Expert Profile 3: Beleive in the Nothingness

For fish, most probably, an erroneous solution to a fish-related crucial matter would not lead to other fish sobbing and mourning for the death of one of them. Visual stimuli misinterpretation for a fish-related case could be caricaturistic-ally compared to another misinterpretation of an X-Ray result, which in that case will lead to human beings moaning and sobbing over a lost one.

While reading the article by Jarodzka et al. (2010), once I noticed that fish are the studied subjects, or at least sub-subjects, I wrote the word “HAN” on the paper. I thought no way! I am so not interested in this. Now as I write and reflect on it, I suppose that my thinking was on the one of a novice, jumping into conclusions before giving the article a chance. Regardless of me liking or disliking the article, I was comforted by the apparent flow of ideas and clarity of the procedure and language. This is an article I enjoyed reading.

At the end authors indicated that four of their five hypotheses were validated. The conclusions of this article are the following:

Experts usually exhibit performance differences distinctively than novices. Experts can perform faster, and more accurately, while using more correct technical terms. Experts consider more relevant information from the assignment. They use knowledge-based shortcuts, and can act upon their individual case-based knowledge rather than more generic knowledge (Jarodzka et al., 2010).

One particular conclusion caught my attention, because to me it seems like a déjà-vu; it is the one regarding the use of knowledge-based shortcuts. This is omnipresent with people who know their domain very well. Doctors, head offices, janitors etc … they all can astonish you with clues and keys to answers you would think they can be solved following a certain boring checklist, to which they were trained before. This is actually the difference that is highlighted in the article between experts and novices.

What I learned about expertise falls partly in the paragraph above, I learned as well that not all information or knowledge fall in the same category. Knowledge can be measurable, some other knowledge is tacit, and this distinction affects the way expertise is transmitted, and transmission is as important as having the knowledge. Tacit knowledge cannot be transmitted by books, it is usually learned through observation. For example, a medical resident going to a patient’s parents, he/she cannot announce a death news by smiling to the parents. Protocol in this regard cannot be taught in the books, because the book cannot dictate which facial expressions the resident should have when announcing bad news. The resident has to accompany a senior attending and watch how the bad news is told. On another hand, measurable knowledge for example on the latest laparoscopic techniques could be either transmitted through books or direct lecturing. I learned the latter by reading articles, and attending sessions on expertise.

The mentorship process made a clear distinction between two forms of knowledge, because somehow it was divided into formal and informal mentoring. This process sanctified in my mind the relationship between the mentee and the mentor. The wise words of the professor from the business school are still in my mind. She talked about two different approaches to mentoring. The first is hierarchical and the second shared. The first fosters, usually, informal mentoring when information is the main goal, with less dependence on trust and other emotional issues, whereas, the second fosters an informal type of mentoring which depends on interpersonal influence and trust, in order for knowledge sharing to happen.

For example, in my studies I have learned to use my previously acquired “expertise” in needed situations. From my past experience I learned that when I think about the thesis topic, I have to consider three main issues, (1) practicality of the implementation, (2) the need for the topic and (3) my feelings towards this topic. I learned as well that choosing a topic is not an easy matter, and that many choices have to weighed together and see which ones fit the three conditions. Therefore for this thesis, I decided to lay back and choose carefully the topic i want to work with. This will save time for me doing endless literature reviews on topics which will not make it at the end.

As from my work experience, I used to manage different educational projects per year, and with time, I learned to learn from results of one project, in the planning of a second project. The adaptive skills pertained in this situation to usually organizing the final event ceremony, when I had to use my shortcut-knowledge base, in order to save time and resources in event management. I knew which caterer fits my audience, which theater is equipped for the event needs. Humbly, I almost knew everything I had to know to the point that I needed new challenges, other than adaptive previous knowledge to new situations.

My journey with collaborative work was a tough one, but like they say, if you earn it hard, it is then well earned. Collaboration was not my cup of tea, and still is not. But now i am equipped with tools and skills to deal with it successfully and productively, not only that, I can teach it as well! Collaboration, when I first started LET, was a concept that I feared, mainly because I believed:

  1. Different cultures work using different methodologies;
  2. On the personal level, different people understand differently the same task;
  3. Compromising was so last season to me;
  4. Group’s commitment could affect my own, and I was not a fan of those who free riders, having never been one.

With time, after studying the factors that contribute to the success of collaboration, I would not claim that it works like magic, because this is not Narnia. Collaboration seemed to need strong yet equal commitment from all group members, and before that, trust and shared understanding of the task in question. Collaborative work is harder than cooperative in the sense that all group members have to agree on every single issue that is being discussed, else, one member would feel neglected. Bottom line, collaborative learning is like taking an airplane to the sky, then the airplane has to sustain altitude and reach the target destination, if not it will fall and all who is on board will get hurt. The teacher switches roles from pilot to flight attendant making sure that all students are comfortable during the journey.

After few months of hitting walls with collaborative learning. I learned that choosing my group members was a key issue. Members i trust and believe in their capacities as good students is of key importance to me. The more I trust my fellow students, the less I get nervous vis à vis reaching our target goal. I am sure each students has his own way of working or mentality but at the same time, we have to be able to reach the goal, using one method or  another. Competitive students make me nervous as well, and those who work for the grade, I respect them so much, but cannot and will not work with them. Coming to Finland for me was to try to find some balance between enjoying life and academics, and I cannot find myself in a competitive environment. I see collaboration as agreement to be laid back and work intrinsically for the sake of reaching a goal, rather than the reward behind the goal. The latter is staying, but the grade is just a number leading you nowhere better than the goal itself. I cannot claim that my understanding of collaboration is the ideal one, but my understanding contributed very much positively to the success of the last two collaborations I was involved in, and I was proud to contribute and learn at the same time.

I strongly believe shared understanding of a task does not mean choosing one understanding over the other, rather it is a mix of different understandings of the task. The shared one has to make sense to all the group members, or at least does not contradict theirs.

Collaboration is a matter of diplomacy and inter and well as intra personal skills; you have them? You will most probably succeed!

Self-regulated learning as I understand it now can be a very effortful process, or a very easy one. In fact to finish writing this document I had to self-regulate my emotions. In my understanding of self-regulated learning, I see that it is much much more complicated that collaborative learning, not to mention that it influences it in so many different ways. Things I have to regulate when targeting an academic task are goals, emotions, motivation, attributions and strategies etc … All these components of SRL intersect and interact to help or inhibit learners (or me) from reaching their goals. Learners should be able to set a goal, plan strategies, monitor their success and evaluate accordingly. It is a self-directed process however, it is not self-directed learning. Regarding the question on how do I apply SRL? I think I am doing it automatically now that I am not aware of what is going on. But one thing I am always almost sure of, is that my attributions are always internal because this is the only way I can change strategies upon evaluation. I refuse the fact that causes are external and that I am helpless regarding a task. In case, I want to be helpless, I will decide to feel helpless because of an internal feeling.

SRL helped me so much with collaborative learning, and added as well to my expertise in acting promptly when quick solutions are needed. Part of that is due the ability to regulate emotions in order for actions not to be inhibited.

Looking back at my goals in the previous profile, I smile. The previous goals were the following:

Enjoy collaboration, especially that I am so happy with the choice of team members; Learn more Finnish, because it is an awesome language; Be happy wandering, and hoping I find what I need to find. My main concern is finding satisfaction, because back home I found achievement, success and accomplishment and all of them were not satisfying.

Oddly enough, I achieved all of my goals. This semester I had the best teams ever, and the collaborations were truly successful. I enrolled in second finnish course and I passed it; while looking forward for more. I am satisfied more than ever with how things are . Therefore my goals for the coming Fall 2015 are:

  • Taking more finnish courses
  • Finalize the thesis
  • Consider future plans (still unknown for now).

For now I am comfortable on so many levels, academic and personal, life is good.

Jarodzka, H.,  Scheiter, K., Gerjets, P., & von Gog, T. (2010). In the eyes of the beholder: How experts and novices interpret dynamic stimuli. Learning and Instruction, 20, 146–154.


Expert Profile 2: A new perspective

Almost half a year has already passed, meaning three quarters of this adventure remain. I am calling it adventure, because I expected that things would be different, and now I am dealing with the fact that the cards had been reshuffled and distributed again. This added a twist to my stay here of course, after coping with the emotional burden of the move and other academic related events. Currently, I feel aimless, I am enjoying the present, going to classes, learning new things and meeting people; free is how I feel, on the inside and out. This post is a reflection of the blog’s title, lost and wandering, what is even more exciting is being able to enjoy freedom and happiness with the least available resources. On an academic level, I am satisfied from how things are proceeding. I certainly question lots of things, but I am aware that my knowledge is expanding throughout the flow of the LET year, this is how I am calling it LET year. So far, I can survive in Finnish, and I am planning on continuing the Finnish courses, no specific aim for that other than I find it cute. I can make educational videos with a relatively high self-efficacy. My collaborative work skills are improving drastically, of course because of what I learned, but also because of being careful with the choice of the team members. On the SRL level, I can say confidently that I learned so much during the course; the fact that we had to read a lot, then summarize and reflect on the content, made it easy to learn the concepts. Using technology for learning purposes was emphasized upon very well in the first semester, but now things are getting more tangible I think with the educational projects and TEL 1. I am also taking French courses for a 60 credits minor, so I am learning so much on the history of France, its language, cinema and literature.

It was quite funny and ironic actually that while I was enrolled in the self-regulation course, I found myself collapsing and manifesting psychological and physical signs showing that things are not okay. Academically, I stopped studying at all for two weeks in a row; I just was so concerned with my well-being that all my educational goals felt like they mean nothing anymore. We had to take part of much collaboration which did not make the process easier. The way I reflect on it now is that it was mostly bad collaboration which resulted in a good outcome as a final product, and this was reflected in the grade. I always believe that someone tends to own the work more than the others; I had to be that person while psychologically I was not ready for it. Those two weeks I tried my best to bribe myself back into focusing on academic goals, I booked a flight back home for Christmas, I signed up at the gym, I made sure I am surrounded by people all the time, and kept myself busy with things, of course which are not academic. The two weeks have gone and nothing had changed, I had still been feeling down, however, with an alarming sense that I need to go back to studying or else, things would look bad. I forced myself into studying, especially with the group work material, thinking that the solo work could be done on a slower pattern. Believing that I should not let anyone down especially my fellow team members, the collaboration ended up with a good product, which was a bit satisfying and encouraging for me and pushed me to focus on the solo work.

In my work life I had to use self-regulation a lot. I used to organize huge events with 300 to 400 participants, and this generates loads of stress. When you are leading a team you have to put on facades and mask fear and uncertainty, and keep on encouraging team members, in addition to performing your own tasks and following on those of others. Emotion regulation helps a lot, but at the end of each event, that afternoon or night when everything is over, this is when I feel the stress and usually I take two to three days to recover. I truly believe that self-regulation is the key in every aspect of life, especially learning and working life.

I always have a fear of failing. This is why under all circumstances I have to perform; I always push myself to perform, even in the darkest times of my life. In my last year of bachelor, my dad passed away after a long fight with illness. During the last month, things were really bad, but I kept going to classes, and I could feel that I am really not motivated to carry on with any educational goal. I mostly did not even prepare my homework, and things got really loose. Then I thought that my dad would not want to see me like that, and that I better start going back to my senses. It’s true that the semester’s overall GPA was 79/100, but I was glad that I did not let myself fail. In fact, after he passed away, I took only one week off for condolences, then I went back for the last semester and I was on the honor list; against all odds, especially when my chairperson advised me to take a semester off, if I needed to. Performing in difficult situations, in my opinion needs two conditions, the first is the will to safeguard what’s left and accept the result, even though it could be better. Second, is to find a source of motivation either directly related to the situation, or one that is external, but the important thing is the positive influence it will have on motivation regulation all along the achievement process.

In work life as well, I had to perform under rather somewhat difficult situations with a boss who was not okay with my choice of wardrobe, I suppose. Although, he did not show it obviously, he had to stop by everyday at my office and give me this look from head to toe, that he does not approve my choice of clothing. Everyday this used to piss me off, but I had to tolerate it since he was my boss. I had to regulate my emotions on a daily basis, mainly by convincing myself that this is only a step towards a better future. After 7 months I resigned and moved to a much better position. I learned that yes, sometimes bad situations could lead to better ones; maybe being apathetic about these situations is the best solution to face them.

On collaborative learning! Honestly I have a very complicated love/hate relationship with it. In both cases, I succeed in it, and I contribute enormously to the group work, more than I should. But, my enjoyment in this experience depends mostly on two factors. The character of team members, competitive Vs. chilled and relaxed, I prefer the second type, as I do not like to compete with anyone, and the second condition is their level of interest and willingness to own their work. This has always happened with exchange students who probably exhibit less commitment towards the course than LET or minor students. In such cases, I had to offer help to them, and reassure them that whatever they can give is much appreciated, and they are an integral part of the team. But on the other hand, this came on my account. I do not regret it at all, what counted for me, is those students getting out of this experience not feeling that they under achieved or their contribution was not as significant as it should have been. End results were successful end products, with a mediocre collaboration in terms of work equality, but I think in terms of satisfaction, most team members were satisfied.

Currently, the word goal makes me nervous, I have settled on being this aimless person who is willing to achieve regardless of having goals or not. My three goals till the end of this semester are:

  1. Enjoy collaboration, especially that I am so happy with the choice of team members;
  2. Learn more Finnish, because it is an awesome language;
  3. Be happy wandering, and hoping I find what I need to find. My main concern is finding satisfaction, because back home I found achievement, success and accomplishment and all of them were not satisfying.

Quick trip to Malaysia: Expertise 1

“Malaysia … truly Asia” is the hymn which was used by Malaysians to promote tourism in their countries on Lebanese TVs. Today I had a quick trip to Malaysia without even going there. Pavi from our mentor-ship group gave a nice presentation on education in his home country.
It was really surprising to know and notice some similarities with the Lebanese situation, especially with the diverse culture and post colonial effects on the educational system.
Before coming to Finland, I never thought about why sciences, math and philosophy were taught to us in French or English, and not in Arabic. During Pavi’s presentation we had two points of view:
Learning science and math in native languages allows better grasp and safeguarding of the language; so not doing this means actually the opposite. I do strongly believe that a language which does not speak math and science will eventually die. Arabic currently is suffering a lot in terms of Arabs using their native language for sciences and math.

In any case, it is always nice and educational to learn about other countries´ educational systems and get to compare it with your own. I am looking forward for the up-coming presentations on Colombia, Britain and Finland.

Identities and whatnot

Here comes the time when we read about identities in the context of preparing in-service teachers to become mentors and whatnot. Before reflecting on the two interesting articles by Bullough (2005) and Nash and Shaffer (2010), here’s a brief introduction.

I watched a very interesting movie called LUCY about the ideas of God, human brain and its activity. In the movie they claim that the main purpose of reproduction, when immortality is not possible, is to transmit knowledge across generations. Imagine that we human beings need to reinvent hot water, the wheel, electricity and other innovations every single generation! This would be a nightmare and we would most probably stagnate. Transmitting knowledge could happen through teaching and mentoring, and most probably involves a teacher and a learner. Gibran (1993), a Lebanese American philanthropic philosopher and artist, claims that an astronaut can mesmerize you about the wonders of the space and his understanding of the cosmos, but he would not be able to transmit the same comprehension to someone else. Students need to live certain experiences in order to make sense of them, and be able eventually to master the same experiences. Going through these experiences alone, would not ensure proper mastery of newly acquired information, hence the probable need for a mentor.

Freedman (1999) claimed that mentoring helps youth’s intellectual, social, and emotional development, meanwhile, Palmer (1998, p. 2) argued that “like any truly human activity, teaching emerges from one’s inwardness, for better or worse …” he added that as someone teaches, the condition of the teacher’s soul is projected into students, the subject being taught, and the experience that gathers a teacher with his students. Personally, I truly believe that teaching, as a profession, surpasses the boundaries of a job and reaches the borders of a calling. A teacher touches his students morally, socially, cognitively and in so many other ways. The question here is the following, what is it to be a good teacher or a good mentor? The answer to this question might not be a matter of black or white answers, but Feiman-Nemser (2001) makes a clear nuance that a good teacher might not be a good teacher educator in the sense of letting those newly prepared teacher educators discover their own learning styles. Meanwhile, Sandholtz and Finan (1998) suggest that boundary spanners are teachers who one foot in the school and the other in the university. This underlines the importance for teachers to stay up to date, especially those who want to assume the “position” of mentors. For instance, the role of professional mentors, including teaching, is to model specific modes of thinking to each profession; these are called epistemic frames (Shaffer, 2006a). This reminds me of the division of knowledge in medicine among tacit and practical; this issue is stressed upon by Schon in many occasions.

Wertsch (1978) discussed different literature presenting how mentors can facilitate students’ problem solving skills. This is compared as well to scaffolding (Wood, 1999) or as cognitive apprenticeship (Rogoff, 1990). I think this highlights that the work of the mentor is not simple at all, as scaffolding is an important tool to guide mentees in the learning process. Physicians in training for example sit with their mentors during patients’ visits, and this exposes them to ways of problem solving which cannot be taught in the books. Observing while learning, might help with acquiring the kind of knowledge which sometimes cannot be transmitted through the books. Shaffer (2006b, p.160) defines an epistemic frame of a profession as a combination of values, knowledge, skills, epistemology and identity used by professionals to solve problems.

In general though, and speaking of identities which help solving problems, the issue of how people identify themselves is integral to the identity that is adopted professionally. To put it simple before elaborating, a teacher who identifies himself mostly as a painter might not be passionate about teaching as much as a mentor who identifies himself as one rather then something else. In any case, Gee (2000, 2001) described four interrelated perspectives, as he calls them, on identities. They are the following:

  1. Nature identity
  2. Institution identity
  3. Discourse identity
  4. Affinity identity.

When reading this, I was fascinated that how much such a small concept can affect human lives in a huge deal. Identity was the subject of a book written by Amin Maalouf a Lebanese-French writer, the book is called “Les identites Meurtrieres” and it talks about how identities are a tool to build and to destroy in case this concept is not dealt with properly.

On a personal level, I always tried to give an affinity identity to myself, but so far I have failed.

On a last note, I really liked the part where Bullough (2005) discusses how some teachers may choose a certain identity to conform to the one that is cherished by the institution. This form of identity management we deal with it on a daily basis, but when it comes to the professional corner, I am not sure how much a person can manage his or her own identity based on what is needed, rather than on what is felt or what is genuine.

Bullough Jr, R. V. (2005). Being and becoming a mentor: School-based teacher educators and teacher educator identity. Teaching and teacher education,21(2), 143-155.

Gibran, K. (1993). Le Prophete, preface d’Amine Maalouf. Essai poche.

Nash, P., & Shaffer, D. W. (2011). Mentor modeling: the internalization of modeled professional thinking in an epistemic game. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning27(2), 173-189.

SRL: Task 4: Self-Assessment

Planning Solo phase description This solo task handles three different articles; they are (1) Theoratical and Practical Connotations. When it Happens, How is it Acquired and what to do to Develop it in our students (Panadero & Alonso-Tapia, 2013); and (2) can primary school students learn self-regulated learning strategies most effectively? A meta-analysis on self-regulation training programmes (Dignath et al., 2008). This task in particular will deal with the following concepts: Meaning of self-assessment; When and how does self-assessment occur? What types of instruction could be used to support self-assessment? What are the factors which affect SRL training programs in primary schools? I am hoping I can finish these in two days of time. I am confident that I will achieve the needed writing by the deadline set. I am trying to follow the assessment criteria, however, I am not quite sure of whether what I am writing is at the same time what is needed.

Concepts Definition The first article is the one entitled Self-assessment: Theoratical and Practical Connotations. When it Happens, How is it Acquired and what to do to Develop it in our students (Panadero & Alonso-Tapia, 2013). It seems that self-assessment has two different meanings in literature. The first meaning is understood as an instructional process used by teachers as a part of formative assessment, like for example peer assessment (Black & William, 1998). The second approach to the meaning of self-assessment is closer to self-evaluation which included in the self-regulation concept. In this prospect self-assessment is understood to be carried by students to self-regulate their learning process. Authors in literature usually consider only one aspect of the meaning of self-assessment without considering them jointly. The use of self-assessment is not just a decision, which does not have any pedagogical implications; both teachers and students alike need to be aware of that. Self-assessment usually can improve future executions of the same activity, and encourages the transfer of adequate modes which allow students to realize how to tackle new situations based on previous ones (Boud, 1995a). Most researchers agree that self-assessment is a crucial of self-regulation (Belfiore & Hornyak, 1998; McCaslin & Hickey, 2001; etc …), moreover, there is empirical evidence that self-assessment and self-regulation are related. For instance students with high ability for self-regulation, they self-assess their work better than other students (Lan, 1998); students who successful academically, monitor better and evaluate better their thinking (Biemiller & Meichenbaum, 1992); lastly, interventions based on teaching self-assessment strategies improve self-regulation (Bannert, 2009). The question is now: When does self-assessment take place? Zimmerman and Moylan (2009) place self-assessment in the last phase of self-regulation, which is self-reflection. Other researchers go further and recommended that when teaching students to self-assess their work, they need to be taught to self-assess starting the planning phase (Andrade & Valtcheva, 2009). The latter is suggested because it allows students to evaluate themselves starting the planning phase, instead of self-evaluating during the last phase of self-regulation, which could be less effective especially in case of serious changes that need to be made to the task. Encouraging self-evaluation is highly recommended especially when teachers provide students with assessment criteria at the beginning of the activity, because only then can students plan strategically their actions. Overall, students need not only to assess their final outcome, but rather the process which led them to reach this product, not doing so would lead to results which could be wrong, suggesting that students need to reinvest time and resources into correcting or starting again (Alonso-Tapia, 2005). So now we do acknowledge that self-assessment should happen during the entire self-regulation process, but the question is now how to acquire self-assessment? The acquisition of self-regulated learning skills needs efforts and commitment from students especially when the competence is more complex. To help students acquire self-regulation skills, teachers need to train students to self-assess their own work, by comparing their performance against a model, therefore correcting mistakes if needed. Once practiced, students will become more and more autonomous and will self-assess in an automatic way. When students, all students, go from school to college the level of difficulty of tasks increases and therefore teachers need to train their students as early as possible on SRL skills (Dochy et al., 1999). So it’s not enough for teachers to have the intention to teach about SRL skills, but another prerequisite is the availability of certain conditions and instructional aides. They conditions are (1) awareness of the value of self-assessment, (2) access to the criteria on which assessment is based, hopefully before the start of the task, (3) the task to be assessed needs to be specific enough, if it is too hard or too broad it will be complicated to be assessed; as for instructional aides, they are (1) self-assessment modeling, like thinking aloud while self-assessing helps in the realization of the task, (2) direct instruction and assistance for self-assessment, students need to receive instruction before the start of the task, and during (Dochy et al., 1999), (3) cues to help to know when it is appropriate to self-assess, (4) practice, and (5) opportunities review and improve the process of realizing a task as well as the final performance, without this opportunity the point of self-assessment would be lost. Lastly the article discussed the instructional help which could be used for self-assessment with teachers and their students. Three types of instructional help to promote self-assessment, they are (1) Self-grading or self-assessment without specified assessment criteria, it consists of learners assessing or grading their performance at the end of the task, without being given assessment criteria at first, (2) self-assessment using rubrics, which are scoring tools containing the assessment criteria, they consist as well of a scale for self-grading the different quality levels, and a short description indicating the quality level standards, (3) self-assessment through the use of scripts, they are a set of questions organized systematically that focus on the process to perform a specific task; the scripts promote reflection on the adequacy of the process and on partial results obtained from the performance. The second article for this task is: How can primary school students learn self-regulated learning strategies most effectively? A meta-analysis on self-regulation training programmes (Dignath et al., 2008). This article is a rich analysis on the factors which affect the acquisition of self-regulated learning by primary school students. I will present the findings of the article, and hopefully discuss them in one of the ICE notes. The findings of this study are the following: (1) self-regulated learning training programmes have a positive effect on learning outcomes, strategy use, and motivation, even for primary school children; they affect positively as well academic performance, cognitive and meta-cognitive strategy use, as well motivational aspects. Moreover, young children benefit more in the area of strategy use and motivation, than primary school students in higher grades do. (2) theoretical background, interventions which were based on social-cognitive and meta-cognitive theories they led to the highest effect size, while those who relied on motivational theories led to low effects, moreover, there was no significant differences when it comes to motivational outcomes. (3) Training programmes should be based on social-cognitve theories, and should train elaboration, problem solving, planning, and motivational strategies. (4) training developers should emphasize the importance of applying group work properly, by insuring training on group work strategies. (5) factors which relate to the context of the training are mostly immutable. (6) further research should deal with the study of the differences between instructing SRL to younger Vs. older students, in order to improve the training programmes and make them suitable for all needs. (6) most questionnaires used to assess strategy use and motivation lack validity, which means that future research should focus on making them valid enough.

ICE 1 As a primary student myself, I have not been exposed at all to self-assessment skills, maybe peer assessment but never self-assessment, because there was always the fear of being untrue to oneself. If I am not wrong I started with the self-assessment skills in my university years, especially when our professors used to give us criteria for the assignments they asked for. I am sure however, that rubric was not related in their mind to self-assessment, at least I can suppose that they did not link both together. If I was to design a training program on self-assessment for college students, I would want to consider the following, among other factors: (1) explain to students that the issue of self-assessment is not a joke, (2) self-assessment is not rewarded so cheating while self-assessment, means only that you would fool yourself, (3) consider the difference in culture, and how different people could consider self-assessment differently, in terms of how highly they think of themselves. Self assessment is so crucial because without it our self-efficacy would not make sense, which means the entire process of self-regulated learning would be confused. A student who does not know or cannot assess well his own capabilities will most probably face motivational problems, issues with his well-being, and will probably spend most of his time regulating his emotions instead of focusing on the task itself. What I could learn from those four tasks is how complicated the process of self-regulated learning is, not in terms of difficulty to implement, but in terms of decoding all the possible relationships among its different processes and sub-processes which are interconnected , reciprocal in some cases and whatnot in others. As complex as it sounds, research on self-regulated learning could be an exciting endeavor for those who want to better understand the intersection of motivation, emotion, the environment, cognition in the domain of learning.

ICE 2 Below are some results from a study I conducted last year on the challenges to using handheld devices among medical students: “The number of challenges and barriers, faced by medical students as reported by participants, varied drastically. The chief complaint was reported to be the high cost of handheld devices, by 57.14% of medical students. The second ranking barriers were respectively, fear of data loss 40.26% and fear of device loss 36.36%. One student claimed “I lost my device once, and I am living in the fear since then”.  Meanwhile, 1.23% of participants thought that other devices were better options than their currently owned device. Lack of training, knowledge and guidance was reported by 27.27% of participants, as a challenge to using mobile applications on their handheld devices; another student stated “there is a lack of education and general understanding of what is possible and can be done on our devices”. With a mean of 3.29 to faced barriers, reported data showed that 92.6% of participants faced up to 6 barriers. (Unpublished data yet)” I could not but to think of the emotions which are felt by medical students towards their handheld devices when they use them for academic tasks. The fact that the more students use the devices the more they face challenges, could only put more pressure on the motivation of those students to engage in task solving using educational tools like handheld devices. Now, when I think about the issue, I could go on by studying the effect of these challenges on students’ emotions, motivation, and persistence on task.

Reflection I think at this point I did not have any challenges when writing the last solo task, maybe one challenge could have been reading the small font of the article I printed. Reading a meta-analysis is a rich experience which allowed me to get some definitive statements on training programs and what factors influence their effectiveness. On the other hand the first article is a nice portrait of self-assessment, something I’ve been always interested in, and was part of my previous thesis on self-directed learning among medical students. All in all, I am thankful for the opportunity to redo the solo phase, and I benefited so much, now that my mind is clear and not confused with feelings of lack of well-being.

SRL: Task 3: Memory and strategic learning


This post will deal with three articles they are: (1) Promoting Effective Task Interpretation as an Important Work Habit: A Key to Successful Teaching and Learning (Butler & Cartier, 2004), (2) Self-Regulation and Learning Strategies (Weinstein et al., 2011) and (3) Basic Components of Memory.

The concepts in this post will be:

The dual store model of memory

Working memory

Long term memory

Defining academic work

Defining engagement

Recommendations for promoting task interpretation as an important work habit

Components of strategic learning

Types of learning strategies

Learning about learning

I was delayed with this task, due to some environmental influences. However, I set a new deadline and I will meet it.

All is cool, all is fine!


I will start with the chapter on basic components of memory. William James (1890) proposed that human memory has 3 components: an after image, a primary memory and a secondary memory. Later Richard Shiffrin (1969, 1971) proposed another model of memory which is called a dual-store model of memory. This model consists of three components, sensory register, short term memory and long term memory. Information enters through the sensory register, it is held for few seconds there, then if it is processed it moves to the short term memory, and then information has to be processed further to move to the long term memory. If not, the information will be lost or forgotten, although this is still debatable.

The short term memory refers to a storage mechanism that holds information for a brief time, so it can be mentally processed later on. Usually, there go all cognitive processes, hence the naming working memory. The characteristics of working memory are:  (1) Capacity, working memory has a limited capacity for storing information. Miller (1956) proposed that the capacity is around seven plus two or minus two. However, this could increase with the process called chunking. (2) Form of storage, most of the information stored there is auditory information, especially when it is language based; however, it can have visual and spatial information as well. The working memory has two or more separate storage systems and tasks involving the processing of verbal and auditory information, activate different parts of the brain from when processing visual and spatial information. (3) Duration, psychologists believe that the duration of working memory is probably between 5 and 20 seconds; decay and interference can result in information being lost .

When it comes to the control processes in working memory, they are the following: (1) organization, like for example when children develop tendencies to chunk information, or impose rhythms or melodies on the numbers. (2) Retrieval, of information from working memory depends on how much information is currently stored there (Sternberg, 1966). It is usually done through scanning all the contents of the working memory until the desired information is found. (3) Maintenance rehearsal which consists of repeating the same information in the form of sub-vocal speech. It usually helps in saving information from the forgetting processes of decay and interference. Usually this strategy is more used by younger children compared to older adults. If students keep rehearsing the same information it means it did not go to their long term memory which suggests that there is something wrong and needs to be fixed.

The long term memory is the most complex component of the human memory system. The characteristics of the long term memory are the following: (1) Capacity, theorists suggest that the capacity of the long term memory is unlimited. (2) Form of storage, most theorists agree that information is stored in the form of semantics in the long term memory, and it is rarely remembered exactly as it is. Interconnectedness is another characteristic of long term memory which suggests that related pieces of information tend to be more likely associated together. (3) Episodic, Semantic, Procedural and Conceptual knowledge were differentiated by Tulving (1983, 1991, 1993); he defined episodic memory as memories of one’s personal life experiences, then semantic memory as one’s general knowledge of the world independently of those experiences, both refer to declarative knowledge which is about how things were or are, and how to do things is called procedural knowledge. (4) Explicit Vs. implicit knowledge, there is a clear distinction between the two kinds of knowledge, explicit is the kind which we can recall and explain easily, and implicit knowledge is the kind which we cannot recall intentionally, we just do it automatically without thinking, and results usually in a behavior. (5) Duration, theorists believe that information once stored in the long term memory, they stay there forever, some other theorists believe that information can still disappear from long term memory through some forgetting processes.

With long term memory there are two control processes, the first is storage and the second is retrieval. Storage of information in the long term memory is not an automatic process; rather it needs conscious and active processing, although some information could be easily stored there. In any case, storage is dependent on understanding, organizing and integrating with prior knowledge stored in the long term memory. On the other hand, retrieval from the long term memory is difficult. This is mainly due to the fact that long term memory has a big load of information, and retrieval depends on how organized information is, and on the location of information, in addition to the degree of understanding of the information in question.

The second article for this post is called Promoting Effective Task Interpretation as an Important Work Habit: A Key to Successful Teaching and Learning (Butler & Cartier, 2004). This article argues that to be successful in academia, students have to have a consistent approach to academic work, which dictates well interpreting the demands of tasks presented to them. Let’s start by defining first academic work and elaborate on it. Academic work can be defined as the work students are given in schools. Entwistle and Tait (1995) define it in terms of the environment in which students learn. Learning environments then are defined as the entire set of learning opportunities provided within a course, like lectures, small group discussions, individuals tutorial etc … Learning environments are chosen by the teachers who tend to influence students’ construction of knowledge. Learning environments shape the approaches adopted by students for learning. An activity could refer to an assignment given by a teacher, and then the task would refer to internally coherent sub-activities required within many learning activities. Winne and Marx (1989) describe three features of tasks, content, like domain specific, setting, like available resources and instructions, presentation, medium and format for the final product. Meichenbaum and Biemiller (1992) defined classroom tasks, as a program of instructions for specific actions, leading to an expected outcome. Moreover, they defined three task features, they are task functions, task content and task affect, and some other definitions reflect the following task purpose, task structure and task components.

Now that Tasks are defined, remains to define engagement. Researchers have defined engagement as the meaningful and thoughtful approach to tasks. It is an active, reflective coordination of learning processes under meta-cognitive and motivational processes in the context of academic work. Hence, the existing association between engagement in learning and self-regulation (Zimmerman & Schunk, 2001). Efficient learners are those who can consistently engage in their educational activities, Butler (1998b) states that those are aware of task requirements and can direct their learning activities accordingly. In the first phase of engagement, which task interpretation, students decode the given requirements, then students self-regulate all further activities based on their understand of the task. There is a risk for learning to be derailed if the task is absent or misunderstood.

To avoid task misinterpretations, the following a selection of recommendations to promote task interpretation as an important work habit. Selecting learning activities and tasks is very important for teachers who should be careful in the pre-selection of activities. Teachers should consider their goals for student learning, the variety and complexity of the tasks that make up the activity, and the readiness of students to address them, what will the task communicate to students, and whether the tasks serve the intended learning outcome. It is recommended as well for teachers to maintain a focus on the entire task, and make sure when they divided into smaller tasks, the entire task is coherent and serves the purpose. Moreover, teachers should explicitly structure activities to promote independent, deliberate, self-regulated learning by students. Teachers are invited to require active and independent task interpretation from students, so this will become a work habit.  Structuring instruction is a way for teachers to provide explicit focus on meta-cognitive knowledge, productive task completion, and students’ development of strategies for completing academic work. When teachers do provide instruction focused on learning processes, then they are invited to focus on promoting self-regulated learning. Teachers should focus on the planning phase, promoting as well the application of effective strategies that match demands and self-assessment, in addition to active and reflective interpretation of feedback. The last recommendation is that teachers should promote students’ active reflection on processes for completing academic work. When it comes to evaluation practices the article offers three recommendations for teacher. The first is that they need to coordinate evaluation to match the task purpose, second to actively engage students in self-evaluation, and third to actively encourage students to interpret the feedback and evaluations given by teachers.

The third article for this post is Self-Regulation and Learning Strategies by Weinstein, et al. (2011). In this article I will highlight on components of strategic learning, types of learning strategies, and learning about learning. Weinstein and others (2004) and (2006) claim that strategic learning means having the skill, will, and self-regulation needed to be effective and efficient learners in varied educational environments. They divided strategic learning into three components: (1) Skills, which refer to critical knowledge about knowing how to use learning strategies. It entails knowing about strengths, weaknesses and preferences for how to learn. (2) Will, which refers to the motivation and affective components of strategic learning, which could either contribute or ruin academic experiences. (3) Self-regulation seems to be both the glue and the engine helping students to manage their learning on both a global and real-time level.

There are different kinds of learning strategies which enhance self-regulated learning. They are: (1) rehearsal strategies, which consist of using repetitive exposure to what the student is trying to learn. Some rehearsal strategies do not result in meaningful learning, for example passive rehearsal is a mindless repetition, contrarily to active rehearsal which involves more cognitive processing and meaning building. (2) Elaboration learning strategies involve adding or modifying the way the studied material is studied, in a manner to make it more meaningful and memorable. Some of the ways this can be done, are paraphrasing, summarizing, creating analogies, comparing and contrasting, applying the material etc … more complex forms of elaboration would need progressively greater cognitive efforts like problem solving, application and analysis etc … (3) Organization strategies, they focus on reorganizing and elaborating new material in a graphic form, like for example creating outlines, cause-effect diagrams, mind maps etc … (4) strategy repertoire, is needed because different students need different strategies for different learning situations. This suggests that one strategy could work for one student, and not the other, and even not all the time with the same student.

How to learn is conditioned by knowing the difference between declarative, procedural and conditional knowledge. Students need to know the definition of the strategy in question, that is declarative knowledge, then how to use it, procedural knowledge, then when to use it, conditional knowledge. Assessing the use of learning strategies could be done through quantitative surveys like LASSI and MSLQ both being a diagnostic measure which can describe students’ strength and weakness in using SRL strategies.


So yes, students have to be able to use self-regulated learning, but teachers on the other hand have a lot to do, in terms of explaining strategies and helping their students to become experts in applying these strategies. I just noticed that the recommendations for teacher in schools do not really differ from those given to medical educators. Below is a compilation of those recommendations:

The following is a set of strategies that can be used by all teachers to integrate SRL in their classrooms; their division is based on results from research by Paris and Winograd (1999).

  1. Self appraisal leads to a deeper understanding of learning
    1. Teacher encourages sharing learning styles and strategies among peer students to increase their personal awareness of the different ways of learning;
    2. Teacher promotes self evaluation of what students know and what they do not know, this will help in efficient allocation of suitable efforts for tasks at hand;
    3. Teacher promotes progress monitoring, stimulates repair strategies and promotes feelings of self-efficacy through periodic self-assessment of learning processes and outcomes.
  2. Self-management of thinking promotes adaptive, persistent, self-controlled, and strategic and goal oriented approaches to problem solving.
    1. Teacher encourages mastery orientation rather than performance goals, by letting students set attainable yet challenging goals
    2. Teacher encourages time and resources management through effective planning and monitoring, leading to better priority setting, overcoming frustrations and persistence on task completion
    3. Teacher encourages self-commitment to high standards of performance
  3. Self-regulation can be taught in diverse ways
    1. Teacher can teach SRL through explicit instruction, directed reflection, meta-cognitive discussions and participation in practices with experts
    2. Teacher models SRL for students by engaging in reflective analyses of learning
    3. Teacher promotes SRL through assessing, charting, and discussing evidence of personal growth
  4. Self-regulation is woven into the narrative experiences and identity strivings of each individual
    1. Teacher allows differences in appraisal and monitoring of students’ own learning and behaviors
    2. teacher promotes an autobiographical perspective on education and learning
    3. Teacher invites students to participate in reflective communities and environments to enhance students’ self-regulation habits.

Pretty much the same, this suggests that maybe SRL could be taught since early ages and will be gained as a skill for life.


My memory is really bad!

After reading the chapter on memory I noticed that my memory should be probably better that its current state. My long term memory is not quite good, as I forgot most of my childhood episodic memories, and I currently have a problem with my working memory, and it was really at its worst during the last semester. I expected to read maybe in this chapter how emotions or emotional disturbances affect the working memory but It was not mentioned. I feel it might be a bit too late for me to use strategies to fix my memory; maybe cutting the damages now should be just fine. Another example of how my procedural memory was affected, was when I went back to drive in Lebanon, during Christmas, all the confidence I had while driving was gone, I could be barely roll at 40 km/h. I was afraid all the time. It could be emotional out of fear, or it could be because of a lack of practice, but if that was true, then yeah memories could disappear from the long term memory which was a debatable issue in the chapter.


I am done, no challenges for this task were perceived other than the delay, I think the readings in this task were the most coherent.

SRL: Task 2: Motivation and SRL


This solo task handles three different articles; they are (1) Regulation of Motivation: Evaluating an Underemphasized Aspect of Self-Regulated Learning; (2) Emotion control in collaborative learning situations: Do students regulate emotions evoked by social challenges? And, (3) Motivational sources and outcomes of self-regulated learning and performance (Zimmerman, 2010).


Motivation regulation

Motivation regulation in relation to other components

Strategies for the regulation of motivation

What are the factors affecting SRL interventions for primary school students?

Sources of motivation to self-regulate learning

Cyclical view of motivation during SRL

I am hoping I can finish these in two days of time.

I am confident that I will achieve the needed writing by the deadline set. I am trying to follow the assessment criteria, however, I am not quite sure of whether what I am writing is at the same time what is needed.

Concepts Definition

The first article called “Regulation of Motivation: Evaluating an Underemphasized Aspect of Self-Regulated Learning” by Wolters (2003) will be featured through three main concepts; they are (1) motivation regulation, (2) motivation regulation in relation to other components of SRL, and (3) strategies for the regulation of motivation. Before venturing into the last two main concepts of this article, it is noteworthy to state the following.

Motivation has been identified as an important area of the learning process, which students actively regulate (Zimmerman, 1994). Moreover, Pintrich (2000) states that resource management is an important aspect of students’ self-regulation learning; and finally, Boekaerts (1995) claimed as well that managing the affective and motivation domains is a crucial part of self-regulated learning. The conclusion is that students tend to regulate their motivation and the processes responsible for their motivation in an attempt to regulate their own learning. This latter has an impact on learning and achievement.

The second concept in this article deals with the relationship existing between motivation regulation and other components of self-regulated learning. First, motivation needs to be defined, to be able to make the difference between motivation regulation and motivation. Contemporary models of motivation rely on cognitive constructs while defining motivation. It is attributed to causal attributions, perceptions of self-competence, value, interest, feelings of self-determined, and reasons for engaging in activities (Graham & Weiner, 1996). As a product then, motivation is defined as the willingness to engage in and persist at a task. However, from a process point of view, motivation is seen as the sum of the processes which students use to be interested in investing in a certain activity which leads to engagement in behaviors. We could conclude then, that motivation regulation is the regulation of the processes which individuals use to initiate, maintain and supplement their intention to start and persist on a certain educational task. Furthermore, a strategy to regulation motivation would be a procedure which is used to intentionally influence motivation. Motivation regulation is one process operating under the umbrella of self-regulation in learning. Therefore, motivation, volition and meta-cognition are related to motivation regulation but they are not to be confused.

The first distinction to be made is the one between motivation and motivation regulation. The first basis of differentiation between the two terms is students’ awareness and the purpose of their actions and thoughts. The regulation of motivation concerns only the thoughts and action through which students purposefully influence their motivation with regards a certain educational activity. This distinction is best described by Boekaerts (1992) who makes the different between subjective control, which is behaviors based on emotions, and active control, meaning a purposeful intentional attempt to motivation manipulation. Although, they are different, motivation and motivation regulation have a complex reciprocal relationship. To start regulating motivation, there is a need for an existence of a slight motivation, and for motivation to remain and to be sustained, motivation regulation strategies need to take place. Moreover, in some cases, motivation could be sustained without needing to regulate it, which means no motivation regulation is needed. In any case, the dominant pattern of the relationship governing motivation and motivation regulation is a positive one which could be curvilinear as well.

The second distinction to be made is the one between motivation regulation and meta-cognition. Similarly to motivation, meta-cognition is viewed as an important element of self-regulation in learning (Zimmerman, 1994). Meta-cognition is mostly divided into regulation of cognition and knowledge of cognition (Brown et al., 1983). The former is defined as learners’ efforts put into monitor, control, and/or adjust their cognitive processing as a response to a change in the task difficulty or other task-related circumstances (Baker, 1994). Cognitive regulation activities could be planning task completion, choosing cognitive strategies, monitoring the effectiveness of the strategies, and finally modifying cognitive strategies in case problems occur (Pintrich et al., 2000). Moreover, cognitive regulation and motivation regulation are quite similar; however, they differ in terms of purpose, object or target towards which these two regulatory activities are directed. For instance, cognitive regulation is meant to help students in the learning process itself, which is how students construct, process and understand knowledge; whereas, motivation regulation, as mentioned earlier, concerns the willingness of students to process and understand knowledge and remain on task. Overall, both regulation of motivation and regulation of cognition are so close that they could represent the same expressions of two systems under self-regulated learning, which makes it hard to researchers to empirically study them separately. The second part of meta-cognition is knowledge of cognition which constitutes the students’ understanding of the thinking and learning processes.

The third and final distinction is between motivation regulation and volition. Kuhl (1985) and Corno (2001) define volition to be a way of understanding self-regulation in learning. Compared with motivation regulation, volition is similar to the latter in terms of addressing the importance of how students manage learning difficulties in goal-directed behaviors. Moreover, they both recognize as important the difference between motivational processes and students’ abilities to control and maintain those processes, in addition to highlighting that goal-directed behaviors are accomplished through the use of various strategies which at first are controlled by learners. Moving to the differences between motivation regulation and volition, it is needed to mention that there is a difference between motivation processes and volitional processes which act as a protection for the intention to pursue an educational goal. Volitional theories claim that volition can replace both motivation regulation and regulation of cognition, to be almost equivalent to the entire process of self-regulation, which makes volition and self-regulated learning used interchangeably according to Kuhl (1985) and Corno (2001).

Distinctions between motivation regulation and other self-regulation components are somewhat clearer now; remains to discover what kind of strategies learners use while engaging in motivation regulation. Self-Consequenting is the first strategy and it consists of providing to oneself consequences for one’s own behaviors. It includes identification and administration of extrinsic reinforcements or punishments to reach certain goals which are associated with finishing a task. This strategy is used by learners to intentionally pursue the task on hand. In addition to rewards and behaviors, student could use verbal statements to consequent their behaviors; verbal rewards or punishments are quicker and more subtle. High achieving students use this strategy more than their low achiever counterparts (Purdie & Hattie, 1996), and this could be related to the fact that this strategy is positively associated with performance and general well-being of learners.

The second strategy is Goal-Oriented Self-Talk, which is basically close enough to the previous one, but it includes only the use of thoughts and sub-vocal statement during the engagement in an academic task. The new thing with this strategy is the fact that it does not only deal with statements to reinforce or punish, but it deals also with reasons why learners should stay on or off task. There is evidence that this strategy could support achievement of learners in academic tasks.

The third strategy in question is Interest Enhancement whereby students increase their immediate satisfaction or interest they experience during performing an academic task. Some evidence suggests that student may intentionally enhance their situational interest in academic tasks; however, there is no relationship between interest enhancement and students’ academic achievement.

The fourth strategy is Environmental Structuring, which is also called environmental control (Corno, 1993), resource management (Pintrich, 2000). This strategy works when learners decrease the probability of going off task, by reducing the chance of facing distraction when on task, or by facing the distractions themselves. Research suggested little on the influence of environmental structuring on SRL.

The fifth strategy is Self-Handicapping, as the name indicates, it suggests that learners engage in activities which obstruct tasks and make them more difficult, before starting them. For example, students can postpone tasks, avoid studying, staying up late at night before an important exam etc … what is not sure yet, is whether students are aware when they exercise these handicapping procedures, and they engage intentionally in them, or they happen without initial thoughts. There are many reasons why students would adopt the strategy of self-handicapping, they are (1) to attribute failure to an external reason, (2) shifting the focus from performance aspects to the task itself. In any case this strategy is maladaptive because its purpose is to impede students’ optimal ability to finish a task.

The sixth strategy of motivation regulation is called Attribution Control, whereby students select reasons to give either to maintain or increase their motivation for a task or future tasks, supposedly of the same nature. Some research says that attribution cannot be regulated by students, but some other research claims that students can at some point regulate and manipulate their own attributions to help with their motivation. More importantly, research has shown that interventions to teach students to make suitable attributions were found to improve outcomes like choice, effort and performance (Foersterling, 1985).

The seventh strategy is called Efficacy Management which basically deals with the ability of students to monitor, evaluate and purposefully control their own expectations for tasks. There are three strategies which help in efficacy management, they are (1) Proximal goal setting, which consists of breaking the initial goal into smaller ones, which are simpler and easier to attain; (2) Defensive Pessimism where students highlight their inability to perform the task and they therefore convince themselves they cannot do it. This is usually used for a counter effect, when anxiety should promote some positive actions to avoid the predicted negative outcome; and (3) Efficacy self-talk is about engaging in thoughts and sub-vocal statements with the aim to influence an academic task.

Finally, the last strategy is Emotion Regulation which incorporates monitoring, evaluating, and changing the occurrence, intensity, or duration of a particular emotional experience faced by learners (Eisenberg et al., 2001), it may also include the ability to mask felt emotions, or to ignore physical signs associated with the felt emotions. Emotion control entails as well the ability to regulate one’s emotions to reduce negative responses associated with performance evaluations (Spielberger & Vagg, 1995).

The second article Emotion control in Collaborative learning situations: Do students regulate emotions evoked by social challenges? (Jarvenoja & Jarvela, 2009), will feature the concepts below.

In collaborative learning group members usually work towards a common goal. This requires members to define very well their aims and standards so all members are aware of and would work towards the same goal. The latter happens when all members divide the responsibility for the learning process, so members have to negotiate, reconsider, compromise, explain and listen to each other. Emotional stability among a group is dependent on the efforts of all team members (Thompson & Fine, 1999), because they all regulate their motivation, emotions and cognition together. Students usually employ three different kinds of regulation, they are (1) self-regulation when individuals regulate themselves, (2) co-regulation when individuals assist one another’s regulation, and (3) shared-regulation when group members regulate together towards a shared goal.

Collaborative work can create some positive emotions and might support motivation to learn, which can contribute to advancing interaction, communication and engagement in the co-construction of knowledge (Jones & Isroff, 2005). On the other hand, collaborative work can generate negative emotions and eventually creates new motivational challenges for group members (Jarvela, Lehtinen & Salonen, 2000).

This article concluded with the following statements:

(1)  different students experience a variety of challenges within and between tasks, (2) pedagogical structure and group members’ experience may affect the nature of the challenges encountered by them, (3) students use different forms of regulation to maintain collaborative work, (4) it is possible to work in groups and still reach personal goals, even when the situation is interpreted on a personal perspective, as long as members share the same goal and procedures together.

The third article for this post is Motivational sources and outcomes of self-regulated learning and performance (Zimmerman, 2010). This article starts by stating that students are self-regulated to the extent they are meta-cognitively, motivationally, and behaviorally active participants in their own learning.

The sources of motivation to self-regulated learning are different and many. The first is Goal Orientation theories which are divided into two, one is called performance and the other is learning goals. The first one consists of gaining positive judgments of one’s current level of personal competence and avoid negative judgments. The purpose of the second is to gain positive self-judgments by increasing one’s competence. Dweck and Leggett (1988) claim that a performance orientation reflects a fixed mindset, and is usually based on entity assumption which motivates confident learners to seek more knowledge, while at the same time discourages insecure learners. On the other hand, learning goal orientation reflects a growth mindset and is based on incremental assumption which motivates both confident and insecure learners to seek knowledge opportunities.

The second source of motivation is interest. It is defined as a psychological predisposition to re-engage with particular classes of objects, activities and ideas. Several kinds of interests have been studied like for example situational interest and individual interest. Hidi and Renninger (2006) hypothesized that two types of interest form four phases leading to self-regulation. In phase 1, situational interest is triggered spontaneously, in phase 2, the former is maintained by the environment, in phase 3, repeated engagements in a certain task happens, and in phase 4, there is a well developed interest which leads to future engagements in the same activity. Both situational and individual forms of interest are related to SRL.

The third source of motivation is intrinsic motivation. The latter involves perceived roles of various types of rewards on students who value certain activities. There are two forms of motivation, one is intrinsic and the other is extrinsic. What follows is a form of continuum of motivation and their loci of control: level 1, external regulation and external locus, level 2, introjected regulation and external locus, level 3, identified regulation and internal locus, level 4, integrated regulation combining internal and external loci.

The fourth source of motivation is Task value which refers to students’ perceived worth of a particular task. There are four classes of values they are: (1) attainment value referring to students’ perceptions of competence for a certain task, (2) intrinsic value reflecting the immediate enjoyment one gains from the task, (3) utility value which is the functional value of a task, (4) costs which indicate the consequences of pursuing a valued task. When students are motivated to perform a task, they are more likely to do it more often.

The fifth source of motivation is self-efficacy and outcome belief. There is a distinction between two types of expectancies: self-efficacy and outcomes. The first refers to expectancies about personal capabilities to organize and execute courses of action, whereas outcome expectancies refers to the results of one’s action. Self-efficacy judgments focus on the formal properties of tasks. Parent and Larivee (1991) said that students with high self-efficacy monitor and adapt their performance better than those with low self-efficacy.

The sixth source of motivation is future time perspective focuses on students’ belief about outcomes of efforts to self-regulate. Students with a long future time perspective tend to remain motivated longer than those with a short future time perspective.

The seventh source of motivation is volition which enables students’ to focus their concentration and sustain their effort in dealing with personal and environmental distractions. Self-regulated learners are hypothesized to use more volitional strategies to protect their goal-related.

The eighth motivation source is attributions which focus on the perceived causes of personal outcomes. They are classified by Weiner (1992) in terms of three causal dimensions: locus, stability, control. The locus dimension refers to the perceived cause of a personal outcome as internal or external.  The stability dimension deals with the perceived cause of an outcome as changeable or enduring. The control dimension pertains to the likelihood that the cause is personally controllable. The attributions of positive outcomes to luck usually are negatively correlated with self-efficacy beliefs, whereas students’ attributions of positive outcomes to personal ability and effort are related positively with self-efficacy.

The second concept for this article is about the cyclical view of motivation. SRL is divided into three cyclical phases: forethought, performance, and self-reflection. In the forethought phase, there are two major sources of self-regulation; they are task analysis and self-motivation feelings/beliefs. When students plan their goals, usually they do it in a divided manner, like a proximal path, and they can regulate better than those who set vague and distal goals. Moreover, strategic planning helps in the forethought phase when students select or create strategies for guiding cognition, controlling affect, and disrecting motoric execution (Pressley & Woloshyn, 1995). Self-efficacy and outcome expectancies play a big role in the forethought phase because they predict whether learners will engage in certain activities or not. Moreover, value and interest also affect forethought phase in addition to instrumental qualities. The second phase of SRL cycle is performance. The processes used during this phase are divided into major classes, self-control strategies and self-observation. High self-regulated learners can use meta-cognitive strategies better than low self-regulated learners. The formers can use motivational strategies and volitional strategies better than the latters through self-consequenting, environmental structuring, self-instructions and interest enhancement. The second class or procedures is self-observation referring to meta-cognitive monitoring or self-recording of specific aspects of students’ own performance, in addition to the conditions and outcomes relative to the task. The third phase of the SRL cycle is self-reflection. The major classes here are self-judgments and self-reactions. Self-judgment is about comparing one’s performance to a standard or goal, and the motivational qualities depend on the objective feedback of students and on the appropriateness of standards themselves. Moreover, causal attributions also impact motivation especially those attributed negatively to one’s own low performance, rather than external reasons.



Today is my deadline to submit the editing of my posts. I had planned this day to be really calm, lots of coffee and goodies so my mood would remain cool and up for the task. I am motivated, I really don’t know why, maybe because I am happy I got a second chance to redo the coursework and get to see SRL from a different angle. As I go through this day I intentionally make sure that any environmental influence does not affect my motivation and emotional wellbeing so I can finish writing the articles on time. I had done some thinking about the intrinsic value of this assignment, getting to know better and deep SRL, extrinsic value, which is to save my grade, and improve my self-efficacy which honestly would not have been affected much by failing this course, because I had already sorted the issue of attributions and I know that it is an external factor. My bike was stolen, I looked at where I park it usually, it was not there, so I told myself take a deep breath it’s just a bike and I need all the concentration I need for me to finish my tasks. I did that really successfully and I am happy and proud of how I could not careless. Maybe it is not hard after all to control emotions and regulate them for the sake of a higher purpose, even higher than the wellbeing, like an important academic task.


Motivation to start and sustain motivation

I was fascinated to think about this, while reading the article about how in order for SR learners to sustain motivation, and to regulate it, they need a certain amount of a start up motivation. It reminded me of the dilemma with energy production, when you need red energy to produce green energy sometimes. I personally value so much this initial motivation which could be present since the forethought phase, and it might have helped in the planning and targeting a certain activity. However, the process of going through an activity is not quite smooth, and the initial motivation could be shaken especially when outcome expectancy or the outcome of a certain activity is delayed or not suitable. Many are the factors which can affect motivation and motivation regulation; I am going to focus on emotions though. Emotions if not regulate well, can make you even give up your own life, let alone a small educational task. I see them as a beast which needs to be constantly tamed, especially in the process of self-regulation. Anything can affect emotions, some wrong attribution, some mis-step, low self-efficacy, bad self-evaluation etc …  maybe that is why a surgeon cannot operate on a close family member, because he might be affected by emotions which will inhibit his objectivity at work. I do want to stress though on the importance of teaching those strategies and make it equally important to teaching and preaching about self-regulated learning. Yes SRL is an effective learning strategy, but without the right tools to manipulate the process, it would be like driving a car without the steering wheel.


This particular post is my favorite. Because it really goes deep into the strategies of how to self-regulate especially in each phase; some strategies I already use, and some other I was not aware of until I read about them. I do believe strongly though that all strategies could be characterized under self-defense strategies which make us want to survive, and in order for us to survive we self-regulate left and right to attain goals which could form some sort of salvation for us. Us being humans who suffer from the “human condition”.

I am fine with the formatting of the essays and I feel comfortable using the same one in the upcoming blog tasks. I did not face any challenges while doing this task.

SRL: Task 1: What is SRL?


Solo phase description

This solo task handles three different articles; they are (1) Self-regulated, co-regulated and socially shared regulation of learning; (2) Self-regulation in the classroom: a perspective on assessment and intervention; and (3) A social cognitive view of self-regulated academic learning. The first article defines self-regulation, co-regulation and socially shared regulation and differentiates among the three concepts, in addition to the challenges in theory facing regulation of learning. The second article defines self-regulated learning and discusses the interactions existing between students’ motivation to learn and their wellbeing. Meanwhile, the third article defines self-regulated learning and presents its different components illustrating the existing relationships among these components.

This task in particular will deal with the following concepts:

Defining self-regulation;

Social cognitive assumptions, and the triadic analysis of self-regulated learning;

Determinants of self-regulated learning;

Describing SRL;

What are the differences between SRL, Co-RL and Socially Shared Regulation;

Research on SRL;

Challenges facing research in the regulation of learning;

Approaches to self-regulation;

Instruments to assess self-regulation;

Self-regulation Interventions.

I am hoping I can finish these in two days of time.

I am confident that I will achieve the needed writing by the deadline set. I am trying to follow the assessment criteria, however, I am not quite sure of whether what I am writing is at the same time what is needed.

Concepts Definition

Article Three: A social cognitive view of self-regulated academic learning (Zimmerman, 1989)

Defining self-regulation

In principle, and according to Zimmerman (1986, 1989), self-regulated learners meta-cognitively, motivationally, and behaviorally actively participate in their own learning process. These students usually rely on themselves, and direct their efforts towards knowledge and skills acquisitions with less dependence on teachers. This “independence” in learning suggests that students need to have educational goals, and therefore need to strategize to reach them. Goals and strategies are set usually based on students’ self-efficacy. To better understand, self-regulation we should define self-efficacy on which the former is based. Self-efficacy is defined as the perceptions of one’s capabilities to organize and implement actions to reach a designated task or goal (Bandura, 1986; in Zimmerman, 1989). Reaching goals is important in self-regulated learning, but the strategies used contribute a lot in this effect. SRL strategies are defined as actions and processes directed towards acquiring knowledge. Strategies could involve methods such as organizing and transforming information, self-consequenting, seeking information or using memory aids (Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1986; in Zimmerman, 1986). Setting any goal would not mean that students are self-regulating their learning; the goal in question has to be academic or educational in nature. Meaning goals like grades, social esteem, employment, class tasks etc …

Social cognitive assumptions, and the triadic analysis of self-regulated learning;

Now that we defined self-regulated learning in a general way, we will dig deeper in what makes this process work, and what kind of inter-dependent constructs make up the entirety of self-regulation learning. Bandura (1977b, 1986) in Zimmerman (1986) spoke of differences between personal, environmental and behavioral determinants. The interaction between the three determinants is called triadic reciprocality. We will go through the different determinants in the third section. Meanwhile, the main conclusion from the triadic reciprocality statement is, according to Dandura (1986), that behaviors exhibited by students, during SRL, is the results of both self-generated and external sources of influence, meaning respectively self-related issues and environment related issues.

Figure 1: Triadic analysis of self-regulated learning (Zimmerman, 1986).

Although the three determinants are inter-related and bi-directional, there is no symmetry in the strength of the bi-directional influence. Meaning that one determinant can affect the other one without being affected equally by this other determinant. Moreover, Bandura (1986) explained that the relationships between determinants of SRL and their strength is dependent on personal efforts to self-regulate, outcomes of behavioral performance and changes in environmental context. This suggests that these determinants are not static, and they could change based on students’ perceptions of their effectiveness, when the latter affects self-efficacy. When this happens, regulation of these determinants should take place to regulate where regulation is needed, meaning depending on the type of factor students are currently dealing with, whether personal, environmental or behavioral. Another form of regulation could be called covert regulation which enables students’ to regulate or change in their personal determinant based on feedback of the same personal determinant in question.

Zimmerman (1986) claimed that self-efficacy as a concept affects the process of students’ self-regulation. In fact Zimmerman evokes that students with high self-efficacy display better quality of learning strategies (Kurtz & Borkowski, 1984; in Zimmerman, 1986) and more self-monitoring of their learning outcomes (Dierner & Dweck, 1978; in Zimmerman, 1986). Moreover, Zimmerman cites more than references to support his claim that self-efficacy is positively related to task persistence, task choice, effective study activities, skills acquisition and academic achievement.

If we think about self-efficacy and its definition, it is all about knowing one’s self. Knowing one’s self might be achieved better with sub-processes in self-regulation, as Bandura (1986) in Zimmerman (1986) calls them. They are self-observation, self-judgment and self-reaction.

Determinants of self-regulated learning;

Here comes the part where we get to elaborate on the different determinants of SRL, which parts of the triadic process, Bandura (1986) talked about. Before elaborating on each component, it is necessary to state a note by Thoresen and Mahoney (1974) in Zimmerman (1986). They claimed that SRL is not an absolute process, which means the process of regulation does not happen immutably; rather it depends on social and physical contexts surrounding learners in different situations.

Let’s start with components of personal influences: Students’ self-efficacy depend greatly on other four components, they are students’ knowledge, meta-cognitive processes, goals and the affective domain.

Students’ knowledge is divided into procedural and declarative knowledge.

Declarative knowledge is the kind of knowledge which is not affected by external contexts (Siegler, 1982) in (Zimmerman, 1986)

Procedural knowledge is the kind of knowledge which is organized around conditions and actions (Anderson, 1976) in (Zimmerman, 1986).

Moreover, on the level of meta-cognitive decision making, students get to carefully choose the needed learning strategies to attain the goals in question, on which also, decision making depends. In any case, goals need to be challenging but not impossible for students to attain. Hence, Bandura (1986) in Zimmerman (1986) spoke of proximal goal setting, which ensures that students set challenging yet doable goals, and helps in elevating self-efficacy for task achievement when learning difficulties are exhibited.

When it comes to the affective domain, studies have shown that anxiety for example can inhibit meta-cognitive processes, which in its turn affects self-efficacy of learners.

On another hand, behavioral influences are dependent on three classes of students’ responses during regulation. The three classes are self-observation, self-judgment and self-reaction, which are considered by Zimmerman (1986) as behavioral influences on self-regulated learning based on his triadic interpretation of SRL determinants.

Self-observation is when students monitor their performance. It is however, influenced by different processes like self-efficacy, goal setting and meta-cognitive planning. Self-observation can be divided into verbal reporting or quantitative recording of one’s actions and/or reactions.

Self-judgment is when students compare their performance to a pre-set standard or goal. This construct is related to the same influences as self-observation is. Moreover, self-judgment can happen based on check in procedures or rating, the first being re-examining performance, and the second is by comparing it to the one of others.

Self-reactions is the reaction of students to their own performance, and is usually in reciprocal relationship with the same influences ad the two construct before, but especially with self-efficacy. Three classes of self-reaction strategies exist; they are behavioral self-reactions when students seek to optimize their learning responses, personal self-reactions whereby students try to enhance their learning processes during learning, and environmental self-reactions through which students try to improve their learning environment. These three kinds of reactions are self-initiated and sustained based on positive self-evaluations.

Finally, Bandura (1986) in (Zimmerman, 1986) claims that the three classes of behavioral influences are all interconnected and interdependent.

Moving on to the environmental influences, which is the last type of influences in the triadic process of self-regulation. Those influences are divided among, enactive experience, modeling, verbal persuasion, social support, and the structure of learning context. Bandura (1986) emphasized the importance of enactive experience because it reflect direct input on learners’ self-efficacy, which in its turn pushes students to remain motivated and on task. Modeling on the other hand, could be for example when a teacher models self-regulated learning strategies to students; this when it happens could improve students’ self-efficacy, even for those with learning deficiencies. Verbal persuasion, which is highly dependent on students’ level of verbal abilities, could nurture a variety of cognitive, affective, and academic skills. Self-directed learners, as they are called by Zimmerman and Martinez-Pons (1986) in Zimmerman (1986), relay also on social support in the form of direct assistance from teachers, or other involved parties, and in the form of literary or other symbolic forms of information like diagrams and formulas. The willingness to reach for source of information or social support was found to be related to learners’ achievement. Lastly, the structure of the learning context like the task structure, difficulty and other conditions affect heavily self-regulated learning, by affecting self-efficacy of learners.

Article one: Self-regulated, co-regulated and socially shared regulation of learning (Hadwin, et al, 2011)

Describing SRL;

As human beings, in contrast to animals, we are blessed with the “virtue” of agency, which is defined by Bandura (1986) in (Hadwin, et al, 2011) as the capacity to intentionally plan for, control, and reflect on actions exhibited by us. When it comes to learning agency could be of great help to self-regulated learners, because it allows them to be able to plan and control their own learning, of course when it comes to educational or academic tasks. The following help us better describe self-regulated learning so we can distinguish it from other forms of learning:

Regulated learning is intentional and goal directed;

Goals enable students to compare their performance to a needed standard; they also are the result of translation of tasks which dictates what kind of activities, strategies and discourse would students engage in during regulated learning.

Regulated learning is meta-cognitive;

This is about being able to evaluate the current position against a certain standard. Meta-cognitive abilities allow self-evaluation, which enables self-reaction needed after goal attainment.

Learners regulate behavior, cognition and motivation;

Regulating these three components is at the basis of self-regulated learning; therefore any research which does not study those components cannot be called research about regulated learning.

Regulated learning is social;

No matter how regulated learning is viewed, it is non debatable that it is socially based, and depends on environmental contexts which include the social component.

Learning that is challenging invites strategic regulation of learning

Without challenges in learning, students might not need to self-regulate, but then learning would not be meaningful enough. To be challenged gives the opportunity to regulate learning by choosing suitable strategies and monitoring progress towards a goal.

What are the differences between SRL, Co-RL and Socially Shared Regulation;

Before displaying the differences between SRL, CO-RL and socially shared regulation of learning, let’s define the last two terms first.

CO-RL is when regulation happens among people and activity systems, not on an individual plan

Shared regulation of learning is about interdependent or collectively shared regulatory processes performed in the interest of a shared outcome.

Now that these two are defined, we will discuss the differences existing between the three concepts. The table below is taken from (Hadwin, et al, 2011) and it illustrates the main difference in terms of definition, task contexts, goal, pedagogical mechanisms and research techniques.

To start with definitions, Co-RL is basically the same as SRL, however, the scope of actions is negotiated among two different self-regulating entities, be it student-student or teacher-student. Moreover, CO-RL has the below ingredients: emergent interactions, transitory, calibrated support, meditational properties with cues, promoting appropriation of self-regulatory skills and processes. Research in this regard focuses on interactions or dynamics between individuals and others when it comes to regulated learning.

Socially shared regulation of learning is a concept which allows a collective shared regulatory learning, usually used with the goal of reaching a shared end. Research regarding this concept usually focuses on co-dependent SRL knowledge, beliefs and processes, in addition to co-constructed planning, monitoring, evaluating and strategy regulation processes.

Table 1: Differences among SRL, Co-RL and SSRL (Hadwin, et al, 2011)

Research on SRL;

Hadwin et al. (2001) chose to elaborate abundantly on the research issues in regulated learning. We will start with the major research issues in self-regulated learning; they are:

Social support in SRL research

Modeling is known to encourage and foster better self-regulated learning; therefore researchers would focus on effectiveness of coping models, mastery models or no models at all on certain skills acquisition for example.

Scaffolding which is basically providing needed support to learners which allows them to better self regulate. Research in this field usually focuses on the effectiveness of fixed and adaptive scaffolding on students’ conceptual knowledge, meta-cognition and study procedures etc …

Other forms of support like those given to learners by peers, teachers, family members can facilitate SRL processes, since they are used as strategies part of learners’ meta-cognitive thinking and self-monitoring and control. Some research regarding this kind of social support tackled the effectiveness of external support, like help seeking, etc … a study on PALS by Sporer and Brunstein (2009) in Hadwin et al. (2011) is a good example on it. Another research focus is the one on multi-faceted SRL intervention, and it examines the effectiveness of this intervention of a holistic nature. The third line of research would be examining features, factors and characteristics of contexts that support development of SRL.

Tasks and pedagogical contexts for SRL: Four trends in task contexts when researching SRL

Research on social influences on SRL;

Harnessing the potential of computer technologies for designing learning contexts and environments;

Studying individual learning tasks, although collaborative one exist amply;

And finally, research usually spans elementary school to university students.

The type of data collected in SRL research relies heavily on self-report questionnaires and performance measures at one point in time, like for example the MSLQ which will be dealt with in the following tasks.

Now we will deal with research on Co-RL, following the same pattern used above with SRL.

There are three main research categories dealing with CO-RL; they are:

Examining interactions and transactions in speech as learners move toward independent self-regulated learning;

Research on shared meta-cognition whereby emphasis is placed on peers mediating each other’s meta-cognitive and cognitive actions, rather than mere monitoring and controlling the regulated process for a shared goal;

This line of research focuses on interactions and processes through which social environments affects co-regulated learning.

Tasks and pedagogical contexts for Co-RL research:

Empirical examination of task types from individual to joint or shared task activities;

Research in covers elementary to college education, as mentioned before for SRL;

Co-regulation in research is not considered or limited only to interactions between parents and children or any kind of pair interactions.

Regulation constructs in Co-RL research: it is noteworthy that co-regulation could be considered as episodes of learning where multiple group members verbally contribute to content processing, as well as, individual regulation but could be dominated by one member. CO-RL requires then purposeful mediation of planning, monitoring and evaluating.

Regarding data collection and CO-RL research they are dominated by discourse data and observation of inter-individual dialogue and transactions between dyads. The use of micro-analysis of data discourse, between dyads, helps in unveiling mechanisms and strategies which are used to support regulation of learning.

Lastly, when it comes to socially shared regulation of learning or SSRL, the reference is made to processes with which learners regulate in collective manner in a collective activity.

Research in SSRL is divided into two main streams. The first studies the role of regulation processes in group problem solving without specifying various regulatory processes. Whereas the second stream does the same but with a specific focus on sharing perspectives, like for example shifts in ownership from individual to a group, therefore stressing on the position of social factors in collective regulation of learning.

When it comes to tasks and pedagogical contexts in SSRL, it is important to note that collaborative learning tasks which are a major part of SSRL, should involve construction of a shared understanding when interaction happens between group members. Those have to remain committed to collaboration with common shared goals and common problem solving techniques. On another note, working together suggests that the task understanding happened in co-constructed manner, and that the common goal would be reached as well like in SRL and Co-RL through meta-cognitive monitoring, control of motivation, cognition and behavior as well.

Finally, data collection and analysis in SSRL, unlike Co-RL research, is done on a macro-analytic or combination approach which is meant to understand both the context and the evolution of regulated learning over time.  Process oriented data is usually used to examine social processes of motivation in socially challenging collaborative tasks. Another type of data is videotaped collaborations where emerging group self-regulatory processes over time. SSRL research examines congruence in individual presentations of potentially shared regulatory processes or components. One useful questionnaire, to examine students’ individual self-reports of social challenges experiences during group work, is the one called Adaptive Instrument for the Regulation of Emotions.

Challenges facing research in the regulation of learning; This chapter identified five challenges facing research on self-regulated learning; they are the following:

Research needs to well define SRL, CO-RL and SSRL;

Researchers need to clarify which constructs are they studying;

Lack of research on investigating social aspects in the regulation of learning at some points in time, for individuals and groups alike;

Regulation implies adaption and/or change over time;

Collaborative learning can allow better study of SRL, CO-RL and SSRL.

Article two: Self-regulation in the classroom: A perspective on Assessment and Intervention (Boekarts & Corno, 2005)

Some researchers deal with self-regulation as a general disposition that students bring into the classroom, some others think of self-regulation as a property of the person in situation, and that self-regulatory skills develop through experience within and across situations. We will be focusing on three major issues in the article written by Boekarts and Corno (2005); the issues consist of the different approaches and trends in self-regulation, then we move to discuss the different instruments and approaches to assessing self-regulation, and lastly, we discuss the various types of interventions to support self-regulated learning. This article emphasizes the absence of one simple definition of SR constructs. However, SR is usually defined through different models, which share some common concepts and might differ in others. Below is a brief demonstration commonalities and differences among SR models:

Corno emphasizes volitional aspects of SR, whereas, Winne emphasizes cognitive aspects of SR, on the other hand, McCaslin and Hickey stress on the socio-cultural aspects of SR. Pintrich (2000) in Boekarts and Corno (2005) stated that most SR models agree on the following: self-regulated learners are actively and constructively engaged in the process of meaning generation, and they do adapt their thoughts, feelings and actions based on their set goals; second, biological, developmental , contextual and individual differences could inhibit or support regulation of learning. In the following section, we will discuss the approaches and purposes of Self-regulated learning.

Approaches to self-regulation;

Since self-regulated learning should lead to pre-set goals, goal pursuit should entail a complex path including engagement, and disengagement. Moreover, different types of goals can interact and change with time. Boekaerts (1997) discussed that learners usually have two priorities in mind, the first being to achieve growth goals, knowledge oriented, and the second priority is to maintain their emotional well-being, as much as possible. Boekaerts spoke of a balance which usually students thrive for; this balance includes both growth goals and emotional well-being. He also discussed two processes for the purposeful direction of action, as he calls them. They are:

Top-Down Self-Regulation: this mastery/growth process is usually characterized by self-chosen goals, which increase academic resources. The process is fueled by motivation embodied in personal interest, values, expected satisfaction and rewards. At the start, not all students will engage in mastery goals, during the first expose to the task. Cues from the work environment affect students’ goals.

Bottom-Up Self-Regulation usually happens when self-regulation is triggered by cues from the environment. Goals are not present at the start; rather they are shaped as learners receive feedback or rewards. Following Boekaerts’ model, this suggests that students might become more preoccupied with their well-being, which means looking to redirect the distribution of resources at hand. Maintaining positive feelings becomes much more important that the growth goals. In such cases, students resort to different strategies to deal with the decline in their well-being; some of these strategies could be seeking social support and problem solving, considered adaptive, or some other strategies which could be considered maladaptive such as physical aggression, avoidance, denial etc …

Volitional strategies are usually called upon when the need to stay on or off task arises. These strategies could be time and resources management, prioritizing goals and marking completed tasks. In any case, those associated with emotions are usually qualified as maladaptive and those associated with cognition are claimed to be adaptive.

The next section will discuss the different instruments which are supposed to measure self-regulated learning. They range from strategy self-reports to learning diaries.

Instruments to assess self-regulation

Self-report Questionnaires: These questionnaires usually use reliable Likert scale questions to assess the frequency of reported use of strategy, like for instance the MSLQ (Pintrich et al., 1993) which measures cognitive and meta-cognitive strategies in a quantitative approach, which requires a large sample size.

Observations of Overt Behavior: they deal with ongoing actions, where specific strategies are chosen to be studied, whether individually or as interactions in a group. They need a sampling plan, an observation coding system and a scoring procedure. Usually resulting data is rich and could be qualitative and/qualitative.

Interview Evidence: Usually they are structured or semi structured interviews. Mainly the aim behind these is to gather information on teachers´ and students´ experiences during SRL sessions. Participants will have to identify and label their own actions during a provided task, although interviews are supposedly qualitative, however, researchers can draw quantitative data from them.

Think Aloud Protocols: Students usually report thoughts, feelings, self-regulated strategies, during the process of solving a problem or while completing an assignment.

Traces of Mental Events and Processes: This is done by examining students´ work or some samples. Students´ work usually indicate a big deal on the self-regulated learning process and giving evidence on how students differ between important task traits and minor details.

Situational Manipulations: Exploring self-regulation strategies could be done through a complex computer simulation system.

Recording Student Motivation Strategies as they work: This allows students to share their developing task appraisals and feelings with the researchers, in action.

Keeping Diaries: Students can write down their meta-cognitive, motivation and volition strategies. Diary entries can be analyzed in a qualitative manner following a specified coding system. Diaries also depend on the ability of students to write, which is not the same among different students, which makes the process a bit unreliable.

Self-regulation Interventions: Second Generation Classroom Interventions based on Socio-culturalism

Classroom teachers are key agents in enhancing a self-regulation intervention or ruin it. Their expertise on the job is developed away from what they learn in education courses as pre-service teachers.  Examples of such interventions are:

Palincsar and Brown (1984) developed a cognitive procedure called reciprocal teaching. Teachers take the role of learning monitors then they pass on the role to other students.

Computer Mediated Learning Environments: computer software supports learning through hints and feedback, closely related to adaptive instruction, which allows scaffolding for students. Later, students become independent soloists, and develop their own self-regulation processes.

Collaborative Learning in Classrooms: Collaborative jigsaws were used by Brown and Campione (1994) with students groups in ecological sciences. Usually collaborative learning allows the better achievers to practice peer teaching and deepen their understanding, while, low achievers benefit from peer understanding of the knowledge in question.



Before coming to Finland and learn that there is something called self-regulation in learning, I had always been trying to regulate myself. That is in every single manner. Be polite, walk with straight legs, smile at people even when I’m sad, don’t get mad now, suck it up and move on. Regulation meant to me to always go against how you feel like going. Pretty much like how Bree Van Dekamp portrays this stoic woman who no matter what she faces in life she will smile and go on with whatever she was doing before hearing the bad news. Some people can do it easily; some others have to invest so much in them in order to regulate their emotions. But in any case, it seems that self-regulation is needed in education as much as it is needed outside the educational framework. In education and from the articles above it is obvious how regulation can be employed, however, in the professional domain, I would be scared to know that a doctor could not handle his emotions and collapsed, or he quit during an operation because he felt he is not motivated enough. Regulation then is not a commodity or a delicacy which one can live without.

It starts with forethought, then acting then monitoring. It sounds really simple, but it is not in fact. SRL is fully twisted with so many interactions, which are visible in the triadic relationship above, and some other deep interactions which cannot be depicted in the triadic relationship, but they nonetheless exist and affect the process of self-regulation.


Social aspect of regulation

I will be discussing the research on SRL part. I was particularly interested in one of the challenges facing research on SRL. The challenge is the lack of research or interest in exploring the social aspects of learning regulation on the individual and the societal level.

Yes the social aspect for me is very important. I am a kind of person whose group work inclinations are really affected by how much social interaction, positive one, can be made within a group. I do not think someone should be forced to work with others in the first place. Why should a student spend so much energy on regulating his emotions in order for him to be able to work in group, while he can spend less time and energy on regulating, and more on actually performing the task itself? Yes, people do need to work in groups, but learning in groups is one of the concepts which I will always doubt, even though it can be effective on the practical and outcome level. Just to be clear, my concern is purely societal.

Students need to be able to choose to work in groups or individually. Education needs to be tailored to students’ needs and fitting all students under collaborative learning umbrella does not mean they will not get wet, neither would standing under another umbrella. I can accept that politics is negotiable, debatable; but when it comes to learning and constructing knowledge, I still do not see the point of collaboration in learning. Partnerships are filled with sacrifices, and compromises; for me group work is a kind of partnership where unnecessary compromises are made. I can commit to being single and avoid making relationships sacrifices, but it seems that it is a luxury I cannot afford in my own education any more.


This post took lots of time to get done, as I am not sure still, that I am doing the right thing. However, since I am repeating the entire solo course work, I am working this time with much less emotions than before, which is good because I could at least accept the concepts I am talking about. In the coming tasks, I will be using less bullet points and integrate everything into a big essay. In general, I am happy I got the chance to redo the entire work so my attitude would change.

Going towards expertise … a journey, not an end …

Yes, they are not cafes, and no, people do not go there to have coffee and chat with their friends. But quite honestly, I would love to go there for my daily coffee(s), and yes why not hide in shame in those big stair case boxes, whenever needed. I am talking about the visit to this colorful school, called Ubiko.

This post will revoke the visit to the school and comment on it using two articles. The first deals with the effect of school design on teaching and learning, and the second, a book chapter, dealing with staff development of medical educators, roaming on their expertise ladder.


The visit

In general, I noticed that the Finnish architecture and design could be based on a proverb saying “simplicity makes beauty”. At Ubiko, you could see how things flow by themselves, the colors, the arrangement of furniture, the furniture, high-tech resources, and even pianos everywhere; and all this in the purpose of serving teaching and learning, of teachers and students alike. This visit made me think of the palpable importance of the physical space, mainly because not much attention usually is placed on it. Decent buildings and spaces “would have been sufficient enough” during my school days (which is not so long ago, since I am eternally young “21”). In any case, the Victorian Institute of Teaching and Learning, in the U.S., published an article discussing “The Effect of the Physical Learning Environment on Teaching and Learning”. I was pleased and intrigued to learn some interesting information about the effect of physical aspects of schools on learning. Earthman (2004) concluded that temperature, heating, and air quality are the most crucial aspects for student achievement. Higgins et al. (2004) concluded that chronic noise exposure inhibits cognitive functioning, leading for example noise-related reading problems. Although, research about the choice of color is not decisive, however, bright colors are usually favored by young students, whereas, adolescents like subdued ones (Higgins, 2004). Between brackets, I am listening to this Ave Maria with the most angelic voices ever, and this is definitely affecting my mood, when writing this post.

Yes, this is not only it; the physical environment does affect achievement as well. The buildings where students learn influence pretty much how well they learn (Earthman, 2004). Bunting (2004) says it best, today’s schools need to think of spaces which attract students, like cafes attract its clientele. Moreover, it is not only students who benefit from ergonomic and beautiful school spaces, but teachers do as well. Siegel (1999) has found a direct relationship between architecture and teacher’s collaboration! Siegel continues and affirms that space arrangement has immediate consequences on teachers’ effective and efficient, social, professional and knowledge sharing activities.

Having said the latter, physical arrangement could then enhance teachers’ expertise especially in professional and inter-relational contexts of their daily activities. But, staff development and/or professional development could have a bigger influence on teachers’ expertise. In this post, I will examine the following:

  1. What is staff development?
  2. Is there a curriculum for staff development of medical educators?
  3. What kind of staff development exists in medicine?

First of all, staff development has been created to support medical educators’ expertise in all educational levels, meaning undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education (Steinert, 2005). The definition of staff development would be: “… a planned program designed to prepare institutions and faculty members for their various roles (Bland et al., 1990), and to improve individuals’ knowledge and skills in teaching, research and administration” (Sheets & Schwenk, 1990). In addition to its educational benefits, staff development can promote organizational change (Steinert, 2000; Steinert et al, 2007). The latter, in my opinion, is crucial because static organizations would foster static curricula and ways of teaching that are not dynamic. Staff development, in my opinion as well, could be one of the biggest windows, through which the wind of change can make it inside any institution, like faculties of medicine and teaching hospitals.

Medical students, according to literature, value the following characteristics in their medical educators (Irby, 1994)):

  1. Enthusiasm
  2. Positive attitude
  3. Rapport with students and peers
  4. Availability and accessibility
  5. Clinical competence
  6. Subject matter expertise.

On the same wavelength, literature discussed some core teaching skills of utmost importance for medical educators, (Copeland & Hewson, 2000) enumerate the following:

  1. Establishing a positive learning environment
  2. Setting clear objectives and expectations
  3. Provision of timely and relevant information
  4. Effective use of questioning and other instructional methods
  5. Appropriate role modeling
  6. Constructive feedback and objective-based evaluations.

I do not think it is a matter of rocket science. The relationship between a student and his teacher could be much like the one between a service provider and a client. Services are offered based on clients’ needs; this suggests the importance of medical educators leaning towards their students’ academic, educational and professional desires.

Currently many health institutions do have a curriculum for staff development, however, they rarely stress on the importance of sound instructional methods (Purcell & Lloyd-Jones, 2003). In a study by Bordage et al. (2000), they found that the most important skills for medical educators are:

  1. Oral communication
  2. Interpersonal abilities
  3. Clinical competence
  4. Educational goal definition
  5. Educational design
  6. Problem solving and decision making
  7. Team building
  8. Written communication.

New learning theories like Collaborative learning and self-regulated learning do not seem to be far away from medical education. Even implicitly one can notice the growing attention that is being given to these learning theories. As a quick note, interpersonal abilities and team building seem to be quite related to principles of collaborative learning. If medical educators have such skills, they will hopefully be able to transfer them to their students, either by direct instruction or by role modeling. Moreover, problem solving and decision making could be closely related to self-assessment and self-regulated learning. More on this will follow in the below summary of what does the experience, of being a clinical educators, entail? I report the answer from a study by Higgs and McAllister (2007). Clinical educators experience:

  1. A sense of self
  2. A sense of relationship with others
  3. A sense of being a clinical educator
  4. A sense of agency, or purposeful action
  5. A dynamic self-congruence
  6. A sense of growth and change.

It is necessary that a curriculum for professional development be defined in terms of both medical educators’ and students’ needs. What follows are the different types of frameworks for staff development in medicine.

First, let’s start with the formal approaches. They include four different ones; they are workshops, seminars and short courses, fellowships and other longitudinal programmes, degree programmes, and peer coaching.

Second, the informal approaches; they include four different ones as well. These approaches are work-based learning, communities of practice, mentorship and modeling, and organizational support and development.

As a conclusion to this post, I would like to stress on the importance of empowering teachers in terms of knowledge, skills and physical resources as well. I think the ability of teachers to be inclined towards expertise could be conditioned by their physical surroundings and spaces and by the availability of support programs for their growth. Becoming a medical educator or any educator could then be a journey rather than an end.


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Higgs, J., & McAllister, L. (2007). Educating clinical educators: using a model of the experience of being a clinical educator. Medical teacher29(2-3), e51-e57.

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Bree VandeKamp, Stoicism and Self-Regulation

PS: This post is personal and academic, and serves as the first reflection for the Theory course.

Here I am again, after almost two weeks of despair and demotivation. After two weeks of trying to get myself out of this weird lost feeling, which made me feel like a cat without its staches, lost but not even wandering this time. Too tired to wander, I had to drop everything, I stopped self-regulation, turned down my mind systems and dyed my hair. Essi told me I should include more photos, so here they are.

Affichage de IMG_20141117_020605.jpg en cours...

This is a picture of how a middle eastern would look if he tries dying his hair as a strategy towards regulating his messed up motivation, and as a way to trick himself into not thinking about current issues.

The color I ended up with, which is orange resulted in needing more self-regulation efforts towards accepting it, although the box said Atomic platinum. Speaking of orange and strong colors, the redhead below is called Bree Vandekamp, she is a star heroin in the series “Desperate Housewives”. She was known to be the lady who self-regulates, in addition to be the number one stoic on Wisteria Lane.

Self-regulation is a not just a learning theory that is being taught at a University, that is close to the north pole. Self-regulation is at the heart of a Greek philosophical current called Stoicism. Faucoult reflected on the self and being stoic, in the following manner. According to Besley (2009) the stoics examine themselves, judge themselves and discipline themselves, and this lead to self-knowledge. This is done through superimposing truths from their memory, making themselves a collection of truths to be used for future reference, when needed.

In a shy comparison, I will allow myself to compare Zimmerman’s concept of Self-regulated learning to what is proposed above by Besley (2009). Forethought, the phase one in Zimmerman’s (2000) SRL theory could be assimilated with “examining” the self that is done by stoics, judging and disciplining the self would happen after the phase of performance control, leading to the third phase which is self-reflection paralleled with the self-knowledge, from stoicism.

My aim in this post is not to display theory on SRL, but to reflect on it, or at least try to. Before going deep into the post, I want to mention something which I noticed lately, that I can improve my self-concept and regulate my emotions through for example two songs performed by Sia, the first one is Chandeliers and the second song is Titanium. Please do check the lyrics of the songs, and reflect on the wording with relation to self-concept and emotion regulation. Bottom line we could be regulating every single second of our lives, or not.

So it is getting late and I need to get somewhere with this post before I sleep. I was particularly intrigued by the section on measurement of SRL, in the article by Moos and Ringdal (2012). It is said that SRL self reported questionnaires are considered valid for assessing SRL skills, especially when they are considered as an aptitude or an event. I am happy as well, to be exposed to different kinds of questionnaires which can be used to measure SRL skills among college students. These questionnaires are MSLQ, MSLQ revised, CSSRQ, SRLIT and other qualitative observations methods.

For our group’s science book, we will be investigating SRL, CL and Learning of Expertise from the teachers’ point of view in medical education. In the SRL course, we would want to try to define Self-directed learning in terms of SRL. The second being preliminary for the first, where as SDL is totally independent of any supervision.

At the end, all I can say is God be with us. Bree Vandekamp, Sia, Foucault, stoicism and Zimmerman what a weird combination!


Besley, T. (2009). Foucault, truth telling and technologies of the self in schools.The Journal of Educational Enquiry, 6(1).

Moos, D. C., & Ringdal, A. (2012). Self-Regulated Learning in the classroom: A Literature review on the teacher’s role. Education Research International, 2012.

Zimmerman, B. J. (2000). Attaining self-regulation: A social cognitive perspective.