How to become master of your own learning processes?

Martine Baars

For students to become lifelong learners and masters of their own learning process, they need to acquire certain skills. In educational psychology, these skills are called self-regulated learning skills. Ernesto Panadero has written an overview article in which he summarizes six models of self-regulated learning and what the implications for education are. According to these theories and models about self-regulated learning, there is range of skills a student would need to be able to successfully self-regulate learning processes.

For example, a student should be able to plan learning activities. But also monitor these activities in order to check whether the activities are effective and efficient in terms of understanding and/or remembering learning materials. Next to monitoring the learning process, using that information to improve the learning process, also called regulation or control, is another important aspect of self-regulated learning. The motivation of students also plays a role in self-regulated learning. Depending on the goals that students have, they will undertake learning activities to reach those goals. Yet, those goals can also be to avoid the activities that would be good in terms of learning (e.g., skipping class). All these characteristics, plans and goals of the student will interact with the learning task a student is doing when learning in a self-regulated way. Taken together, the different models of self-regulated learning paint a complex picture of all the different aspects involved in being able to learn in a self-regulated way.

Unfortunately, and maybe not so surprisingly, we are not very good at self-regulating our own learning. Mostly because we tend to overestimate what we understand and will remember from learning materials. And this is problematic for the choices we make in further learning. But as Panadero also writes in his article, research has shown that we can support or train self-regulated learning in students. Research has shown positive effects of self-regulated learning interventions on learning outcomes of students. Therefore, one of the educational implications in the article is that teacher-training students, and teachers can learn more about self-regulated learning in order to be able to show and teach their own students how to do this.

In addition to this, it seems crucial to align the efforts to teach students how to self-regulate their learning at the different educational levels (i.e., primary education, secondary education etc.). Also, as the goals students have are crucial to their learning behaviours according to most self-regulated learning models, it would be interesting to help student formulate learning goals. The last implication provided in the article by Panadero, is that self-regulated learning has to develop over the years with practice, feedback and observation. Thus, although it seem a huge challenge to get students to self-regulate their learning, it does not have to happen overnight.  

Please find the article by Panadero here:

For an example of a self-regulated learning intervention tool, please visit:

Here you can find information on a freely available mobile application that was developed based on research and theory together with a team of specialists.


More information
Article by Panadero
Self-regulated learning intervention tool Ace Your Self Study