Self-regulated learning: A meta-course of online courses for educators

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Self-regulated learning: A meta-course of online courses for educators


Common wisdom tells us that successful learners are often those who are able to regulate their own learners, who are able to find a balance between play time and study time, use strategies to achieve goals, and resort to resources to solve problems when necessary. Literature has corroborated the common wisdom. In online learning, learner's self-regulation has been shown to be one of the key predicators of success in online learning environment. As online learning starting to reach down to K-12 schools, and more and more online courses looming, it's important to help educators of all grade-level understand the theory and practice of self-regulated learning.


This mini-course is designed as a "meta-course" for a semester-length online course on Introduction to Distance/Online Learning. It's a "meta-course" in the sense that it's not a typical module by subjects or by sequences, rather, it's built-into the course design process, and its learning activities and learning goals will span from the beginning till the end of the semester. However, its activities will accompany regular modules by subjects or by sequences. In other words, it's built into a course-shell.

General setting:

instructor should work closely with each student and each group, ensuring the three stages of SRL are running in circle. project-based instruction is recommended. Break your students into small groups for work on projects, following the SRL model.

The meta-module is broken down into 4 parts. It contains an Intro part and 3 parts corresponding to the four stages of self-regulated learning. They can be complemented with any online course by inserting them into regular modules (see example here: The Task Analysis section).

Part One: Intro

Target Objective:

Learners will be able to characterize the meaning of self-regulated learning, and to identify its key components.

Part Two: Forethought/Planning

Target Objective:

Learners will be able to Plan ahead their learning objectives in this course.

Part Three: Performance

Target Objective:

Learners will be able to carry out their learning plan.

Part Four: Reflection

Target Objective:

Learners will reflect on their performance against their objectives, and devise plan for further improvement.


Zimmerman, B. J. (2002). Becoming a self-regulated learner: An overview. Theory Into Practice, 41(2), 64-70.

Zimmerman, B. J. (2008). Investigating self-regulation and motivation: historical background, methodological development, and future prospects. American Educational Research Journal, 45(1), 166-183.