#4 Self-Regulated Intrinsically Motivated Learners

Students learn better when they become intrinsically motivated and self-regulated learners, believing that they are capable of learning.

  • Students develop an understanding of how to learn. This includes learning how to:[1]
    • Be better students
      • Learning study skills and appropriate orientations toward learning
    • Inquire and construct knowledge
      • Learning how to incorporate knew knowledge into existing knowledge structures
    • Be self-directed learners
      • Understanding the purpose of learning
      • Developing a learning plan
      • Critically reflecting on experiences
  • Self-regulated learners and metacognition[2]
    • Metacognition is dual natured
      • Knowledge or awareness of cognition and
      • Regulation or control of cognition[3]
    • Metacognition is “critical thinking about one’s own thinking”[4]
    • Expert thinkers typically have more malleable metacognitive skills than novice thinkers
      • They assess and adjust their understanding throughout the learning process
      • They flexibly incorporate new knowledge into existing knowledge[5]
    • Research suggests adults are often bad predictors of their learning and abilities
      • College students often over estimate their performance on exams[6]
    • Self-regulated learners understand the best approach to a learning task including monitoring their comprehension and evaluating their progress toward completion
    • Self-regulated learners have a growth mindset[7]
      • Intelligence is not set but is malleable
      • One does not have to be innately talented to learn a skill
      • Failure is an opportunity to learn
    • Teachers can support student metacognition and create self-regulated learners by:
      • Knowing the cognitive load students can take on
      • Knowing how students process and problem solve to create a supportive learning environment
      • Using low stakes assessments
      • Offering pre and post assessments along with prompts to engage metacognition between the two assessments
      • Reflective journaling activities with prompts to enhance metacognition
      • Muddiest Point- a writing exercise to reflect on what was difficult to understand from the lesson[8]
      • Articulating the learning process and building in opportunities for reflection[9]
        • Providing scaffolding around problem solving techniques[10]
        • Identifying areas where students need support
  • Student motivation[11]
    • Goals- Students motivated by performance goals typically do what is needed to appear competent while students motivated by learning goals approach school work to become competence and truly learn
      • Teachers can support students in developing goals by:
        • Clearly articulating immediate lesson goals and performance standards
        • Connecting the lesson goals to broader distal goals
      • Values- Students are motivated when they see meaning and purpose in what they are dong[12]
        • Teachers can help enhance student values by:
          • Providing real-world learning opportunities
          • Connecting course content to student’ interests
          • Showing personal interest in the content
          • Connecting the content to long term learning goals
          • Providing opportunities for student choice and flexibility and reflection
        • Expectancies- Students who believe they can be successful are more motivated to pursue and complete a goal[13]
          • Teachers can support student expectancies by:
            1. Providing clear expectations and rubrics
            2. Giving students the opportunity to be successful early on
            3. Providing tasks with appropriate amounts of challenge
            4. Allowing opportunities for reflection

[1] L. Dee Fink. Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003) 50-55.

[2] McCormick, C. B. (2003). Metacognition and learning. In I. B. Weiner (Ed.), Handbook of psychology (Two, pp. 79-102). Wiley Online. doi:10.1002/0471264385.wei0705

[3] Girash, John (2014). Metacognition and instruction. In V. A. Benassi, C. E. Overson, C. M. Hakala (Eds.), In Applying Science of Learning in Education: Infusing Psychological Science into the Curriculum. American Psychological Association. 153

[4] Ibid. 154

[5] Ibid. 154

[6] Ibid. 156

[7] Henderson and Dweck, C. (1990). Achievement and Motivation in Adolescence: A New Model and Data. In S. Feldman and G. Elliott (Eds.), At the Threshold: The Developing Adolescent. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

[8] Girash, J. (2014). Metacognition and instruction. In V. A. Benassi, C. E. Overson, C. M. Hakala (Eds.), In Applying Science of Learning in Education: Infusing Psychological Science into the Curriculum. 160

[9] Tanner, Kimberly D.  (2012). Promoting student metacognitionCBE—Life Sciences Education, 11, 113-120.

[10] Ambrose, S. A., Lovett, M., Clark, C. M., Bjork, R. A., Lee, C. H., Kalyuga, S., & Taatjes, A. (2014). Applying science of learning in education: Infusing psychological science into the curriculum. V. Benassi, & C. Hakala (Eds.).

[11] Ambrose, et. al., How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010). 188-216.

[12] Ibid. 83-85

[13] Ibid. 85-89