Student Success And Well-Being: Do Self-Regulated Learning And Self-Compassion Interventions Improve Success?

Students’ sense of thriving and well-being during their transition to university is influenced by their positive engagement with university learning, their sense of belonging to an academic community, and their effective management of time and competing demands (King, Garrett, Wrench & Richardson, 2013). At the same time, health and well-being have been shown to be vital factors in effective learning amongst university students (Wyn, Cuervo, Smith & Woodman, 2010). This project aims to improve first year student success, well-being and retention through the implementation of targeted interventions that aim to develop students’ learning and coping strategies.
Research indicates that self-regulated learning (SRL) is strongly correlated with academic achievement (Pintrich & Zusho, 2002). There is also empirical support that relates students’ cognitive, emotional and behavioural outcomes with academic success and well-being (Terry, Leary & Mehta, 2013) and it is suggested that self-compassion interventions can be an effective tool to help students adjust to university study (Neff, Hseih & Dejitterat, 2005; Neff 2009). On the basis of this previous research, the aims of this project were to develop a tool that will measure students’ self-regulated learning behaviours, health and well-being, and through intervention strategies designed on constructs relating to SRL and self-compassion, promote better learning, well-being, and retention outcomes for students. The project contributes towards a greater understanding of well-being as part of the students’ experience of university and will be useful for identifying patterns that explain students at risk of withdrawing or failure (Terry, Leary & Mehta, 2013).
This project was trialled on first year Human Physiology students who, as part of the course requirements, undertook inquiry-based research projects, collecting data on their own physiological health and well-being as the course progressed. Measurements of students’ SRL behaviours and of their self-compassion outlook were obtained using online surveys and focus groups at three points during the academic year. Two strategically scheduled learning intervention sessions were presented to the students in the course of the academic year, the outcomes of which were measured against the SRL, health and well-being data in addition to students’ coursework grades and retention data.
The outcomes of this project will be presented along with pedagogical guidelines for the use of intervention strategies that will enable the improvement of student learning outcomes and well-being in all courses and programs.
King, S. Garrett, R. Wrench, A. and Richardson, A. (2013). What does it take to thrive in this place?: An exploration of students’ experiences of first year university. Paper presented at the 36th HERDSA International conference The Place of teaching and learning Auckland, NZ.
Neff, K. D. (2009). Self-compassion. In M. R. Leary & R. H. Hoyle (Eds.), Handbook of individual differences in social behavior (pp. 561-573). New York: Guilford Press.
Neff, K.D., Hseih, Y.-P., & Dejitterat, K. (2005). Self-compassion, achievement goals, and coping with academic failure. Self and Identity, 4, 263–287.
Pintrich, P.R. and Zusho, A. (2002). Student motivation and self-regulated learning in the college classroom, in Higher Education: handbook of theory and research (vol. XVII), J.C. Smart and W.G. Tierney, Editors., Agathon Press: New York.
Terry, M. L., Leary, M. R., & Mehta, S. (2013). Self-compassion as a buffer against homesickness, depression, and dissatisfaction in the transition to college. Self and Identity. 12, 278-290.
Wyn, J., Cuervo, H., Smith, G. and Woodman, D. (2010). Young people negotiating risk and opportunity: post-school transitions 2005-2009. Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne.