One of the things that learning technologies help enable is self-regulated learning. Although self-regulated learning existed way before the computers and the internet, its easy to see how the technologies of the computer and internet have made it much easier to access information, to research, to be able to ask for help understanding something…
So what is self-regulated learning (SRL)? It is effectively how you go about learning something, in your own way, in your own time and ideally what subjects you learn. That’s the non-academic way of putting it. A more formal description is given by Zimmerman and Schunk:
“Self-regulated learning describes how learners control their thoughts, feelings, and actions in order to achieve academically.”Zimmerman and Schunk (2008)
It is not just about how individuals (children and adults) develop the skills to learn by themselves and “improve their performance using a systematic or regular method of learning.” but also how they adapt their learning to changing situations (Zimmerman and Schunk (2008).
Self-regulated learning is very individualised, it is finding out what methods of learning works for you and achieving the same learning objectives as others, but because you have learnt it via the methods that you have found work for you, you are likely to understand it better, remember it better and probably in more depth – than say if you had been taught that same subject in a more didactic (traditional ‘chalk and talk’) way. AND learning via self-regulated learning has a lot of benefits over and above traditional teaching methods. Although it is recognised that a small proportion of students are unable to handle the freedom given to them by an open self-regulated learning system and prefer the more controlled learning environment (Anderson, 2002).
Related Pieces on Self-Regulated Learning
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