Self-regulated learning: Impact of teaching methodology based on principles of adult learning

Date of Completion

January 1999


Education, Community College|Education, Adult and Continuing|Education, Curriculum and Instruction




As adult students return to school, they are often confronted with the need not only to learn new domain specific skills, but also to learn how to learn so they can acquire these skills. As the number of returning adult students in higher education increases, colleges and universities are faced with the need to assist these learners in learning how to acquire the knowledge that they seek. ^ Modifications to Zimmerman's (1998) model of self-regulated learning (SRL) were used to explain changes in students' SRL. Five key instructional practices were identified to promote students' SRL and were embedded into a math curriculum. These five practices were: (1) guide self-beliefs, goal setting, and expectations; (2) promote reflective dialogue; (3) provide corrective feedback; (4) connect abstract concepts; and (5) link to new experiences. A comparison group was taught by traditional lecture methods. ^ Data were collected from students (n = 78) attending a New England community college. Analysis of variance (ANOVA), correlations, and path analyses were used to determine differences between the treatment and comparison groups' perceptions of their SRL pre- to post-semester. ^ The results of this study suggest that students learn through lecture-based format to focus on the teacher as the central source of information. If students leave higher education expecting another to be the central source of information, they will not be effective at independently solving problems. ^ Students who learned through SRL embedded teaching methods became more effective in SRL. The potential spillover into the workforce is that adults who are better able to solve problems themselves will be better on the job. Higher education can help students become prepared for solving work-related problems by integrating the teaching of self-regulation skills into the curriculum. ^