Reflection of the mentoring process

Reflection of the mentoring process

In one of my previous blog posts, I mentioned that, I did not get any opportunity to have mentors in my previous studies and jobs. Fortunately, I have got two mentoring opportunities simultaneously in Finland; one is as part of our Learning of Expertise course, and another is in my part-time job in Helsinki. I really wonder to see the strength of mentoring process, which I never knew. In my study, I attended first three classes and could not attend other classes for my personal problem. After forming the groups, we discussed about our (mentees) expectations from the mentors, and the mentors’ expectations from the mentees. During those discussions, I was thinking that, I am going to miss these great opportunities. However, with the tremendous help of Andres (my mentor) and my peers, I got many opportunities to know the whole process.

As I mentioned earlier, I was not in Oulu, we had only one long physical meeting in Andres’s place. But, we were always in touch through online. In Autumn 2014, I attended two courses with the second year students, and one of those was problem solving case of Learning of Expertise. Andres and me were in the same group, and we spent long hours together for that assignment. In another course, i.e., Collaborative Learning, we again worked in the same group for collaborative writing. During that semester, we built a good academic and personal relation. Finally, I got him as my mentor; he is very much helpful, cooperative and supportive.

Mentor & mentee

Since, I could not attend the classes regularly, at first, I tried to develop my understanding about the mentoring process through reviewing some articles related to mentoring case. In addition to one general assignment of reading two articles and reflecting in blog post, I reviewed another interesting article on mentoring circle and shared it through google doc with my teachers and peers. After that, I met my mentor in his place and had wonderful experience of mentoring process. In my last blog post, I have described how my understanding about mentoring case developed through board games. As my teachers suggested, I always followed the bog and wiki posts of my peers and mentors, and made some constructive comments. Those were very much helpful to make me informed and updated about the mentoring process.

Although, we had only one physical meeting, we spent a lot of time online and discussed about our academic plan and progress. What sort of challenges we faced during our study in LET programme? What should I do to overcome those challenges? I got many valuable suggestions and advice from Andres regarding my academic and personal life. Besides these, I got some encouraging information regarding PhD opportunities in different countries. Finally, we made an interesting comic poster on the mentoring process.

For me, mentoring is like walking through an unknown forest with someone who has experience of reaching the destination in an easy way. The mentees may have training to travel through the forest; they may have compass and map with them to get the right location. However, mentor can show the right way to move while climbing on the hilly land; s/he can aware about the possible danger; and motivate the mentees when needed. The mentees can simply follow the footprint of the mentor(s) to reach the target easily. But, when they become confident and expert, they can make their own way of reaching the goal.

Expert

Though, I could not attend few important classes, I was informed and updated about the whole process. My mentor Andres and my peers, especially Daniel helped me a lot when needed. I think, my understanding about the mentoring process, and my expertise in learning and educational technology have been developed enough through this process. I know, it could be better if I could attend all the classes and take the direct guidance of my teachers. However, I evaluate myself as successful because what I have learnt through the process is more than my expectations. Finally, I would like to thank Pirkko, Aippi, Andres and Daniel for their continuous help.

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Mentoring process through board games

Mentoring process through board games

My mentor Andres was looking for something new through which I can understand the mentoring process easily. After having several online meeting, we planned to meet physically at Andres’s place and play some board games like dominoes! All of those games were new to me and very much interesting. There were three other friends to accompany us. We had lots of snacks and drinks (ofcourse Coca Cola and juice for me). Andres told me the rules of the games one by one. Then, at first, they played the games and I followed the way they were playing. During their play, Andres showed me the ways and tricks to defeat the oppositions. When I was confident to play by myself, I started to play with them. In first few turns, I could not do better; my mentor showed me the mistakes which I made, and advised me what should I do in which conditions. I started to follow his advice and gradually developed my skill in all of those games.

Dominoes

When, I became more confident, I started to develop my own technique and strategy. Finally, I won the games few times, although I was new. This is how mentoring helps the younger to develop their skill and experience in academic and practical work. Besides the board games and fun, we shared our national culture, education systems, national and regional political matters and so on. I learned lots of interesting things in that meeting. Thanks a lot Andres to make me understand the importance of mentoring in developing any expertise in an interesting and funny way!

Mentoring Circle

Mentoring Circle

Since, I could not attend the mentoring sessions physically for my personal problem; I am trying to learn about the mentoring process through reading some articles related to mentoring programme. As a student or a new teacher, I never get the opportunity to have formal mentoring programme. I have found the following article interested because it is related to my profession. I have tried to summarize the article and have highlighted the three main points:

  • Darwin, A., & Palmer, E. (2009). Mentoring circles in higher education.

A. Mentoring process in higher education

Mentoring, as a process of developing expertise, is a traditionally accepted method of learning from the senior staff (experienced persons) by the comparatively junior staff (less experienced persons). However, research shows that irrespective of the fields, very few of the new teachers in higher education had formal mentoring programme. In some areas, there are lack of mentors due to pressure of research, publication and professional work. Therefore, many higher education institutions recommend formal mentoring programme to make mentoring inclusive and accessible. Through this process, both mentors and mentees can be benefited. It increases self-confidence, personal satisfaction and growth. However, matching of mentoring partners is particularly important for the implementation of the mentoring programmes. Everybody is not efficient in mentoring and the arranged relationships are not always ideal. Some researchers suggested including multiple mentors in order to succeed in challenging work environment. Teaching in higher education has become a challenging profession because nowadays they have to compete for the research funds and publications which can secure their ongoing employment and promotions as well. Development of more collaborative models is needed to fit the contemporary landscapes in a more innovative and inclusive ways- colleagues are equal but different.

B. Mentoring circles

Instead of the traditional dyadic model, mentoring circles use an innovative, group mentoring model. In a mentoring circle, one mentor can work with a group of mentees, or a group of people can mentor each other. Often, they might have facilitator to keep conversation focused and productive. To solve a problem or to learn anything, the group members share their experiences, challenges and opportunities. Kram (1985) proposed the notion of people having multiple mentors and asserted that there is considerable evidence that individual learn through the relationships with their peers, senior colleagues, or even from the direct immediate supervisors (Kram, 2004). Through the mentoring circle, people can acquire knowledge; access to different networks and connections; avoid isolation; and increase confidence, commitment, understanding of the organizational culture. Mentoring circles provide participants flexibility, multiplicity, knowledge creation, the ability to depend on multiple people, and the underlying view of the organization.

C. Mentoring circle at the University of Adelaide

University of Adelaide initiated a mentoring circle programme for twenty faculty members in order to provide assistance, advice and information about the working culture and so on to the new faculty members. The senior and junior faculty members participated in this programme for the period of six months. The participants were from Health Science, Law and Commerce Faculties; and the memberships of the circles were intended to be voluntary. The mentoring circles include six to eight members and they were committed to meet eight times during the six months period. In each circle, there was an ‘Outside’ facilitator who provided support to keep the discussion focused, and ensure equal participation in the circle.

At the end of the formal mentoring circle, the participants were asked to participate in a focus group discussion. They provided feedback that mentoring circle was an effective method; and most of them were benefited from the collaborative environment; but they recognized that it was difficult to manage time and schedule for meeting. They suggested the schedule of once-a-month mentoring circle meeting; the circle size of eight to thirteen; and cross-disciplinary memberships in the circle. They considered motivation as the key factor for the success of the circle.


References

Darwin, A., & Palmer, E. (2009). Mentoring circles in higher education. Higher Education Research & Development, 28(2), 125-136.

Mentoring process

Mentoring process

Mentoring, as a process of developing expertise, is a traditionally accepted method of learning from the senior staff (experienced persons) by the comparatively junior staff (less experienced persons) (Darwin & Palmer, 2009). It is considered as an important part of young people’s intellectual, social and emotional development (Freedman 1999). It is like scaffolding the newcomer for a time being until they become confident and experienced to work independently. Mentors provide support to the novices when they face problems or they are unable to solve a problem. Three main categories of benefits of mentorship in academia have been identified: (increased) job satisfaction, network building, and (higher) performance. It increases self-confidence and self-efficacy of young researchers. When new professionals or students or novices in any fields get access to different networks and resources with the help of mentors, they feel secured and confident about their working environment and performance.

mentor-mentee

Mentor & mentee

Vygotsky (1987) argued that under the guidance of adults, children are capable of doing much more with the use of imitation. They have the ability to imitate the adults or more advanced peers to solve problems which are usually beyond their capacity. But they can imitate only the problems which are within their development level, what Vygotsky called proximal development zone. Proximal development zone does not include only those problems which children cannot yet solve alone; rather it includes problems which have the potential to be solved by them after some time. This is how imitation leads to internalization.

Shaffer (2006) described epistemic frame theory. She argued that creative professionals’ work is organized around epistemic frame; the skills, knowledge, values, identities and epistemology that professionals use to think innovatively. Professionals in any field must have some knowledge and skills about their domain, but in practice, they have some professional values which direct their knowledge and skills. Sometimes, mentors act like a coach or guide, and instruct mentees how to accomplish their duties and responsibilities and how to tackle the upcoming barrier. When mentees start working in real life, mentors invite them to reflect and show them the ways of accomplishing their tasks, or solve problems. To help mentees, mentors model the epistemic frame.

Research showed that the research fellows who had influential mentors were more productive in research than others. Collaborative process in research publication is one of the best ways to involve and introduce the young researchers within the research related activities. A study on the mentoring young female faulty members revealed that the mentees who attended successful mentorship programmes were more successful in achieving external funds that who did not attended any mentorship (Gardiner et al. 2007), even they were promoted more quickly than others (Nick et al. 2012). In addition to other factors, mentorship is one of the most important one which determines whether the researchers would continue their research in universities, or not (van Balen et al. 2012). Therefore, mentors can act as role models of comparatively less experienced persons, whether they are students at elementary school or new professors at university.

References

Nash, P. & Williamson Shaffer, D. (2011).  Mentor modeling: the internationalization of modeled professional thinking in an epistemic game. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning (2011), 27, 173-189.

van der Weijden, I., Belder, R., van Arensbergen, P., & van den Besselaar, P. (2014). How do young tenured professors benefit from a mentor? Effects on Management, Motivation and Performance.  Higher Education (2015), 69, 275-287.

Development of TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) during ICT instruction

UBIKO (ubiquitous technology enhanced learning)

As part of our Learning of Expertise course, we went to visit the UBIKO project which was funded by the Finnish National Board of Education (FNBE). I really impressed with the infrastructure and the learning environment of the school. It comprises of 110 4th and 5th grade (age 10-11) students learning with their teachers in a designated unit of Oulu University Teacher Training School (OUTTS). It is a research based development project which developed a technology enhanced learning environment for the young learners. The project aims to make the learners aware of their own abilities so that they can set personal goals for their learning and modify those if necessary. The project tries to make them able to use efficient learning strategies for their studies and to monitor and evaluate their learning process. The learners should know how and when to modify and regulate their learning environment for better outcome.

2014-11-25 15.05.47

The main objectives of UBIKO are

to develop the curriculum,
to find effective methods to promote self-regulation among primary school pupils (age 10-11),
to develop teamwork among teachers,
to enrich multi-locational learning in school context.

Students are provided modern technological tools to support their learning. They are given the opportunity to learn in a technology enhanced learning environment individually, with their peers, and in a large group.

  • In this part, I would like to present how technological tools enhance teachers’ expertise and knowledge during their pre-service training-

TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) development

Teachers’ expertise and knowledge are developed through the instructional processes during their pre-service training. The integration of their content knowledge with pedagogical knowledge was termed as pedagogical content knowledge by Shulman (1986). Thompson and Mishra (2007) used the acronym TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) when it comes to teachers’ technological knowledge. They emphasized the integration of technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge when integrating technology.

Mishra and Koehler (2006) described TPACK as seven-construct framework.

Three main knowledge sources were identified-

  1. Technological Knowledge (TK)
  2. Pedagogical Knowledge (PK)
  3. Content Knowledge (CK)

Through the connections among technological knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and content knowledge, four other types of technology integration knowledge are derived-

  1. Technological Content Knowledge (TCK)
  2. Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK)
  3. Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK)
  4. Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)

Koh & Divaharan (2011) proposed three phases “TPACK- Developing instructional model” in pre-service training-

Phase 1- Foster Acceptance

The first phase of the TPACK-Developing Instructional Model recommended that, to foster acceptance for using the tool pedagogically, the instruction of new ICT tools to teachers should begin with instructional strategies. The model recommended that, to foster pre-service teachers’ acceptance of an ICT tool, faculty modeling should be used. If an ICT tool is new and unfamiliar to pre-service teachers, this process is very effective.

Phase 2 – Technological Proficiency and Pedagogical Modeling

When the teachers do not have adequate technological proficiency with it even experienced teachers were unable to foster student-centered learning with an ICT tool. Therefore, the model suggested that before various lesson examples are provided to the teachers for exploration, technological proficiency for an ICT tool needs to first be developed. Through the pedagogical modeling, the teachers are expected to know how the technological affordances of an ICT tool can be used to the support their teaching. Some level of technological pedagogical knowledge might develop through this phase. Pedagogical modeling should be the teachers’ subject specific so that they can appreciate how the ICT tool can be customized to support their teaching.

Phase 3 – Pedagogical Application

For the formulation of TPACK, Phase 3 of the model provides teachers with opportunities to make connections among technological pedagogical knowledge, technological content knowledge, and pedagogical content knowledge. To develop TPACK, the teachers should undertake projects where they will design ICT-integrated lesson for selected lesson topics.

References

Koh, J. H., & Divaharan, S. (2011). Developing pre-service teachers’ technology integration expertise through the TPACK-developing instructional model. Journal of Educational Computing Research44(1), 35-58.

Effective interventions assessment in SRL

Planning

In the fourth and last period of solo phase, I will describe six (three from each article) Self-regulated Learning (SRL) concepts, two ICE-notes, and one reflection in my blog based on the lecture and two reading materials on  How to implement effective interventions and how to assess SRL?  The reading materials are listed in the confluence under the headings of the same topic. After attending the class lecture and reading the materials carefully, I will describe three main concepts of each material briefly. Moreover, I will write two ICE-notes from the related lecture and reading materials, which will include- what key ideas and thoughts are important to me which I learnt from the materials?, which ideas or concepts are related to my previous knowledge?, and how these skills and knowledge can be used in real life? At the end of this task, I will reflect my performance based on my planning versus achievement in the assignment. I will reflect how successful I was, what sort of challenges I faced, how I managed those challenges, and what could improve my learning assignment. Based on the previous reflections, I will either keep the same planning, or change or modify some planning for better outcome in the next assignment. This assignment is related to How to implement effective interventions and how to assess SRL?

I have three specific goals in the second working period-

– to learn how self-regulated learning can be taught to the primary level students?

– to know about the role of self-assessment in self-regulation process.

– to learn how teachers can help students in their self-assessment?

I think, I am hard-working, self-motivated, and always ambitious to do better in my study as well as in my job. Therefore, I am confident that I will achieve the goals I have set for the third working period, and will complete the task according to my plan.

1. Self-assessment: Theoretical and practical connotations. When it happens, how is it acquired and what to do to develop it in our students?

A. Self-assessment in self-regulation process

Panadero and Alonso-Tapia (2013) argued that self-assessment is the key process for self-regulation; it provides opportunities to reflect on and become aware of the learning process and outcome. If the learning process works effectively, then the reflection allows learner to repeat it until s/he becomes expert in the execution of this process. And, if the process does not work correctly, the self-assessment provides opportunity to the learner to be aware of problems and take initiative to solve those problems. Therefore, self-assessment can improve the future execution of the learning activities, and helps to implement these activities to other situations. Almost all of the theories of SRL supported that self-assessment is the fundamental process of self-regulation. Learners with high academic success monitor and evaluate their learning process more than the learners with low achievement. Moreover, highly self-regulated learners self-assess their learning activity more often and more efficiently than the learners with low self-regulation ability. There are evidences that self-regulation process can be improved through self-assessment (monitoring and evaluation).

B. Conditions that promote self-assessment

For the promotion of self-assessment among the learners, there are some pre-requisites which can be categorizes as conditions and instructional aids. Conditions refer to the pre-requisites of self-assessment, without which the process can be hindered. Instructional aids refer to the teachers’ support to encourage them to use self-assessment and teach them how to self-evaluate their own tasks.

Conditions for self-assessment are:

  1. Awareness of the importance of self-assessment: Students should be aware about the usefulness of self-assessment, otherwise they will not self-assess their tasks effectively.
  2. Access to assessment criteria: Learners should have access to the criteria from the beginning of the task on which the assessment will be based.
  3. The tasks to be assessed should be specific: Teachers should choose tasks for assessment which are well defined and with steps clearly established.

Instructional aids for promoting self-assessment are:

  1. Self-assessment modeling: Teachers can teach self-assessment to the learners by creating a model of self-assessment. The model can be the teacher, or any advanced peer. The students will first watch the process, then, they will be asked to follow the steps of the process.
  2. Direct instruction and assistance: Teachers should provide continuous instructions to the students until they become capable to self-assess themselves.
  3. When self-assessment is appropriate: Students should be given instruction when they should self-assess their learning process.
  4. Practice: Teachers should provide opportunities to the students to learn the self-assessment process practically.
  5. Opportunities to review and improve the learning process: Students should be allowed to correct their mistakes, if they find anything during their self-evaluation.

C. Instructional help for self-assessment

Depending on the presence or absence of the assessment criteria, and how those criteria are presented, there are three types of instructional help:

  1. Self-grading or self-assessment without specific assessment criteria: In this approach, learners assess their own tasks given by the teachers or instructors without any specific assessment criteria. Self-assessment is a process of grading or scoring one’s own tasks. It is proved that without specific and detailed assessment criteria, the accuracy of students’ self-assessment is low. If the teachers simply ask students to self-assess their work, it does not guarantee that the students will consider the assessment criteria by themselves.
  2. Self-assessment using rubrics: An assessment and scoring tool that contains the assessment criteria is called rubrics. It contains three parts: the assessment criteria, a scale for self-evaluating different quality levels, and a short description about different quality level standards. It is a very useful tool which clearly shows the demands or expectations from the task.
  3. Self-assessment through the use of script: Self-assessment script consists of some systematic questions that focus on the process of accomplishing the task. It promotes reflections on the ongoing learning process, and the partial results being obtained during the accomplishment of the task. In some cases, script is more effective than rubrics. However, if the learners self-assess their tasks after the completion, then they will not get opportunities to improve their learning during that task.

2. How can primary school students learn self-regulated learning strategies most effectively? A meta-analysis on self-regulation training programmes.

A. SRL training programme in classroom

Self-regulated learning is regarded as the key to the lifelong learning process. It is now well evident that SRL has impact on academic achievement and learning motivation. There are three areas from where student can be benefited from self-regulated learning, i.e., academic performance, motivation for learning and learning strategies. Therefore, the necessity for SRL training programme has been emerged. If the students can be taught how to self-regulate for their learning, they will be capable of regulate their motivation, behavior, and metacognition by themselves. Several positive outcomes can be achieved through the implementation of SRL training programmes in classrooms:

  • When the instructor is including the strategy instruction within the regular instructions, it should be context-related; the learning content should be domain-specific, which will make the training programme more efficient.
  • The learning environment of the training programme should support the implementation of newly acquired strategies from the programme.
  • Contextualized forms of strategy instruction should promote the transfer of self-regulated learning to other areas.

B. SRL for young students

Researchers concentrated mostly on the self-regulated learning of upper elementary level students in the classroom settings. However, most of the research on the younger students suggested that, students at elementary grades and younger experience difficulties in the implementation of cognitive and metacognitive strategies. At the age between kindergarten and grade six, the major development of metacognitive knowledge and self-regulated learning take place. Research showed that self-regulated learning increases during the elementary school years, and it is mostly effective at the end of elementary school education. However, there are considerable evidence of the effectiveness of self-regulated learning even at the pre-school age. Empirical research indicated that young children can engage themselves in self-regulated learning, and the youngest children can be benefited most from self-regulated learning training programmes. At the beginning of academic learning, children develop their learning attitude and strategies; so it is easier to change their learning attitude and strategies at this level comparing to the elder children who already developed and continuing their preferred learning strategies.

C. Different type of instructed strategies

Three different types of strategies of self-regulated learning can be focused by intervention:

1. Cognitive strategies: Cognitive strategies can be divided into four-

Repetition strategies: Active repetition strategy leads to the memorization of information in long-term memory. However, in passive repetition, learners only rehearse anything again and again with understanding the underlying concepts, which does not lead to meaningful learning.

Elaboration strategies: By using this strategy learners incorporated new knowledge into the existing cognitive content. Learners modify their learning materials to understand the contents deeply.

Organizational strategies: Learners reproduce their learning contents through illustration or graphical representation, e.g., show relations between different concepts to memorize the information effectively.

Problem solving strategies: In this strategy, learners divide the problem into sub-goals which can be solved by available tools or materials.

2. Metacognitive strategies: Metacognition includes metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive skill. Learners’ metacognitive knowledge refers to the knowledge about their own memory, their knowledge and their learning attitude. On the other hand, learners’ metacognitive skill refers to the skills of monitoring, controlling and regulating their own learning process.

3. Motivation strategies: Motivational condition of the learners play the important role in applying the cognitive and metacognitive strategies.

Causal attribution and self-efficacy beliefs: Students’ learning behavior are mainly affected by their reaction of success or failure by them. Their motivation and emotions regarding learning and self-efficacy are affected by their attribution.

Action control: It is not obvious that, failure always decreases the academic performance. Learners who are action-oriented, emphasize the cognitive activity which increases the goal-directed action tendencies.

Feedback: After completing a task, strategic learners seek feedback for their performance in order to improve their learning. Learners should be encouraged to seek feedback and talk about their learning.

ICE note 1

Self-assessment is considered as a key and fundamental part of self-regulated learning. In my present study, I had to assess or evaluate my own tasks several times. I used scripts and rubrics for the evaluation of different tasks. Panadero and Alonso-Tapia (2013) emphasized providing instructional helps to the students for the promotion of self-assessment. I found these instructions very helpful to evaluate own tasks. When I got the instruction at the beginning of my task, it actually helped me to set my goals and plan. Based on my expected grade level, I planned my tasks and performed accordingly. During the execution of my planning, I monitored and evaluated my task based on the instructions provided and my planning. I think, after my first self-evaluation of my own writing, my writing techniques have been developed, because now I know what are the expectations or requirements from a writing task.

ICE note 2

Dignath, Buettner and Langfeldt (2008) claimed that training programme on self-regulated learning for young children will be more effective than for the elder children. I found many similarities with the real life problems- for example- Sabrina, one of my friends in Bangladesh is a Master degree student of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. She graduated from the same discipline and achieved an excellent result, but she has very low self-efficacy. I spent hundreds of hours to motivate her for higher studies in abroad, or for a good job, but I failed. I am sure, she will not go for any job interviews, or higher studies, though she has excellent results throughout her academic life. From her childhood, she keeps herself separate and does not participate in any presentations or group works. She likes to read alone and she has very deep understanding about what she knows. Therefore, when she goes for final written examinations she does better than others. She thinks that, her English language skill and presentation skill is not good enough to get a good job or opportunities for higher studies. I think, if she were young then it would be easier to motivate her, and increase her self-efficacy beliefs.

Reflection

In the last period of solo phase, I could not manage my time to complete this task. Firstly, I found some difficulties to summarize the concepts from the papers and the class lecture. Besides this, I have some other course tasks during this period. Therefore, I could not spend sufficient time for accomplishing the last writing assignment. Actually, I spent enough time for this task, but I think, if I could spend some more time for this task, then it would be better. I think, I should concentrate more on time management. According to my plan and goal, I consider myself successful in this phase also. However, comparing to the previous tasks, I am not fully satisfied with this task. During this period, I have learnt about self-assessment, role of self-assessment in SRL, classroom training on SRL, SRL training for young children and so on. As I registered few extra courses in this semester, I had extra work load. However, I spent a lot of time for the solo and group assignments of this course, and I think, I have learnt a lot.

References

Dignath, C., Buettner, G., Langfeldt, H-P. (2008). How can primary school students learn self-regulated learning strategies most effectively? A meta-analysis on self-regulation training programmes. Educational Research Review, 3, pp. 101-129

Panadero, E., & Alonso-Tapia, J. (2013). Self-assessment: Theoretical and practical connotations. When it happens, how is it acquired and what to do to develop it in our students. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 11(2), 551-576. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.14204/ejrep.30.12200

SRL and Metacognition

Planning

In the third period of solo phase, I will describe nine (three from each article) Self-regulated Learning (SRL) concepts, two ICE-notes, and one reflection in my blog based on the lecture and three reading materials on SRL and Metacognition.  The reading materials are listed in the confluence under the headings of the same topic. After attending the class lecture and reading the materials carefully, I will describe three main concepts of each material briefly. Moreover, I will write two ICE-notes from the related lecture and reading materials, which will include- what key ideas and thoughts are important to me which I learnt from the materials?, which ideas or concepts are related to my previous knowledge?, and how these skills and knowledge can be used in real life? At the end of this task, I will reflect my performance based on my planning versus achievement in the assignment. I will reflect how successful I was, what sort of challenges I faced, how I managed those challenges, and what could improve my learning assignment. Based on the previous reflections, I will either keep the same planning, or change or modify some planning for better outcome in the next assignment. This assignment is related to the SRL and Metacognition.

I have three specific goals in the second working period-

– to know about the role of task interpretation in self-regulation process.

– to get knowledge about different types of learning strategies and their use in the self-regulated learning.

– to understand the complex processes of human memory; how actually it works?

I think, I am hard-working, self-motivated, and always ambitious to do better in my study as well as in my job. Therefore, I am confident that I will achieve the goals I have set for the third working period, and will complete the task according to my plan.

1. Basic components of memory. In Human learning (pp.166-186). Upper Saddler River, NJ: Allyn & Bacon. (CA)

Based on the proposal of William James (1890), Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968, 1971) also proposed a model called the dual-store model of memory. They claimed that memory has three components- sensory registrar (SR), short-term memory (STM), and long-term memory (LTM). Information from the surroundings first enters into the sensory registrar and remains only few seconds. It moves into the short-term memory, if the information is processed somehow. The duration of information in short-term memory is less than a minute, and if the information is processed further then it moves into long-term memory. Frequently, the processing of information in short-term memory requires the use of information of long-term memory.

A. Sensory registrar

Psychologists assume that sensory registrar has unlimited capacity. Sensory registrar can store briefly all the information that human being can sense. When any human being senses any information, sensory registrar store the information in the same form like, image, audio and so on. It stores information before it is being processed. Actually, the human cannot understand or interpret the information at this stage. Sensory registrar can store information for a very brief time; however, it is very difficult to measure the exact duration. When researchers try to examine the duration and ask any people to report, the people start to process the information and subsequently the information moves into the short-term memory. However, some researchers claimed that sensory registrar can store visual information less than one second, and can store auditory information two to four seconds.

In most cases, we have to pay attention to the information which we want to move from sensory registrar into working memory. For example, when we listen to a song, we also listen to the instrumental sounds, but usually we can only memorize the lyrics and the melody of the song. It means we only pay attention to the melody and lyrics of the song which are stored in our working memory, and other information (e.g., instrumental sound) may be lost.

There are few factors that influence our attention like-

Size: We usually pay more attention to the large letters than the small ones.

Intensity: Bright colour and loud noise can also attract attention.

Novelty: Stimuli which are novel or unusual can draw attention.

Incongruity: Incongruous information tends to attract people’s attention, which does not make sense within their context.

Emotion: Strong emotional stimuli can attract one’s attention quickly, e.g., words like fire, and police.

Personal significance: The aforementioned factors can draw one’s attention, but not necessarily hold it for long time. On the other hand, personal significance can draw and maintain attention to a particular information.

B. Working memory/ Short-term memory (STM)

The active processing of information takes place in the working memory. Sensory registrar stores information from the environment; and working memory keeps it for longer time and processes it further. For interpreting the information received from the sensory registrar, working memory may use information from the long-term memory for the processing of newly received information. Working memory has very limited capacity to store information. George Miller (1956) proposed the capacity of working memory as magical number seven plus or minus two. In working memory, people can store five to nine units of information at a time, the average is seven. Researchers showed that much of the information stored in the working memory are stored as auditory information, especially when the information is language based. Working memory is also called as short-term memory; that means the duration of this memory is short. Psychologists believe that the duration of working memory is probably between 5 to 20 seconds. The time span of working memory is short for both decay and interference; if the information is not processed further, some information may simply fade away; other information may be replaced by new information.

C. Long-term memory (LTM)

Considering the long-term memory as the most complex component of human memory system, researchers studied it more intensively than the sensory registrar and working memory. It has unlimited capacity; the more the information already stored in the long-term memory, the more easier to store new information in that part. Long-term memory stores information in a variety of ways, but psychologists agree that this memory stores the bulk of information semantically, i.e., in terms of meanings. Generally, people cannot remember information exactly in what form they received the information from the environment (e.g., word-by-word), instead they can remember the gist of what they see and hear. Information stored in this memory are interconnected; related information tend to be stored together. There is disagreement about the duration of long-term memory; some theorists believe that information stored in long-term memory remain permanently, and others believe that through variety of forgetting process information can be lost from long-term memory. In long-term memory some information may remain for long periods, but there is no way to prove that information stored in this memory remain permanently.

2. Promoting Effective Task Interpretation as an Important Work Habit: A Key to Successful Teaching and Learning. Teachers College Record.

A. Task Interpretation and metacognitive knowledge

Flavell (1987) defined three types of metacognitive knowledge, namely person, task, and strategy variables that influence students’ approaches to academic work. Students should have knowledge about person variable i.e., about themselves and others as learners, and about learning generally; about strategy variable i.e., about how, when, and where particular learning strategies should be used; and about task variable i.e., about relationships between task characteristics and associated processing demands (Butler, 1998).

Task purpose: A variety of purposes might be relevant with different types of tasks like writing, reading, learning, problem solving. For example, in a reading task students generally need to extract the underlying meaning from the text, but in some cases they need to memorize the information. In our case, the students did not have sufficient metacognitive knowledge about the task purpose.

Task structure: Strategic readers are well known about the text structures and typical writing conventions. If the students had knowledge about the task structure, that could help them to get the detailed goals while reading the history. How students interpret the demands of learning tasks depends on the knowledge about criteria for evaluating their learning and the structure of learning materials.

Task components: Learners need metacognitive knowledge about task components; what will be included in the given task? They have to have knowledge about the importance of the task components also. Butler & Curtier (2004) noted that although conceptually separable, metacognitive knowledge about task components are closely related to students’ metacognitive knowledge about strategies.

B. Task interpretation and conceptions about tasks

Students may have different conceptions about a particular task. These conceptions are more general and inclusive than their metacognitive knowledge about any task. They develop their conceptions about the nature of academic work either explicitly or implicitly, as an extension of their metacognitive knowledge (McCrindle & Christensen, 1995; Sa¨ljo¨, 1979). Butler & Curtier (2004) defined the term conceptions as the underlying schema students develop that represents their understanding of the nature of a learning task.

Five hierarchically organized conceptions of learning were mentioned by McCrindle and Christensen (1995): a quantitative increase in knowledge; memorization; acquisition of information to be retained or used in practice; the abstraction of meaning; and an interpretative process aimed at the understanding of reality. Students’ interpretation of a given task, and their self-regulation for accomplishing the task are dependent on their task conceptions. The relationship between conceptions and metacognition is reciprocal; metacognitive knowledge includes more generalized conceptions about task; on the other hand, through their impact on self-regulation, conceptions influence subsequent reconstruction of metacognitive knowledge (Butler & Curtier, 2004).

C. Task interpretation and self-regulation in action

Butler & Curtier (2004) suggested that task interpretation should be the first activity that emerges as part of self-regulated learning and over time it will create habits of approaching academic tasks. It is the first critical step in self-regulated learning that will direct the learners to their further learning from the task.

Learners try to interpret the task demand before starting the learning activities. A number of reflective and strategic activities are required for successful task interpretation like searching for clues that might help to understand the task demand, analyzing instructions and other written materials to reveal expectations, measuring the applicability of previous metacognitive task knowledge, teacher’s particular expectations, and accumulating all sources of information to develop criteria for planning, guiding and evaluating own performance. Butler & Curtier (2004) recommended that, teachers should structure learning environments to support active, reflective, and productive task interpretation for better learning outcomes. Structuring learning activities, instruction, and evaluation by teachers can influence students’ self-regulation. Therefore, the targets of instruction should be not only students’ construction of metacognitive knowledge and conceptions about the task, but also their awareness of task interpretation as learning activity, and of strategies for task interpretation.

3. Self-regulation and learning strategies. New Directions for Teaching and Learning.

A. Components of strategic learning

To be effective and efficient learners in different educational environments, strategic learners should have the skill, will, and self-regulation. Weinstein’s Model of Strategic Learning summarized these components (which are under a student’s control), and categorized into three.

Skill: Strategic learners should have knowledge about and knowing how to use the learning strategies and other thinking skills for better outcome. They should know about the performance demands of various types of academic tasks; his/her personal strength, weakness, and preferences in learning; and different types of learning strategies that can implemented for different types of content materials.

Will: It is motivation or affective components of strategic learning; it either contributes or distracts from academic success. Some elements like goal setting, analyzing, and using; generating motivation using future time perspective and goal hierarchies; increasing beliefs; and creating a positive mentality for learning; contribute to the effective learning. Moreover, some elements like self-sabotaging beliefs, low self-efficacy, and high anxiety can distract from academic success.

Self-regulation: On both a global and real time levels, Self-regulation helps students manage their strategic learning. On the global level, this component includes using organized methods for learning, time managing on a macro level, help seeking, and controlling motivation for learning. On the real-time level, the elements include managing high anxiety, using metacognition, monitoring and regulating learning strategies, managing time on a micro level, and sustaining attention over time.

B. Different types of learning strategies

Weinstein (2011) discussed three types of learning strategies:

Rehearsal strategies: This type of strategies refer to learner’s repetitive activities to learn something, e.g., reading a definition again and again, using flash card, listening to the recordings over and over etc. Passive rehearsal strategies are mindless repetition of anything and do not lead to meaningful learning outcome. It was popular in nineteenth and early nineteenth century. Compared to the passive rehearsal strategies, active rehearsal strategies are more effective and involve more cognitive processing and meaning building. These type of strategies create opportunities for further understanding and learning.

Elaboration strategies: Using this kind of strategies, students add something or modify the learning materials to make those more meaningful and memorable. Different forms of elaboration strategies can be used by the learners like paraphrasing or summarizing the reading materials, comparing two ideas or concepts, creating analogies, teaching others, creating and answering probable questions etc. These types of strategies lead to deeper understanding, and effective for high-thinking task, problem-solving, analysis, and application.

Organization strategies: Organization strategies, a category of elaboration strategies, involve reorganizing or representing learning materials into a graphical form like mind maps, cause-effect diagrams, relationship diagrams, creating outlines etc. A series of cognitive actions are required to transform any learning material into graphical form.

C. Strategy repertoire

Almost all learners have favorite strategies for their academic learning which they usually try to follow. For an individual learner, some strategies may be more effective. Sometimes, for a particular task or subject, a student may find some strategies more effective than others, which do not mean that those strategies will be useful for all students. For the same task, different students may need different types of strategies. An individual learner may need different types of strategies for different types of tasks. Even, some tasks may need more than one strategy to use. Therefore, all learners should have a strategy repertoire which includes all the three types of learning strategies. Then, based on the nature of the tasks, the learners will select the best strategy. When their preferred strategies will not be effective, they will be able to use alternative strategies they have in their repertoire.

ICE note 1

In this period, I have learnt something about task interpretation, which I never found important for my learning process. Now, I have some knowledge about how task interpretation is related to successful self-regulated learning process. Actually, task interpretation makes clear understanding about the demands of the tasks given to the students. Students should have a work habit for accomplishing their academic tasks that includes the interpretation of their given tasks. I have found a real life example where task interpretation was needed. Lopa was a Bachelor degree student. One of her class teacher gave her a book and told her to read chapter two and write an assignment within one week. She read the chapter of the book and wrote an assignment. She submitted the assignment to her teacher through email, and the day after the submission the teacher sent her a reply- “It’s horrible”. After getting the reply, Lopa was crying and did not find any problem with her assignment. Then she went to the teacher physically and asked her what was the problem with her assignment, and how will she improve her writing? The teacher told her that you just copied some important sentences and pasted it in your assignment. Actually, the teacher’s expectation was that Lopa will read the chapter and summarize it in her assignment, so that she had some detailed understanding about the topic. In this case, if the teacher gave her instruction about the interpretation of the task, and her expectations from the assignment, then Lopa could understand the demands of the task.

ICE note 2

Different students use different types of learning strategies for their learning, and almost all students have their one favorite strategy for their academic learning. However, different types of academic tasks need different learning strategies to be used. For example, Pinky was a successful university student at Information Science and Library Management School. She had a very good result in her previous classes. After providing four lectures on “components of classification scheme”, they were asked to design a classification scheme. The teacher expected that Pinky will design a very good model of a classification scheme, but she could not. Then the teacher asked her about the components of classification scheme, and Pinky answered those questions thoroughly. Then the teacher found that, Pinky tried to memorize her lessons using passive rehearsal strategy. She did not understand the relationships of the components, and she did not have knowledge about how a classification scheme can be designed using these components. Pinky chose wrong strategy for this task, this type of task needs elaboration strategy, and probably organization strategy could be the best one.

 

Reflection

In this period, I spent more time to read the articles and in addition to these, I also read some other related articles. I have a teaching session (group task) on this topic, so I need to have more extensive knowledge about it. Although, two of the reading materials were too long, I found these interesting, especially the book chapter “Basic components of memory”. I would like to read the whole book. According to my plan and goal, I consider myself successful in the third solo task also. During this period, I have learnt about the dual-store model of memory, different types of learning strategies, task interpretation, metacognition and so on. The most important improvement is that now I have clear understanding about the relationships among learning strategies, task interpretation, metacognition and self-regulation. Comparing to the first two periods, I think myself more successful in understanding the underlying concepts deeply. Like the second phase, in this phase, firstly, I read one article thoroughly and highlighted the keywords for further reading, and then, during the second time reading, I started taking notes on the article and wrote three concepts from that article. This technique helped me to understand the key concepts deeply and took less time to write down three of those. For completing my last solo assignment, I will apply the same tactic.

References

Butler, D. L. and Cartier, S. C. (2004). Promoting Effective Task Interpretation as an Important Work Habit: A Key to Successful Teaching and Learning. Teachers College Record,  106 (9), pp. 1729-1758.

Ormrod, J.E. (2009). Basic components of memory. In Human learning (pp.166-186). Upper Saddler River, NJ: Allyn & Bacon. (CA)

Weinstein, C. E., Acce, T. W., & Jung, J. (2011). Self-regulation and learning strategies. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 126, 45–53. doi:10.1002/tl.443

Motivational sources for SRL

Planning

In the second period of solo phase, I will describe nine (three from each article) Self-regulated Learning (SRL) concepts, two ICE-notes, and one reflection in my blog based on the lecture and three reading materials on motivational sources for SRL.  The reading materials are listed in the confluence under the headings of the same topic. After attending the class lecture and reading the materials carefully, I will describe three main concepts of each material briefly. Moreover, I will write two ICE-notes from the related lecture and reading materials, which will include- what key ideas and thoughts are important to me which I learnt from the materials?, which ideas or concepts are related to my previous knowledge?, and how these skills and knowledge can be used in real life? At the end of this task, I will reflect my performance based on my planning versus achievement in the assignment. I will reflect how successful I was, what sort of challenges I faced, how I managed those challenges, and what could improve my learning assignment. Based on the previous reflections, I will either keep the same planning, or change or modify some planning for better outcome in the next assignment. This assignment is related to the motivational sources for SRL.

I have three specific goals in the second working period-

– to know what kind of motivational challenges students experience during their solo and collaborative tasks?

– to learn different types of motivational strategies learners use during their learning period.

– to know in details how students’ self-motivational beliefs can influence their self-regulation processes?

I think, I am hard-working, self-motivated, and always ambitious to do better in my study as well as in my job. Therefore, I am confident that I will achieve the goals I have set for the second working period, and will complete the task according to my plan.

1. Emotion control in collaborative learning situations – do students regulate emotions evoked from social challenges?

A. Socio-emotional challenges in collaborative learning

Motivations and emotions have been considered as the most necessary pre-requisites in a collaborative learning situation, where learners have to work together to attain a common goal, or to build shared understanding. In an ideal collaborative learning situation, the collaboration process creates positive emotions and supports motivation, and students interact and communicate among the members more actively to reach their common goal. However, in some cases, conflict can take place for different   characteristics, goals and demands among the students, which can negatively affect students’ emotions and motivation. Students’ emotions are closely related to personal, social and environmental aspect of learning. They face more socio-emotional challenges in collaborative learning situation than in traditional learning. These challenges affect learners’ motivation and can hinder the involvement and interaction at different phases of collaboration. One of the most important criteria of collaborative learning is shared or common goal of the group members. In some cases, members of a group may have different goals and aims for the same task, which may create conflicts among the group members. Sometimes, personal interest or communication pattern can also act as obstacle, for example, there are five members in a group working together to accomplish an academic task, two of them have aims of leadership in the group, this kind of situation can make emotional challenges not only for those two members but for all of the members of the group.

B. Emotion regulation in collaborative learning

Regulation of emotions and motivation is critical for successful collaboration. Emotion regulation is learners’ ability to monitor, evaluate, and change the occurrence, intensity, or duration of a particular emotional experience. It is an active strategy for the regulation of motivation learners need to accomplish a task (Wolters, 2003). In collaborative environment, students’ have to work towards a common objective; they need to define their aim and working process towards a shared goal, and share their responsibilities among the group members. Members in a group have to participate in the group’s common ground and emotional stability, they have to negotiate, compromise, consider, explain, and listen to other members’ opinions. Individual members have to regulate their cognition, motivation and emotions together in order to ensure the participation of all members in all phases of the collaborative task. If any member fails to control the emotionally challenging situation, instead of focusing on the assigned task, he/she will be focused to cope up with the situation. Regulation of emotions and motivation at individual level may be insufficient; controlling emotional experiences are required at group level.

C. Adaptive Instrument for Regulation of Emotions (AIRE)

AIRE was designed to investigate what types of socio-emotional challenges students experience during their collaborative learning, how they interpret the challenges, and how they control or regulate these challenges. After each collaborative task, students were asked to complete a set of task-specific questions using AIRE. Before applying this instrument, students were instructed about the structure, and the procedure of completing it. There were four sections in this instrument; the first section identified students’ personal task specific goal, the second section identified situations experienced as socio-emotional challenges during collaborative learning from 14 possible scenarios, the third section focused on the regulation of emotions in specific situations identified in the second section, the fourth section included their goal attainment and reflection on the group work.

2. Regulation of Motivation: Evaluating an Underemphasized Aspect of Self-Regulated Learning.

A. Strategies for regulation of motivation

Students might use different types of strategies to regulate their motivations; some of those are as follows-

Self-reinforcement or punishment: Sometimes, students decide to reinforce or punish themselves for a specific short or long term goal, or completing a task. Suppose, a student may offer himself, “if I can complete all the assignments within next Friday, then I can go to movie in this weekend”. Or, a student can alert himself, “if I fail to solve the mathematics task, I could not go to play volleyball with my friends. Research revealed that students who offered themselves rewards did better than those who offered punishments for their failure, or who did not consequence themselves.

Goal-oriented self-talk: Students may talk with themselves about their goal for a specific academic task. Why they will spend time and efforts for this task? What is the reason for achieving this target? It may be good academic grade, doing better than others, showing own ability, or to meet own curiosity, gather knowledge, increase skill, and so on.

Interest enhancement: Students may use different strategies to increase their interest in accomplishing a repetitive or boring task. This type of strategy makes the task difficult, but enhances students’ motivation by making the task more enjoyable, challenging and interesting.

Environmental structuring: Students can also control the noisy learning environment by selecting a calm place for reading in a library, or classroom, requesting classmates to be quite. They may take a break, have a cup of coffee, and listen to music during the work, to increase their attention in and focused on the task.

Self-handicapping: For the regulation of motivation, students may intentionally or unintentionally make their learning situation more challenging or difficult to complete academic tasks. They create a situation, where they forced themselves to keep focused, more attentive, and dedicated to complete their academic tasks. There are evidences that a significant number of students, mostly the college students use this strategy. However, motivational benefits of using this strategy are somewhat equivocal.

B. Metacognition Vs regulation of motivation

Metacognition is often described as a combination of atleast two theoretical concepts including knowledge about cognition and regulation of cognition. Knowledge about cognition includes students’ understanding and information regarding the thinking and learning process. Regulation of cognition includes students’ planning of completing the task successfully, selecting the cognition strategy for the task, monitoring the effectiveness of the selected strategy, and if the selected strategy does not work effectively then modifying or changing it.

The regulation of motivation and the regulation of cognition are conceptually similar, but the purpose, object or target of these two regulatory processes is different.

Regulating cognition is a process of monitoring and evaluating students’ cognitive strategies, or examining the learning processes-

– how students are planning, executing, understanding, improving their tasks?

– how successful or effective are the strategies they are using?

– do the strategies need to be changed or modified? If yes, then student either change or modify their cognitive strategies.

On the other hand, regulating motivation is a process of enhancing students’ willingness to-

– Accomplish their academic tasks

– Give continuous efforts until the task end.

Using strategies for regulation of motivation does not necessarily influence how the students are accomplishing their tasks, instead why they will complete it, or how long they will continue it. A student may regulate his motivation, and may engage himself in the task, but he may not regulate his cognition strategy.

Although, regulation of motivation and regulation of cognition are conceptually different, both of these regulation processes are included in self-regulation. These two regulation processes are closely related with each other. For example, when a student regulates his motivation, and increases his willingness to complete the assigned task, he might engage himself in regulating his cognitive process.

C. Motivation Vs regulation of motivation

Motivation and the regulation of motivation are likely to have a complex and interdependent relation. Regulation of motivation is needed when students experience problem in their motivation, learning or performance. Sometimes, students may begin their task with high level of motivation, and complete the task with the same level of motivation. In this type of situation, student may not need any regulation activities for their motivation. However, students having positive level of motivation may experience motivational obstacle during completing the task, for example, the task may be complex, there may have emotional conflict, or contextual affect. This type of situation needs strategies to regulate motivation.

Students need some initial level of motivation, for engaging themselves in any kind of regulation. Regulation of motivation is also an action, and to perform this action, students must have minimal level of willingness to complete the task. The students who do not have any expectation or confidence to be successful, or to whom the task is not worthy anyway, or who do not have any reasons to complete the task, will not apply any strategy to activate their motivation.

The theoretical relation between motivation and regulation of motivation is reciprocal and curvilinear. It is reciprocal because when a student is motivated, he will engage himself in regulating his motivation, and when a student uses any strategies for regulating his motivation, it influences his motivation. It may curvilinear because this relation might be very strong in case of students with medium level of motivation, but weaker in case of students with very low or very high level of initial motivation.

3. Motivational sources and outcomes of self-regulated learning and performance. In B. J. Zimmerman, & D. H. Schunk (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation of learning and performance.

A. Self-efficacy and outcome beliefs in SRL

Two types of expectancies have been identified by the researchers, i.e., for self-efficacy and for outcomes. Students’ self-efficacy expectancies refer to the beliefs of their personal competencies regarding the execution and continuation of the task, whereas, outcome expectancies refer to their confidences about the result or feedback of the task. Task persistence, task choice, effective study activities (Zimmerman, 2011), skill acquisition, and academic achievement (Zimmerman, 1989) are positively related to the students’ self-efficacy perceptions.

Students with high level of self-efficacy use better cognitive and metacognitive strategies, spend more time to execute the task and give continuous efforts than the students with low-level of efficacy. Regardless of level of ability and skill, students who are in high efficacy monitor their study time more accurately, continue even when they face any challenge, choose best strategies (Bouffard-Bouchard, Parent and Larivee, 1991), complete more problems correctly, and solve more previous tasks (Collins, 1982) than the students in low efficacy.

Outcome expectancies are regarded as the second important element for students’ motivation. When students take part in a mathematical competition, those who expect to win the prize usually work hard, and give continuous effort to solve the problems. Although, outcome expectancies can be differentiated from self-efficacy theoretically, practically outcome expectancies are usually depend on strong efficacy beliefs (Bandura, 1997).

B. Interest and SRL

According to the contemporary researches (Hidi & Ainley, 2008), interest is a psychological predisposition to re-engage with particular classes of objects, activities, and ideas. Interests may be of different types. For example, situational interest is activity-specific form of motivation that does not usually transfer to the next context. A student, having interest in video gaming, may have little interest in reading something about video games. A second type of interest, called personal interest, is comparatively long-term tendency to choose and engage in any specific object, task, or idea.

These two types of interests have been categorized into four phases of progression leading to self-regulation. In the first phase, situational interest is triggered spontaneously, and in the second phase, situational interest is maintained by the environment. In the third phase, learners begin to seek repeated engagement with the task or activity, at this point in development of interest SRL becomes possible. In the fourth phase, a well-developed interest leads the learners to proactively seek out opportunities to engage in the task or activity. This phase is considered as highly supportive of self-regulated efforts to learn.  Research showed that both situational and individual interests are positive precursors to SRL.

C. Cyclical view of motivation in SRL

A social cognitive perspective divided SRL into three phases; forethought, performance and self-reflection.

Forethought phase: In forethought phase, there are two major sets of elements of self-regulation; task analysis and self-motivation feelings/ beliefs. Task analysis includes two key aspects; goal setting and strategic planning. Self-regulated students set clear and specific short term goal, and set strategies for the completion of the tasks or execution of their plans, whereas poorly regulated students may not have any clear goal or strategies for the task. The initiation and continuation of goal setting and strategic planning also depend on the motivational feelings/beliefs of the students. Self-motivation beliefs include self-efficacy, outcome expectancies, task interest, and goal orientation. Self-efficacy and outcome expectancies not only influence the forethought phase but also the performance phase. Learners’ forethought phase motivation is influenced also by their interest or enjoyment in the task for its inherent properties, rather than its possible outcome. Goals orientation (learning goal and performance goal) also influence learners’ forethought phase motivation. Learning goal orientation increases one’s academic competences, whereas performance goal orientation seeks to avoid challenging learning experiences.

Performance phase: In this phase, SRL processes have been divided into two major classes; self-control strategies and self-observation. Highly self-regulated students can use strategies for self-control like task strategies, volition strategies, self-instruction, imagery, time management, environmental structuring, help seeking, interest enhancement, self-consequences for their learning, whereas poorly self-regulated learners are not strategic in approach to learning. The second major class of this phase of SRL process, i.e., self-observation includes metacognitive monitoring, and self-recording in which highly self-regulated learners engage.

Self-reflection phase: Self-judgment and self-reaction are two major classes of self-reflection phase. Self-judgment refers to self-evaluating student’s learning performance and attributing casual significance to the results. During the self-reflection phase two types of self-reflections can take place; self-satisfaction/affect, and adaptive/defensive. Students’ self-satisfaction can influence their motivation leading to continuous efforts in their task, or even can increase depression. Self-reaction involves adaptive or defensive interferences, which are conclusions about altering student’s approach during subsequent efforts to learn.

The reactions in the self-reflection phase influence students’ motivational beliefs which lead into forethought goal setting, and strategic planning regarding further efforts in their assigned tasks.

ICE NOTE 1

Socio-emotional challenges can hinder the learning process of an individual as well as of a group. For example, Jewel was a university student and was not solvent financially enough to bear his living and educational expenses. When his peers went to have coffee in a restaurant, he had to avoid them to save his money. After few days, he heard that, his father was sick, and his family was suffering for money to pay the bills of hospital. He badly needed a job, and was searching for a job during the whole day and could not attend his classes regularly. Most of the time, he was late for the classes, and he could not participate in the group works. He did not have expectation of having better grade, or learning something deeply. He just wanted to pass the courses quickly and get a certificate which could help him to get a job. Jewel’s financial crisis and his father’s sickness affected his emotions and motivation hardly. As a result, he had different goals than his peers in the group, which affected the collaboration among the group members.

ICE NOTE 2

Research showed that a significant number of college student use self-handicaping strategy for their regulation of motivation. For example, Munna is a high achiever student, but is not regular in his study. He usually attends his classes regularly, takes notes in the classes, but he does not complete his tasks and assignments until the last moment. Actually, after the university time, he plays cricket with his friends, and listens to music. He usually plans regularly that, I will start my study from tomorrow, but he cannot begin because of his involvements in other activities. He has high perceptions of self-efficacy and outcome beliefs. He knows that if he can work with full attention, he can complete the task quickly, and will achieve a good grade. When he counts he has only one month of his final examination, he starts to handicap himself. Then he tries to finish his all wishes like playing all of his favorite games and watching movies, and complete small non-academic tasks like repairing his bike, cleaning the room and clothes, organizing his books and notes on his reading table. He tries to close the doors of all of his non-academic activities, so that when he will start his study these activities cannot make any disturbance. Finally, he begins his study when his final examination is after seven days. At this point, he is very much self-regulated until the end of his examination.

Reflection

In my first task, I mentioned some challenges I experienced during the completion of the task, which I did not face in my second solo task. Although the articles were long enough, it was easy to read and explore ideas from those texts. I think, the reproduction quality of the texts may have an effect on the time needed to retrieve information from the texts. According to my plan and goal I was successful in the second solo task also. I have explored the socio-economic challenges learners experience during their collaborative tasks, learnt different types of motivational strategies students use, and the influence of students’ self-motivational beliefs in their SRL processes. Comparing to the first period, I was more successful in time management in this period. In the previous task, I read the article and wrote the assignment at the same time, which I found difficult to think about different concepts deeply. In this phase, firstly, I read one article thoroughly and highlighted the keywords for further reading, then during the second time reading, I started taking notes on the article and wrote three concepts from that article. This technique helped me to understand the key concepts deeply and took less time to write down the key concepts. For completing my next two assignments, I will apply the same tactic.

References

Järvenoja, H., & Järvelä, S. (2009). Emotion control in collaborative learning situations – do students regulate emotions evoked from social challenges? British Journal of Educational Psychology, 79, 463-481.

Wolters, C. A. (2003). Regulation of Motivation: Evaluating an Underemphasized Aspect of Self-Regulated Learning. Educational Psychologist, 38 (4), pp. 189-205.

Zimmerman, B. J. (2011). Motivational sources and outcomes of self-regulated learning and performance. In B. J. Zimmerman, & D. H. Schunk (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation of learning and performance (pp. 49–64). New York: Routledge.

Characteristics of experts

Part 3

Characteristics of experts

Expertise is domain specific. Experts may have several competences and skills in their domain. Some general characteristics of experts are as follows:

1. Thinking: They think less that others in routine work, e.g., expert doctors need less time to diagnose than the interns. But in adaptive situation, they may take more time to think about the problems, e.g., to identify the impact of smoking in the national economy, experts may think more than the novices. However, in further steps of the problem solving process they might be quicker than others.

2. Memory: Is their memory better than others? It is not about their memorization capacity only. Many studies proved that experts can only memorize the meaningful information better than others, e.g., a chess master and a novice chess player were asked to memorize the chess board positions in the middle of the real game; expert recalled more correctly than the novice. However, when the chess pieces were randomized, the chess master recalled the same as the novice player.

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3. Information/ knowledge: Experts do not have only thousands of ideas or information about his domain, rather they have knowledge/ information related to the core concepts or problems of their tasks and expertise. Depending on the knowledge that a person brings to the situation, experts perceive and understand the same situation differently.

4. New information: When they get new information or problem they try to understand the nature of the new information or problem, and extend their existing competence in order to find the best possible solutions.

5. Information retrieval: Experts can retrieve information with minimum effort than others; it varies from fluent to automatic.

6. Complex task: Difference between an expert and a novice will be clear in complex situation, e.g. writing an essay on ‘a bus’, expert and novice both can do it in some way. But writing a scientific research article can differentiate them.

7. Taking challenge: Adaptive experts challenge their own competences and skills to solve critical problems in their domain.

8. Building new knowledge: They don’t only have vast knowledge and information about their expertise, rather they try to build something new to their areas.

References

Bransford, J. D., Brown, A., & Cocking, R. (Eds.). (2000). How people learn: Mind, brain, experience and school. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

What is collaborative learning?

Part 2

Collaborative Learning (CL)

What is collaborative learning? No! I am not going to define it. Instead, I will try to write something about different conceptions about collaborative learning. Dillenbourg (1999) in his book “Collaborative-learning: Cognitive and Computational Approaches” mentioned- why the broadest definition of Collaborative Learning “It is a situation in which two or more people learn or attempt to learn something together” is unsatisfactory? The components of this definition can be explained in different ways:

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Number of people: It can be a pair, or a small group, a large group, a community, or a society; ranging from 2 to several thousands or millions of people.

Learning: Learning can cover “follow a course”, “study course material”, “solving a problem”, and “learn from lifelong work practice”. According to some studies, learning includes more or less any collaborative activity within an educational context, such as studying course material or sharing course assignments. Some scholars think that, learning is an outcome as a side-effect of the activity of joint problem-solving which is measured either by the elicitation of new knowledge, or by the improved performance of problem-solving. From a developmental perspective, learning is a biological and/or cultural process which occurs over years. Moreover, some scholars described it as a lifelong acquisition of expertise within a professional community through collaborative work.

Togetherness: How will they be together? Is it face-to-face or computer mediated, synchronous or asynchronous, frequent in time or not? Whether it is a truly joint effort or whether the task is divided in a systematic way?

Situation: Collaborative learning situations create objects of study with different scales; from 2 to 30 subjects, from 20 minutes to 1 year. For effective collaborative learning most empirical research suggested small scale, i.e., two to five subjects collaborating for one hour or so. On the other hand, Computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) is often applied to situations in which a group of 40 subjects follows a course over one year.

References

Dillenbourg P. (1999) What do you mean by collaborative leraning?. In P. Dillenbourg (Ed) Collaborative-learning: Cognitive and Computational Approaches. (pp.1-19). Oxford: Elsevier.