Educational Psychology Review

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 173–201 | Cite as

Self-regulating academic learning and achievement: The emergence of a social cognitive perspective

  • Barry J. Zimmerman


For three decades, social cognitive researchers have studied children's development of self-regulation as an achievement of socialization processes. I recount historically the emergence of a social cognitive perspective on self-regulation and identify its unique features. Two essential characteristics of students' self-regulated academic learning have been identified — their use of strategies and perceptions of self-efficacy. A social cognitive model of academic self-regulated learning is proposed that integrates triadic determinants of self-regulated learning (personal, behavioral, and environmental) on the basis of a strategic control loop. When students monitor their responding and attribute outcomes to their strategies, their learning becomes self-regulated, and they display increased self-efficacy, greater intrinsic motivation, and higher academic achievement.

Key words

self-regulation achievement social cognition 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ashton, P. (1985). Modification and the teacher's sense of efficacy. In Ames, C., and Ames, R. (eds.),Research on Motivation in Education: The Classroom Milieu Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  2. Bandura, A. (1969).Principles of Behavior Modification Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (1977a). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change.Psychol. Rev. 84: 191–215.Google Scholar
  4. Bandura, A. (1977b).Social Learning Theory Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  5. Bandura, A. (1978). The self system in reciprocal determinism.Am. Psychol. 33: 344–358.Google Scholar
  6. Bandura, A. (1982). Self-efficacy mechanism in human agency.Am. Psychol. 37: 122–147.Google Scholar
  7. Bandura, A. (1986a). Self-efficacy mechanism in physiological activation and health-promoting behavior. In Madden, J., IV, Matthysse, S., and Barchas, J. (eds.),Adaptation, Learning and Affect Raven Press, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Bandura, A. (1986b).Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  9. Bandura, A. (1988a). Organisational applications of social cognitive theory.Austral. J. Manag. 13: 275–301.Google Scholar
  10. Bandura, A. (1988b). Self-efficacy conceptions of anxiety.Anxiety Res. 1: 77–98.Google Scholar
  11. Bandura, A. (1989a). Human agency in social cognitive theory.Am. Psychol. 44:1175–1184.Google Scholar
  12. Bandura, A. (1989b). Self-regulation of motivation and action through internal standards and goal systems. In Pervin, L. A. (ed.),Goal Concepts in Personality and Social Psychology Erlbaum, Hillsdale, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  13. Bandura, A., and Cervone, D. (1983). Self-evaluative and self-efficacy mechanisms governing the motivational effects of goal systems.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 45: 1017–1028.Google Scholar
  14. Bandura, A., and Cervone, D. (1986). Differential engagement of self-reactive influences in cognitive motivation.Organ. Behav. Hum. Decision Proc. 38: 92–113.Google Scholar
  15. Bandura, A., Grusec, J. E., and Menlove, F. L. (1967). Some social determinants of self-monitoring reinforcement systems.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 5: 449–455.Google Scholar
  16. Bandura, A., and Harris, M. J. (1966). Modification of syntactic style.J. Exper. Child Psychol. 4: 341–352.Google Scholar
  17. Bandura, A., Jeffrey, R. W., and Gajdos, E. (1975). Generalizing change through participant modeling with self-directed mastery.Behav. Res. Therapy 13: 141–152.Google Scholar
  18. Bandura, A., and Kupers, C. J. (1964). The transmission of patterns of self-reinforcement through modeling.J. Abnorm. Soc. Psychol. 69: 1–9.Google Scholar
  19. Bandura, A., and McDonald, F. J. (1963). Influence of social reinforcement and the behavior of models in shaping children's moral judgments.J. Abnorm. Soc. Psychol. 67: 274–281.Google Scholar
  20. Bandura, A., and Mischel, W. (1965). The influence of models in modifying delay of gratification patterns.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 2: 698–705.Google Scholar
  21. Bandura, A., Reese, L., and Adams, N. E. (1982). Microanalysis of action and fear arousal as a function of differential levels of perceived self-efficacy.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 43: 5–21.Google Scholar
  22. Bandura, A., and Rosenthal, T. L. (1966). Vicarious classical conditioning as a function of arousal level.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 3: 54–62.Google Scholar
  23. Bandura, A., and Schunk, D. H. (1981). Cultivating competence, self-efficacy, and intrinsic interest through proximal self-motivation.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 41: 586–598.Google Scholar
  24. Bandura, A., and Walters, R. H. (1963).Social Learning and Personality Development Ronald Press, New York.Google Scholar
  25. Bandura, A., and Wood, R. (1989). Effect of perceived controllability and performance standards on self-regulation of complex decision making.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 56: 805–814.Google Scholar
  26. Betz, N. E., and Hackett, G. (1986). Applications of self-efficacy theory to understanding career choice behavior.J. Soc. Clin. Psychol. 4: 279–289.Google Scholar
  27. Borkowski, J. G., Carr, M., Rellinger, E., and Pressley, M. (1990). Self-regulated cognition: Interdependence of metacognition, attributions, and self-esteem. In Jones, B. F., and Idol, L. (eds.),Dimensions of Thinking: Review of Research Erlbaum, Hillsdale, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  28. Broden, M., Hall, R. V., and Mitts, B. (1971). The effect of self-recording on the classroom behavior of two eighth-grade students.J. Appl. Behav. Analysis 4: 191–199.Google Scholar
  29. Brody, G. H., and Henderson, R. W. (1977). The effects of multiple modeled variations on the moral judgments and explanations of young children.Child Devel. 62: 217–221.Google Scholar
  30. Brown, I., Jr. (1976). Role of referent concreteness in the acquisition of passive sentence comprehension through abstract modeling.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 22: 185–199.Google Scholar
  31. Carver, C. S., and Scheier, M. F. (1981).Attention and Self-Regulation: A Control-Theory Approach to Human Behavior Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  32. Clark, N., and Zimmerman, B. J. (1990). A Social Cognitive View of Self-Regulated Learning about Health.Health Ed. Res.: Theory Prac. 5(3): in press.Google Scholar
  33. Collins, J. L. (1982).Self-Efficacy and Ability in Achievement Behavior, Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York.Google Scholar
  34. Corno, L. (1986). The metacognitive control components of self-regulated learning.Contemp. Educat. Psychol. 11: 333–346.Google Scholar
  35. Corno, L. (1989). Self-regulated learning a volitional analysis. In Zimmerman, B. J., and Schunk, D. H. (eds.),Self-Regulated Learning and Academic Achievement: Theory, Research, and Practive, Springer, New York, pp. 111–141.Google Scholar
  36. Corno, L., and Mandinach, E. B. (1983). The role of cognitive engagement in classroom learning and motivation.Educat. Psychol. 18: 88–108.Google Scholar
  37. Denny, D. R. (1975). The effects of exemplary and cognitive models and self rehearsal on children's interrogative strategies.J. Exper. Child Psychol. 19: 476–488.Google Scholar
  38. Diaz, R. M., and Neal, C. J. (1990). The social origins of self-regulation. In Moll, L. (ed.),Vygotsky and Education (in press), Cambridge University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  39. Dowdall, C. B., and Colangelo, N. (1982). Underachieving gifted students: Review and implications.Gifted Child Quart. 26: 179–182.Google Scholar
  40. Evans, D., Clark, N. M., Feldman, C. H., Wasilewski, Y., Levison, M. J., Zimmerman, B. J., Levin, B., and Mellins, R. M. (1990). School-based health education for children with asthma: Some issues for adherence research. In Schumaker, S. A., and Ockene, J. (ed.),The Adoption and Maintenance of Behaviors for Optimal Health (in press), Springer, New York.Google Scholar
  41. Ghatala, E. S. (1986). Strategy-monitoring training enables young learners to select effective strategies.Educat. Psychol. 21: 43–54.Google Scholar
  42. Ghatala, E. S., Levin, J. R., Pressley, M., and Goodwin, D. (1986). A componential analysis of the effects of derived and supplied-utility information on children's strategy selection.J. Exper. Child Psychol. 41: 76–92.Google Scholar
  43. Goodlet, G. R., and Goodlet, M. M. (1969).Efficiency of Self-Monitored Externally Imposed Schedules of Reinforcement in Controlling Disruptive Behavior, Unpublished manuscript, University of Guelph, Ontario.Google Scholar
  44. Henderson, R. W. (1986). Self-regulated learning: Implications for the design of instructional modules.Contemp. Educat. Psychol. 11: 405–427.Google Scholar
  45. Kuhl, J. (1982). Volitional aspects of achievement motivation and learned helplessness: Toward a comprehensive theory of action control. In Maher, B. (ed.),Progress in Experimental Personality Research, Vol. 15, Academic Press, New York, pp. 99–171.Google Scholar
  46. LaBerge, D. (1981). Unitization and automaticity in perception. In Flowers, J. H. (ed.),Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, Vol. 28, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, pp. 53–71.Google Scholar
  47. Lamal, P. A. (1971). Imitative learning of information processes.J. Exper. Child Psychol. 12: 223–227.Google Scholar
  48. Laughlin, P. R., Moss, I. L., and Miller, S. M. (1969). Information-processing in children as a function of adult model, stimulus display, school grade, and sex.J. Educat. Psychol. 60: 188–193.Google Scholar
  49. Locke, E. A., Shaw, K. N., Saari, L. M., and Latham, G. P. (1981). Goal setting and task performance: 1969–1980.Psychol. Bull. 90: 125–152.Google Scholar
  50. Mace, F. C., Belfiore, P. J., and Shea, M. C. (1989). Operant theory and research on self-regulation. In Zimmerman, B. J., and Schunk, J. D. H., (eds.),Self-Regulated Learning and Academic Achievement: Theory, Research, and Practice, Springer, New York, pp. 27–50.Google Scholar
  51. McCombs, B. (1984). Processes and skills underlying continuing motivation skills training interventions.Educat. Psychol. 19: 199–218.Google Scholar
  52. McCombs, B. (1989). Self-regulated learning and academic achievement: A phenomenological view. In Zimmerman, B. J., and Schunk, D. H. (eds.),Self-Regulated Learning and Academic Achievement: Theory, Research, and Practice, Springer, New York, pp. 51–82.Google Scholar
  53. Mischel, W. (1961). Delay of gratification, need for achievement, and acquiescence in another culture.J. Abnorm. Soc. Psychol. 62: 543–552.Google Scholar
  54. Mischel, W. (1968).Personality and Assessment, Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  55. Mischel, W., and Liebert, R. M. (1966). Effects of discrepancies between observed and imposed reward criteria on their acquisition and transmission.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 3: 45–53.Google Scholar
  56. Mischel, W., and Peake, P. K. (1982). Beyonddeja vu in the search for cross-situational consistency.Psychol. Rev. 89: 730–755.Google Scholar
  57. Morgulas, S., and Zimmerman, B. J. (1979). The role of comprehension in child's observational learning of a syntractic rule.J. Exper. Child Psychol. 28: 455–468.Google Scholar
  58. Moynahan, E. D. (1978). Assessment and selection of paired-associate strategies: A developmental study.J. Exper. Child Psychol. 26: 257–266.Google Scholar
  59. Neves, D. M., and Anderson, J. R. (1981). Knowledge compilation: Mechanisms for the automatization of cognitive skills. In Anderson, J. R. (ed.),Cognitive Skills and Their Acquisitions, Erlbaum, Hillside, New Jersey, pp. 463–562.Google Scholar
  60. O'Leary, A. (1985). Self-efficacy and health.Behav. Res. Therapy 23: 437–451.Google Scholar
  61. Paris, S. G., and Byrnes, J. P. (1989). The constructivist approach to self-regulation and learning in the classroom. In Zimmerman, B. J., and Schunk, D. H. (eds.),Self-Regulated Learning and Academic Achievement: Theory, Research, and Practice, Springer, New York, pp. 168–200.Google Scholar
  62. Paris, S. G., Cross, D. R., and Lipson, M. Y. (1984). Informed strategies for learning: A program to improve children's reading awareness and comprehension.J. Educat. Psychol. 76: 1239–1252.Google Scholar
  63. Pressley, M., Borkowski, J. G., and Schneider, W. (1987). Cognitive strategies: Good strategy users coordinate metacognition and knowledge. In Vasta, R., and Whitehurst, G. (eds.),Annals of Child Development, Vol. 5, JAI Press, New York, pp. 89–129.Google Scholar
  64. Pressley, M., Levin, J. R., and Ghatala, E. S. (1984a). Memory strategy monitoring in adults and children.J. Verb. Learn. Verb. Behav. 23: 270–288.Google Scholar
  65. Pressley, M., Ross, K. A., Levin, J. R., and Ghatala, E. S. (1984b). The role of strategy-utility knowledge in children's decision making.J. Exper. Child Psychol. 38: 491–504.Google Scholar
  66. Rohrkemper, M. (1989). Self-regulated learning and academic achievement: A Vygotskian view. In Zimmerman, B. J., and Schunk, D. H. (eds.),Self-Regulated Learning and Academic Achievement: Theory, Research, and Practice, Springer, New York, pp. 143–167.Google Scholar
  67. Rosenthal, T. L., and Bandura, A. (1978). Psychological modeling: Theory and practice. In Garfield, S. L., and Bergan, A. E. (eds.),Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change, 2nd ed., Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  68. Rosenthal, T. L., and Downs, A. (1985). Cognitive aides in teaching and treating.Adv. Behav. Res. Therapy 7: 1–53.Google Scholar
  69. Rosenthal, T. L., and Steffek, B. D. (1990). Modeling applications. In Kanfer, F. H., and Goldstein, A. P. (eds.),Helping People Change, 4th ed., Pergamon, New York.Google Scholar
  70. Rosenthal, T. L., and Zimmerman, B. J. (1972a). Instructional specificity and outcome expectation in observationally induced question formulation.J. Educat. Psychol. 63: 500–504.Google Scholar
  71. Rosenthal, T. L., and Zimmerman, B. J. (1972b). Modeling by exemplification and instruction in training conservation.Devel. Psychol. 6: 392–401.Google Scholar
  72. Rosenthal, T. L., and Zimmerman, B. J. (1978).Social Learning and Cognition, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  73. Rosenthal, T. L., Zimmerman, B. J., and Durning, K. (1970). Observationally induced changes in children's interrogative classes.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 16: 681–188.Google Scholar
  74. Schneider, W. (1985). Developmental trends in the metamemory-memory behavior relationship: An integrative review. In Forrest-Pressley, D. L., McKinnon, G. E., and Waller, T. G. (eds.),Metacognition, Cognition, and Human Performance, Academic Press, New York, pp. 57–109.Google Scholar
  75. Schunk, D. H. (1981). Modeling and attributional effects on children's development: A self-efficacy analysis.J. Educat. Psychol. 75: 93–105.Google Scholar
  76. Schunk, D. H. (1983a). Developing children's self-efficacy and skills: The roles of social comparative information and goal setting.Contemp. Educat. Psychol. 8: 76–86.Google Scholar
  77. Schunk, D. H. (1983b). Goal difficulty and attainment information: Effects on children's achievement behaviors.Hum. Learn. 2: 107–117.Google Scholar
  78. Schunk, D. H. (1983c). Progress self-monitoring: Effects on children's self-efficacy and achievement.J. Educat. Psychol. 51: 89–93.Google Scholar
  79. Schunk, D. H. (1983d). Reward contingencies and the development of children's skills and self-efficacy.J. Educat. Psychol. 75: 511–518.Google Scholar
  80. Schunk, D. H. (1984). The self-efficacy perspective on achievement behavior.Educat. Psychol. 19: 199–218.Google Scholar
  81. Schunk, D. H. (1985). Participation in goal-setting: Effects on self-efficacy and skills of learning disabled children.J. Special Ed. 19: 347–369.Google Scholar
  82. Schunk, D. H. (1986). Verbalization and children's self-regulated learning.Contemp. Educat. Psychol. 11: 347–369.Google Scholar
  83. Schunk, D. H. (1989). Social cognitive theory and self-regulated learning. In Zimmerman, B. J., and Schunk, D. H. (eds.),Self-Regulated Learning and Academic Achievement: Theory, Research, and Practice Springer, New York, pp. 83–110.Google Scholar
  84. Schunk, D. H., and Hanson, A. R. (1985). Peer models: Influence on children's self-efficacy and achievement.J. Educat. Psychol. 77: 313–322.Google Scholar
  85. Shapiro, E. S. (1984). Self-monitoring procedures. In Ollendick, T. H., and Hersen, M. (eds.),Child Behavior Assessment: Principles and Procedures Pergamon, New York, pp. 148–165.Google Scholar
  86. Siegler, R. S. (1982). Information processing approaches to development. In Mussen, P. (ed.),Manual of Child Psychology, Vol. 1, Wiley, New York, pp. 129–211.Google Scholar
  87. Siegler, R. S., Liebert, D. E., and Liebert, R. M. (1973). Inhelder and Piaget's pendulum problem: Teaching preadolescents to act as scientists.Devel. Psychol. 9: 97–101.Google Scholar
  88. Stevenson, H. W., and Odom, R. D. (1964). Visual reinforcement with children.J. Exper. Child Psychol. 1: 248–255.Google Scholar
  89. Thoresen, C. E., and Mahoney, M. J. (1974).Behavioral Self-Control Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York.Google Scholar
  90. Tracy, J. J., and Cross, H. J. (1973). Antecedents of shift in moral judgments.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 26: 238–244.Google Scholar
  91. Walters, R. H., and Denkow, L. (1963). Timing of punishment as a determinant of resistance to temptation.Child Devel. 34: 207–214.Google Scholar
  92. Walters, R. H., Leat, M., and Metzei, L. (1963). Response inhibition and disinhibition through empathic learning.Canad. J. Psychol. 17: 2325–2343.Google Scholar
  93. Walters, R. H., and Parke, R. D. (1964). Influence of response consequences to a social model on resistance to deviation.J. Exper. Child Psychol. 1: 269–280.Google Scholar
  94. Walters, R. H., Parke, R. D., and Crane, V. A. (1965). Timing of punishment and the observation of consequences to others as determinants of response inhibition.J. Exper. Child Psychol. 2: 10–30.Google Scholar
  95. Wang, M. C., and Peverly, S. T. (1986). The self-instructive process in classroom learning contexts.Contemp. Educat. Psychol. 11: 370–404.Google Scholar
  96. Weinstein, C. E., and Underwood, V. (1985). Learning strategies: The how of learning. In Segal, J. W., Chipman, S. F., and Glaser, R. (eds.),Thinking and Learning Skills, Vol. 1, Erlbaum, Hillsdale, New Jersey, pp. 241–258.Google Scholar
  97. Whitehurst, G. J., Ironsmith, M., and Goldfein, M. (1974). Selective imitation of the passive construction through modeling.J. Esper. Child Psychol. 17: 288–302.Google Scholar
  98. Wood, R., and Bandura, A. (1989a). Impact of conceptions of ability on self-regulatory mechanism and complex decision making.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 56: 407–415.Google Scholar
  99. Wood, R. (1989b). Social cognitive theory of organizational management.Acad. Manag. Rev. 14: 361–384.Google Scholar
  100. Zimmerman, B. J. (1977). Modeling. In Hom, H., and Robinson, P. (eds.),Psychological Processes in Children's Early Education Academic Press, New York, pp. 37–70.Google Scholar
  101. Zimmerman, B. J. (1979). Concepts and classification. In Whitehurst, G. J. (ed.),Functions of Language and Cognition Academic Press, New York, pp. 57–81.Google Scholar
  102. Zimmerman, B. J. (1983). Social learning theory: A contextualist account of cognitive functioning. In Brainerd, C. J. (ed.),Recent Advances in Cognitive Developmental Theory Springer, New York, pp. 1–49.Google Scholar
  103. Zimmerman, B. (1985). The development of “intrinsic” motivation: A social learning analysis.Ann. Child Devel. 2: 117–160.Google Scholar
  104. Zimmerman, B. J. (1986). Development of self-regulated learning: Which are the key subprocesses?Contemp. Educat. Psychol. 16: 307–313.Google Scholar
  105. Zimmerman, B. J. (1989a). A social cognitive view of self-regulated academic learning.J. Educat. Psychol. 81: (in press).Google Scholar
  106. Zimmerman, B. J. (1989b). Models of self-regulated learning and academic achievement. In Zimmerman, B. J., and Schunk, D. H. (eds.),Self-Regulated Learning and Academic Achievement: Theory, Research, and Practive, Springer, New York, pp. 1–25.Google Scholar
  107. Zimmerman, B. J., and Kleefeld, C. (1977). Toward a theory of teaching: A social learning view.Contemp. Educat. Psychol. 2: 158–171.Google Scholar
  108. Zimmerman, B. J., and Martinez-Pons, M. (1986). Development of a structured interview for assessing student use of self-regulated learning strategies.Am. Educat. Res. J. 23: 614–628.Google Scholar
  109. Zimmerman, B. J., and Martinez-Pons, M. (1988). Construct validation of a strategy model of student self-regulated learning.J. Educat. Psychol. 80: 284–290.Google Scholar
  110. Zimmerman, B. J., and Martinez-Pons, M. (1990). Student differences in self-regulated learning: Relating grade, sex, and giftedness to self-efficacy and strategy use.J. Educat. Psychol. (in press).Google Scholar
  111. Zimmerman, B. J., and Ringle, J. (1981). Effects of model persistence and statements of confidence on children's efficacy and problem solving.J. Educat. Psychol. 73: 485–493.Google Scholar
  112. Zimmerman, B. J., and Rosenthal, T. L. (1974a). Conserving and retaining equalities and inequalities through observation and correction.Devel. Psychol. 10: 260–268.Google Scholar
  113. Zimmerman, B. J., and Rosenthal, T. L. (1974). Observational learning of rule governed behavior by children.Psychol. Bull. 81: 29–42.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry J. Zimmerman
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School and University CenterCity University of New YorkNew York

Personalised recommendations