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Faculty Resources for Online Teaching

Self-Regulated Learning

Broadbent and Poon (2015) performed a systematic review into the association between self-regulated learning strategies and student academic achievement in online courses. These findings suggest that online students who make good use of their time, are conscious of their learning behaviour, are critical in their examination of content, and persevere in understanding the learning material despite challenges faced are more likely to achieve higher academic grades in online settings. 

Self-Regulated Strategies examined in the study:

Metacognition - the awareness and control of mental thoughts. For example, an online learner who becomes confused from the online material consciously goes back and endeavours to figure it out.

Time Management  - Time management refers to the ability to plan study time and tasks. For example, an online learner may schedule a weekly time to read the recommended readings.

Effort Regulation - Effort regulation refers to the capacity to persist when confronted with academic challenges. For example, when an online learner continues to study even when the learning material is uninteresting. 

Peer Learning - Peer learning can be described as collaborating with other learners in order to aid one's learning. For example, an online learner gets together with other online learners to study. 

Elaboration - Elaboration refers to the ability to fuse new and existing information with the aim of remembering the new material. For example, a learner may relate the online material to what he or she already knows.

Rehearsal - Rehearsal refers to learning by repetition, such as a learner who listens to an online lecture over and over again.

Organization - Organization relates to one's ability to highlight main points during learning. For example, an online learner draws up charts and tables to organize the online material

Critical Thinking - Critical thinking refers to the ability to carefully examine learning material. For example, an online learner thinks about possible alternatives after reading an online concluding statement

Discussion (Broadbent and Poon, 2015)

The study found that four of the learning strategies were significant but weakly associated with academic achievement: metacognition, time management, effort regulation, and critical thinking. It is not the studies claim that online learning fosters self-regulated learning strategies nor that transferring traditional teaching design and material to the online environment results in the same learning outcomes. Teachers should ensure they fully utilize the benefits afforded by online environments, such as flexibility, while carefully designing for the development of self-regulatory skills. The strongest effect on academic achievement was found for peer learning. The study argues that peer learning should be prioritized in the context of online learning.



Broadbent, J., & Poon, W. L. (2015). Self-regulated learning strategies & academic achievement in online higher education learning environments: A systematic review. Internet and Higher Education, 27, 1–13.

Richardson, M., Abraham, C., & Bond, R. (2012). Psychological correlates of university students’ academic performance: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 138(2), 353–387.

Teaching Math Online by Matthew Cheung. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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