Supporting your Education with Self-Regulated Learning

Student taking online class

If we can learn anything from the abrupt transition to virtual life we were obliged to last year, it’s that adapting and rethinking our ways of doing things is the best way forward. Even without a pandemic, it is invaluable to possess the willingness to modify our methods. Oftentimes, the approaches we use to accomplish our everyday agendas have become so habitual that we might not consider other methods that could be more suitable for our personal success. If we are to make the best of life and its challenges, it is important that we can learn to adapt and modify our strategies, even if we are used to them. When it comes to our educational journeys, this notion is no different.

Self-regulated learning has long been encouraged as a technique for mastering education effectively. The difficulties of remote learning have made it critical for students to take ownership of their own education. Even as we transition back to traditional school settings, self-regulated learning is one of the most constructive tools we can use to support our academic progress. What exactly does it look like to self-regulate your learning? This process trains you to examine the process of your work as you complete academic tasks, and to make modifications accordingly to promote future success. Here are the three main steps conventionally employed in self-regulated learning.

1. Forethought Phase

This step is like a planning phase and begins before you begin a new task, assignment, study session, or any other academic endeavor. Here, set goals for your task, think of the strategies you will use, tools you might need, and anticipate obstacles you might face, as well as what you will do to overcome them. Ask yourself questions like the following:

How will I manage my time? Will I need tutoring assistance? Has the teacher provided tools or materials that could help me? Will I look for online videos to help me understand a concept? What distractions or obstacles do I usually face and what will I do to counter them?

Based off of your answers, create strategies that you will employ to complete the assignment.

2. Performance Phase

In this step, you will merely complete the task with the strategies you created in the first step. Monitor your experience as you work, as what you learn will be important in the third step. It is okay to face difficulties as you work. It’s important to remember that everyone faces challenges in academics, and that when you encounter stumbling blocks, it is not because you have a personal inability to complete a task or become proficient in that skill or subject. Academic success is not dependent on intellectual competence, but is achievable for anyone who is committed to their work and finding the right tools.

3. Reflection Phase

The final step entails looking back on the process of your work. While it easy to focus on how successful you were or what grade you received, the key here is to reflect on how you feel the task went—whether positively or negatively—and why. Ask yourself questions such as these:

Were my strategies effective? Did anything boost my learning? What methods were most efficient? Were there obstacles that I didn’t expect or plan for? Did my own emotions make this task hard to complete? Was anything distracting or unhelpful to this process?

The answers to these questions will be important as you adapt and alter your methods for your next task. When you can recognize what works and doesn’t work for your learning experience, you can gradually develop a personalized framework of strategies that support your learning success. By practicing self-regulated learning, we gain the opportunity to make our academic journeys stronger, fruitful, and worthwhile to us.

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