nilson explains these benefits in greater detail in her presentation, and also points to the research that shows the connection between self-regulated learning and these improvements.

To watch the full presentation, click here. Our attendees learned a lot and we hope you will too! Our December webinar will focus on metacognition with Dr. Saundra McGuire, so click here to register!

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