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22st Annual OLC International Conference
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Learning How to Learn: Strategies to Develop Students' Self-Regulated Learning Skills in Online Courses

Jessica Decker (University of La Verne, USA)
Valerie Beltran (University of La Verne, USA)
Session Information
October 14, 2015 - 3:45pm
Learning Effectiveness
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Blended Program/Degree
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Northern Hemisphere A2
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 4

This interactive presentation will engage the audience in exploring strategies designed to increase students' self-regulated learning in online environments.

Extended Abstract

Learning How to Learn: Strategies to Develop StudentsÕ Self-Regulated Learning Skills in Online Courses

This session will explore the role of studentsÕ self-regulated learning (SRL) skills in online environments. Specifically, the session will focus on SRL strategies used in an online masterÕs degree program. A summary of student experiences will be presented along with practical strategies for increasing SRL. The goals for this session are as follows:
* Identify elements of online courses that encourage development of self-regulated learning in students
* Explore strategies for online courses that increase studentsÕ self-regulated learning skills

Preparing students for a life beyond K-12 and college education is of primary concern (Nilson, 2013). Educators seek to instill in their students an appreciation for lifelong learning driven by the ability to set goals, select appropriate learning strategies, monitor progress toward goals, and evaluate outcomes (Knowles, 1975). Such skills comprise the construct of self-regulated learning, which focuses on learner autonomy and control of learning processes (Paris & Paris, 2001).

A lack of SRL skills has been found to be a factor in studentsÕ persistence in online courses. SRL skills such as commitment to established goals, academic self-efficacy, resilience, and time management can have a direct impact on studentsÕ success in online courses (Lee & Choi, 2011). For example, students who lack resilience or appropriate time management skills are more likely to underperform in or drop out of an online course. Thus, strategies put in place to enhance studentsÕ SRL skills may also positively impact the likelihood of their success in the course.

Typical online courses often consist of activities completed by students in isolation. An instructor will offer feedback on assignments along the way, often varied in frequency, quality, and timeliness. Occasionally, students engage in reflection related to their assignments and performance. These elements, along with the overall design of the online course, can be maximized to enhance the development of studentsÕ SRL skills.

In a case study of students enrolled in an online masterÕs program, a focus group was conducted to determine the impact of course design on studentsÕ SRL skills. Participants were asked a variety of questions related to the assignments, interactions, and design of the online courses they had taken, along with the impact of those elements on their SRL. From the focus group discussion, several themes related to SRL emerged. These themes included the following:
* Online courses, by their very nature, require students to demonstrate SRL.
* Reflection plays a vital role in helping students develop SRL skills.
* The instructor is critical in establishing an online learning environment that enables students to develop SRL skills.

Online courses need to be designed in such a way so as to capitalize on the opportunity to develop studentsÕ SRL skills. The overall design of the course, including the assignments employed, instructional strategies utilized, and feedback methods used, can be strategically implemented to enhance studentsÕ development of SRL. Specific strategies to develop SRL include time management questionnaires, student self-assessments, Gantt Charts, assessment reflections, and assessment feedback analysis, among others.

Attendees of this session will explore the concept of course design that targets the development of SRL skills. The presenters will discuss how the online masterÕs program studied is organized, along with the typical structure of the courses involved. Results of the case study will be discussed, along with the above strategies for developing SRL skills in the online environment. Attendees will examine these strategies and engage in partner or table discussions related to how those strategies can be implemented in their own professional practice. The session will finish with a question and answer or open discussion period with the presenters.