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Integrating the regulation of affect, behavior, and cognition into self-regulated learning paradigms among secondary and post-secondary students

Abstract

An integrative framework for investigating self-regulated learning situated in students’ favorite and least favorite courses was empirically tested in a sample of 178 high school and 280 college students. Building on cognitive, clinical, social, and educational conceptions of self-regulation, the current paper integrated affective (e.g., reappraisal, suppression), behavioral (e.g., environmental, planning), and cognitive (e.g., cognitive focusing, metacognition) forms of regulation with self-regulated learning strategies (deep and surface processing, organization, engagement) to predict achievement. Overall, self-regulation was employed more frequently in favorite courses and by college students. Path models examined the associations of affective, behavioral, and cognitive regulation with learning strategies and achievement. These analyses suggested that affective, behavioral, and cognitive regulation were related to learning strategies, but the links to achievement were less robust. Moreover, there were significant indirect paths from behavioral and cognitive regulation to achievement through learning strategies, although some of these indirect paths were counter to expectations.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    However, some research suggests that there might be advantages to some negative emotions, such as confusion, that fuels engagement in specific situations (D’Mello and Graesser 2014).

  2. 2.

    In the United States, high school and college are 4 years. Sophomores are 2nd year students and juniors are 3rd year students. In order to ensure that participants were stable in their respective learning contexts, we opted to exclude 1st year Freshmen who were transitioning into high school/college or 4th year Seniors who were leaving school.

  3. 3.

    For achievement, skewness was slightly high for both favorite (−1.67; −1.84) and least favorite (−1.14; −2.03) courses for high school and college, respectively; kurtosis was high in favorite courses (2.79) for high school and in both favorite (2.99) and least favorite (4.65) courses for college students. Squaring the values decreased the skewness to −0.78 and −1.52 for favorite courses and −0.29 and −0.80 for least favorite courses, for high school and college students, respectively and the kurtosis to −0.43 for favorite courses for high school students and 1.49 in favorite and −0.05 in least favorite courses for college students.

  4. 4.

    Traditionally, ten participants per parameter are required as a minimum for CFA. When running the unconstrained model, we encountered an unidentified model because the number of paths were doubled for the multi-group unconstrained model, suggesting that we did not have a sufficient sample size to analyze the data using an unconstrained model (Ho 2006; Muthén and Muthén 1998).

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Acknowledgements

The research reported in this manuscript was supported by grants from: American Psychological Association Division 15 Dissertation Research Award; Social Science Research Institute, Duke University; and the Aleane Webb Dissertation Research Fellowship, Duke University. The findings and views reported in this manuscript are the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect the views of Duke University or American Psychological Association.

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Correspondence to Adar Ben-Eliyahu.

Appendix

Appendix

Affective (adapted from Gross & John 2003)

Reappraisal:

When I study or work on tasks related to my (least) favorite class…

  1. 1)

    when I want to feel more positive emotion, I change the way I’m thinking about the situation.

  2. 2)

    when I’m faced with a stressful situation, I make myself think about it in a way that helps me stay calm.

  3. 3)

    I control my emotions by changing the way I think about the situation I’m in.

  4. 4)

    when I want to feel more positive emotion (such as joy or amusement), I change what I’m thinking about.

  5. 5)

    when I want to feel less negative emotion (such as sadness or anger), I change what I’m thinking about.

Suppression:

When I study or work on tasks related to my (least) favorite class…

  1. 1)

    I control my emotions by not expressing them.

  2. 2)

    When I am feeling negative emotions, I make sure not to express them.

  3. 3)

    I keep my emotions to myself.

Behavioral

Planning (adapted from Xu 2008 and Pintrich et al. 1991)

  1. 1)

    I set time to work on my tasks for my (least) favorite class ahead of time.

  2. 2)

    I keep track of what remains to be done in my (least) favorite class.

  3. 3)

    I remind myself of the available remaining time for tasks assigned in my (least) favorite class.

  4. 4)

    Throughout the week, I have set times that I dedicate to my academics in my (least) favorite class.

  5. 5)

    I set a plan for how to go about completing my assignments in (least) favorite.

  6. 6)

    Before I begin a task, like writing a paper or answering a question, in (least) favorite, I consider all the different things I need to get done to complete this task.

  7. 7)

    I make lists for work that needs to be accomplished or finished in (least) favorite.

Location (Environmental Regulation) (adapted from Pintrich et al. 1991)

  1. 1)

    I usually study in a place where I can concentrate on my work in (least) favorite.

  2. 2)

    When working on assignments for (least) favorite, I change where I’m studying or working if I’m not getting my work done as I planned.

  3. 3)

    If I feel I can’t study well in my current location, I make an active choice to move, change locations, or change something in my study space (like close the blinds).

  4. 4)

    I choose a different location depending on the type of work I’m working on.

  5. 5)

    I work in an area where I know that I can best concentrate and complete my work for (least) favorite class.

  6. 6)

    I go to study at a place where I know the noise level will not disrupt my work.

  7. 7)

    I choose to study in different areas that will be most well-suited or conducive to my studying for (least) favorite.

Cognitive

Focus

  1. 1)

    I have a hard time concentrating in (least) favorite class.

  2. 2)

    I often lose track of what I am thinking about in (least) favorite class.

  3. 3)

    I have difficulty keeping my mind on school-related things in (least) favorite class.

  4. 4)

    During class time I often miss important points because I’m thinking of other things (like daydreaming).

Metacognition (adapted from Pintrich et al. 1991)

  1. 1)

    When studying for (least) favorite I try to determine or figure out which concepts or ideas I don’t understand well.

  2. 2)

    When I study for (least) favorite, I set goals for myself in order to direct my activities every time I study.

  3. 3)

    When I become confused about something I’m reading for (least) favorite class, I go back and try to figure it out.

  4. 4)

    If class materials are difficult to understand, I change the way I read or study the material.

  5. 5)

    I ask myself questions to make sure I understand the material I have been studying in (least) favorite.

  6. 6)

    I try to change the way I study in order to fit the class requirements and teacher’s teaching style.

  7. 7)

    I try to think through a topic and decide what I am supposed to learn from it rather than just reading it over when studying.

Self-Regulated Learning Strategies

Organization (adapted from Pintrich et al. 1991)

  1. 1)

    When I study for (least) favorite class, I write brief summaries of the main ideas from the readings and the concepts from the lectures.

  2. 2)

    When I study for (least) favorite class, I outline the material or readings to help me organize my thoughts.

  3. 3)

    I make simple charts, diagrams, or tables to help me organize the class material.

  4. 4)

    When I study for (least) favorite class, I go over my notes and make an outline of important concepts or ideas.

Surface Processing (adapted from Pintrich et al. 1991)

  1. 1)

    When I study for (least) favorite, I practice saying the material to myself over and over.

  2. 2)

    When studying for (least) favorite, I read my class notes and the course readings over and over again.

  3. 3)

    I memorize key words to remind me of important concepts or ideas in (least) favorite.

Deeper Processing (adapted from Pintrich et al. 1991)

  1. 1)

    When I study for (least) favorite class, I pull together information from different sources, such as class time (lectures or discussions) or readings.

  2. 2)

    I try to relate or connect ideas in this subject to those in other classes whenever possible.

  3. 3)

    When reading for (least) favorite class, I try to connect or relate the material to what I already know.

  4. 4)

    I try to understand the materials or information in (least) favorite class by making connections between the readings and the ideas or concepts in the lectures.

  5. 5)

    I try to apply or use ideas from class assignments or readings in other class activities such as lecture, discussion, or groupwork.

Behavioral-Cognitive Engagement (Assor et al. 2002)

  1. 1)

    I pay attention and try to follow what the teacher says in (least) favorite class.

  2. 2)

    I come to (least) favorite class unprepared (without completing assigned readings and assignments, etc.). ©

  3. 3)

    I participate in conversations and discussions that take place in (least) favorite class.

  4. 4)

    I often go through the motions in (least) favorite class, but I’m really not paying attention. ©

  5. 5)

    I skip (least) favorite class. ©

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Ben-Eliyahu, A., Linnenbrink-Garcia, L. Integrating the regulation of affect, behavior, and cognition into self-regulated learning paradigms among secondary and post-secondary students. Metacognition Learning 10, 15–42 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11409-014-9129-8

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Keywords

  • Self-regulation
  • Cognition
  • Emotion
  • Behavior
  • Learning
  • Self-regulated learning
  • Development
  • Liking