Self-regulated learning (SRL) is one model used to understand students’ engagement and achievement in academic settings (Cleary & Zimmerman, 2012; Wolters & Taylor, 2012). Furthermore, SRL may be especially salient as students enter postsecondary contexts (Cohen, 2012; Park, Edmondson, & Lee, 2012; Pintrich & Zusho, 2007). One reason is that, for many students, beginning a higher education is accompanied by increased personal and social freedom, responsibility, and independence. Many students are—often for the first extended time—away from the direct supervision of parents. College typically presents students with additional opportunities and greater flexibility with regard to their social life and academic pursuits. The nature of instruction and academic demands can also shift dramatically. Compared with many academic requirements in high school, college courses are more rigorous and involve less time in class, fewer interactions with instructors, more long-term assignments and evaluations, and less direct oversight regarding when and how assignments get completed. Postsecondary educational contexts, therefore, are likely to present serious challenges to students’ continuing motivation and active engagement in learning. The purpose of this chapter is to evaluate SRL as one model for better understanding and addressing motivational aspects of college students’ disengagement. Accordingly, the remainder of the chapter is divided into four major sections. We briefly describe our model of SRL and how it applies to motivational disengagement among college students. We then review three types of SRL interventions designed to prevent or ameliorate disengagement among college students. We recommend several instructional practices and policies that can be used to nurture students’ SRL, especially with regard to their regulation of motivation. Last, we recommend future directions for the research linking college students’ SRL and their engagement within academic contexts.
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