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Hi all,

One course that I am currently taking for my Masters degree focuses on Self-Regulated Learning. While the benefits of this approach to education are many, and thousands of pages of research have gone in to extolling the virtues of SRL, I feel that as a class, we have been remiss in discussing the potential drawbacks of SRL - or at least how those drawbacks pertain to specific students. The work of Barry Zimmerman has featured prominently in this course, and in one of his articles, he states that “...contemporary research reveals that the self-motivated quality of self-regulated learners depends on several underlying beliefs, including perceived efficacy and intrinsic interest” (Zimmerman, 2002). While I don’t discount this to be false, I also believe that it doesn’t fairly represent all students we will encounter in our classes. Self-efficacy is directly tied to one’s confidence. By his own admission, Zimmerman is saying that students who lack self-efficacy will struggle to be successful self-regulated learners. In the same article, Zimmerman (2002) goes on to say that “First, self-regulation of learning involves more than detailed knowledge of a skill; it involves the self-awareness, self-motivation, and behavioral skill to implement that knowledge appropriately”. Again, this statement certainly reflects the approach that many students take towards education, but I don’t feel it takes into account students who may be struggling with a lack of self-confidence, or who are anxious about perceived educational shortcomings.

Bong (1996) informs her readers that individual motivation can be measured on a spectrum, with those on the lowest end of the spectrum who tend to “avoid challenging tasks in fear of displaying low ability, slacken effort at the presence of potential failure, and whose goal is to validate superior ability over or to avoid negative judgments from others”. Goal setting lies at the heart of SRL, and research shows that students who set higher (re: more difficult) goals, tend to be more successful in meeting them (Locke & Latham, 2006). If goal-setting is linked with self-efficacy, I fail to see how this approach will benefit students who are struggling with their own self-confidence. As such, I wonder is it fair to admit that SRL is not an approach that benefits all students, or, with the proper modifications, can it allow all students to find success in their educational endeavours?

I’m curious to know what others think regarding this topic.

References:

Bong, M., (1996). Problems in academic motivation research and advantages and disadvantages of their solutions. Contemporary Educational Psychology 21(13), pg 149-165. Retreived from https://bmri.korea.ac.kr/file/board_data/publications/1277274358_1.pdf

Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2006). New directions in goal-setting theory. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15(5), 265-268.

Zimmerman, B. J. (2002). Becoming a self-regulated learner: An overview. Theory into practice, 41(2), 64-70.

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