Enhancing self-regulated learning in higher education

  • Barbara Šteh University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts
  • Marjeta Šarić University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts
Keywords: higher education, self-regulated learning, enhancing self-regulated learning, students’ characteristics, learning context


A key task of higher education is empowering students for in-depth learning, critical thinking, and assuming responsibility for learning and their future professional work. To attain these goals, it is crucial for students to acquire the ability to regulate their learning. This article presents the concept of self-regulated learning, together with the learning models and factors that contribute to the adequate application of self-regulating strategies. The latter depend on both students’ individual characteristics and contextual factors. The processes of self-regulated learning can be learnt and lead students to more meaningful learning, greater satisfaction in studying, and better learning outcomes.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Barbara Šteh, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts

Assoc. Prof., University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Aškerčeva 2, Ljubljana, barbara.steh@ff.uni-lj.si

Marjeta Šarić, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts

Assistant., University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Aškerčeva 2, Ljubljana, marjeta.saric@ff.uni-lj.si


Adams, C. M., Ware, J. K., Miskell, R. C., & Forsyth, P. B. (2016). Self-regulatory climate: A positive attribute of public schools. The Journal of Educational Research, 109(2), 169–180. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/00220671.2014.934419 (Accessed: 14.1.2020.)

Ben-Eliyahu, A., & Linnenbrink-Garcia, L. (2013). Extending self-regulated learning to include self-regulated emotion strategies. Motivation and Emotion, 37(3), 558–573. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-012-9332-3 (Accessed: 5. 2. 2020.)

Biggs, J. (1990). Teaching for desired learning outcomes. In N. J. Entwistle (Ed.), Handbook of Educational Ideas and Practices (pp. 681–693). New York: Routledge.

Bloxham, S., & Boyd, P. (2007). Developing Effective Assessment in Higher Education. Maidenhead & New York: Open University Press.

Boekaerts, M. (2007). Understanding students' affective processes in the classroom. In P. A. Schutz & R. Pekrun (eds.), Emotion in Education (pp. 37–56). San Diego: Academic Press.

Boekaerts, M., & Cascallar, E. (2006). How far have we moved toward the integration of theory and practice in self-regulation? Educational Psychology Review, 18(3), 199–210. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-006-9013-4 (Accessed: 22.2.2017.)

Boud, D. (2000). Sustainable Assessment: Rethinking assessment for learning society. Studies in Continuing Education, 22(2), 151–167.

Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Furnham, A. (2009). Mainly Openness: The relationship between the Big Five personality traits and learning approaches. Learning and Individual Differences, 19(4), 524–529. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2009.06.004 (Accessed: 2. 3. 2020.)

de Bruijn-Smolders, M., Timmers, C. F., Gawke, J. C. L., Schoonman, W., & Born, M. Ph. (2016). Effective self-regulatory processes in higher education: Research findings and future directions. A systematic review. Studies in Higher Education, 41(1), 139–158. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2014.915302 (Accessed: 4. 11. 2019.)

De Clercq, M., Galand, B., & Frenay, M. (2013). Chicken or the egg: Longitudinal analysis of the causal dilemma between goal orientation, self-regulation and cognitive processing strategies in higher education. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 39(1), 4–13. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stueduc.2012.10.003 (Accessed: 26. 2. 2020.)

De Corte, E. (2016). Improving higher education students' learning proficiency by fostering their self-regulation skills. European Review, 24(2), 264–276. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org.nukweb.nuk.uni-lj.si/10.1017/S1062798715000617 (Accessed: 12. 3. 2020.)

Delors, J. (1996). Learning: The treasure within. Paris: Unesco Publishing. Retrieved from https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000109590 (Accessed: 12. 3. 2020.)

Donche, V., De Maeyer, S., Coertjens, L., Van Daal, T., & Van Petegem, P. (2013). Differential use of learning strategies in first-year higher education: The impact of personality, academic motivation, and teaching strategies. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 83(2), 238–251. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/bjep.12016 (Accessed: 14. 7. 2015.)

Entwistle, N. (2005). Contrasting perspectives on learning. In F. Marton, D. Hounsell, and N. Entwistle (Eds.), The Experience of Learning: Implications for teaching and studying in higher education. 3rd (Internet) edition (pp. 3–22). Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Assessment. Retrieved from https://www.ed.ac.uk/institute-academic-development/learning-teaching/research/experience-of-learning (Accessed: 12. 3. 2020.) (Original work published 1984.)

European Commission. (2019). Key Competences for Lifelong Learning. Luxemburg: Publication Office of the European Union. Retrieved from https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/297a33c8-a1f3-11e9-9d01-01aa75ed71a1/language-en/format-PDF/source-120310289 (Accessed: 2. 3. 2020.)

Garrison, D. R. (1997). Self-directed learning: Toward a comprehensive model. Adult Education Quarterly, 48(1), 18–33.

Gibbs, G., & Simpson, C. (2004-05). Conditions under which assessment supports students' learning. Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, 1(1), 3–31.

Hall, N. C., Sampasivam, L., Muis, K. R., & Ranellucci, J. (2016). Achievement goals and emotions: The mediational roles of perceived progress, control, and value. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 86(2), 313–330. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/bjep.12108 (Accessed: 9. 3. 2020.)

Hattie, J. C. A. (2009). Visible Learning, A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achivement. London in New York: Rotledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Hornby, G. (2018). Eight key evidence-based teaching strategies for all levels of education. Australian Educational Leader Articles, 40(4), 28–31.

Jansen, R. S., Leeuwen, A. van, Janssen, J., Jak, S., & Kester, L. (2019). Self-regulated learning partially mediates the effect of self-regulated learning interventions on achievement in higher education: A meta-analysis. Educational Research Review, 28, 100292. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2019.100292 (Accessed: 26. 2. 2020.)

Järvenoja, H., Järvelä, S., & Malmberg, J. (2015). Understanding regulated learning in situative and contextual frameworks. Educational Psychologist, 50(3), 204–219. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520.2015.1075400 (Accessed: 5. 2. 2015.)

Järvenoja, H., Näykki, P., & Törmänen, T. (2019). Emotional regulation in collaborative learning: When do higher education students activate group level regulation in the face of challenges? Studies in Higher Education, 44(10), 1747–1757. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2019.1665318 (Accessed: 5. 2. 2020.)

Linnenbrink, E. A. (2007). The role of affect in student learning: A multi-dimensional approach to considering the interaction of affect, motivation, and engagement. In P. A. Schutz & R. Pekrun (Eds.), Emotion in education (pp. 107–124). San Diego: Academic Press.

McCardle, L., Webster, E. A., Haffey, A., & Hadwin, A. F. (2017). Examining students’ self-set goals for self-regulated learning: Goal properties and patterns. Studies in Higher Education, 42(11), 2153–2169. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2015.1135117 (Accessed: 29. 11. 2019.)

Ning, H. K., & Downing, K. (2015). A latent profile analysis of university students’ self-regulated learning strategies. Studies in Higher Education, 40(7), 1328–1346. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2014.880832 (Accessed: 3. 3. 2020.)

Pintrich, P. R. (2003). A motivational science perspective on the role of student motivation in learning and teaching contexts. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(4), 667–686. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.95.4.667 (Accessed: 5. 3. 2020.)

Postareff, L., Mattsson, M., Lindblom-Ylänne, S., & Hailikari, T. (2017). The complex relationship between emotions, approaches to learning, study success and study progress during the transition to university. Higher Education, 73(3), 441–457. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-016-0096-7 (Accessed: 19. 2. 2020.)

Ramsden, P. (1985). Student learning research: Retrospect and prospect. Higher Education Research and Development, 4(1), 51–69.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2017). Self-determination theory: Basic psychological needs in motivation, developmen, and needs. New York: The Gulford Press.

Simons, P. R. J. (1997). Definitions and theories of active learning. In D. Stern & G. L. Huber (Eds.), Active Learning for Students and Teachers, Reports from Eight Countries OECD (pp.19–39). Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, New York, Paris, Wien: Peter Lang.

Shuell, T. J. (1988). The role of student in learning from instruction. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 13, 276–295.

Swann, W. B., & Jetten, J. (2017). Restoring agency to the human actor. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(3), 382–399. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691616679464 (Accessed: 29. 11. 2019.)

Šarić, M., & Šteh, B. (2019). Implementing reflective practice to improve our participation in the community. In K. Skubic Ermenc & B. Mikulec (Eds.), Building Inclusive Communities through Education and Learning (pp. 117–133). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Šteh, B. (1999). Pojmovanja učenja, poučevanja in znanja v povezavi z učnim procesom in uspehom. Sodobna pedagogika, 50(1), 250–265.

Van Rossum, E. J., & Schenk, S. M. (1984). The relationship between learning conception, study strategies and learning outcome. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 54(1), 73–83.

Vermunt, J. D. (2005). Relations between student learning patterns and personal andcontextual factors and academic performance. Higher Education, 49(3), 205. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-004-6664-2 (Accessed: 16. 3. 2020.)

Vermunt, J. D., & Donche, V. (2017). A learning patterns perspective on student learning in higher education: state of the art and moving forward. Educational Psychology Review, 29(2), 269–299. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-017-9414-6 (Accessed: 22. 6. 2018.)

Vermunt, J. D. H. M., & Van Rijswijk, F. A. W. M. (1988). Analysis and development of students' skill in selfregulated learning. Higher Education, 17, 647–682.

Vermunt, J. D., & Vermetten, Y. J. (2004). Patterns in student learning: relationships between learning strategies, conceptions of learning, and learning orientations. Educational Psychology Review, 16(4), 359–384. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-004-0005-y (Accessed: 20. 10. 2009.)

Volet, S., Vauras, M., & Salonen, P. (2009). Self- and social regulation in learning contexts: an integrative perspective. Educational Psychologist, 44(4), 215–226. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520903213584 (Accessed: 20. 2. 2020.)

Woolfolk, A. (2002). Pedagoška psihologija. Ljubljana: Educy.

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

Zimmerman, B. J., & Schunk, D. H. (2011). Self-regulated learning and performance. An introduction and an overview. In B. J. Zimmerman & D. H. Schunk (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation of learning and performance (pp. 1–12). New York: Routledge.

How to Cite
Šteh B., & Šarić M. (2020). Enhancing self-regulated learning in higher education . Journal of Elementary Education, 13(Spec. Iss.), 129-150. https://doi.org/10.18690/rei.13.Special.129-150.2020
Scientific Articles