Knowledge and beliefs about self-regulation of learning

Year: 2016

Author: Lawson, Michael, Vosniadou, Stella, Askell-Williams, Helen

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

A foundational assumption of the cognitive psychology of learning is that “people do not record experience passively but interpret new information with the help of prior knowledge and experience…All acquisition of knowledge…requires active interpretation by the learner” (Anderson, Reder & Simon, 1998). This ACTIVE interpretation is complex and ongoing. In classroom lessons, or in lectures, the active interpretation is carried out by students and by the teacher, each managing their own interpretation processes. Thus both teacher and students need to know how to effectively manage these active interpretation processes. Both need to know how to regulate learning. An implication of this position is that teachers and students would need to gradually develop a body of knowledge about learning that reflects, to some suitable level, the body of knowledge about good quality learning actions that has been developed in the field of learning science. Especially in the case of teachers, it might be expected that they would have developed a broad and complex knowledge base in the domain of learning, one that would enable them to generate solutions to teaching and learning problems. In this paper we will review research literature that raises doubts about the extent to which some teachers and students show evidence of developing good quality knowledge about the self-regulation of learning. This evidence has emerged in research in several different countries, including Australia. We will also consider possible reasons that might contribute to this situation, including the beliefs held by teachers about the nature of learning. For example, if learning is seen to be a ‘natural’ activity, similar in kind to first language acquisition, it might be accepted that no explicit instruction about the nature and details of the processes of self-regulated learning is necessary, or that such instruction would not provide effects of practical significance. Yet the detailed body of research on self-regulated learning strategy interventions generated over past decades provides strong evidence that these interventions are associated with strong, practically significant effects. Exploration of teachers’ and students’ beliefs about the nature and processes of learning are suggested to provide a promising direction in research on why detailed knowledge about learning processes does not appear to be part of the professional knowledge base of some teachers and students.ReferencesAnderson, J. R., Reder, L. M. & Simon, H. A. (1998) Radical constructivism and cognitive psychology. In D. Ravitch (Ed). Brookings Papers on Education Policy, p. 232). Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution