Why is externally-facilitated regulated learning more effective than self-regulated learning with hypermedia?

  • Roger AzevedoEmail author
  • Daniel C. Moos
  • Jeffrey A. Greene
  • Fielding I. Winters
  • Jennifer G. Cromley
Research Article


We examined how self-regulated learning (SRL) and externally-facilitated self-regulated learning (ERL) differentially affected adolescents’ learning about the circulatory system while using hypermedia. A total of 128 middle-school and high school students with little prior knowledge of the topic were randomly assigned to either the SRL or ERL condition. Learners in the SRL condition regulated their own learning, while learners in the ERL condition had access to a human tutor who facilitated their self-regulated learning. We converged product (pretest-posttest shifts in students’ mental models and declarative knowledge measures) with process (think-aloud protocols) data to examine the effectiveness of self- versus externally-facilitated regulated learning. Findings revealed that learners in the ERL condition gained statistically significantly more declarative knowledge and that a greater number of participants in this condition displayed a more advanced mental model on the posttest. Verbal protocol data indicated that learners in the ERL condition regulated their learning by activating prior knowledge, engaging in several monitoring activities, deploying several effective strategies, and engaging in adaptive help-seeking. By contrast, learners in the SRL condition used ineffective strategies and engaged in fewer monitoring activities. Based on these findings, we present design principles for adaptive hypermedia learning environments, engineered to foster students’ self-regulated learning about complex and challenging science topics.


Self-regulated learning External regulation Human tutoring Hypermedia Science Mental models Metacognition Mixed methods 



This research was supported by funding from the National Science Foundation (Early Career Grant ROLE#0133346, ROLE#0731828, and REESE#0633918) awarded to the first author. The authors would like to thank Megan Clark and Jessica Vick for assistance with data collection, and Angie Lucier, Ingrid Ulander, Jonny Meritt, Neil Hofman, Evan Olson, and Pragati Godbole for transcribing the audio data. The authors would like to thank Michael Jacobson, Steven Ross, Amy Witherspoon and Jeremiah Sullins for comments and feedback on earlier versions of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger Azevedo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniel C. Moos
    • 2
  • Jeffrey A. Greene
    • 3
  • Fielding I. Winters
    • 4
  • Jennifer G. Cromley
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Institute for Intelligent SystemsUniversity of MemphisMemphisUSA
  2. 2.Gustavus Adolphus CollegeSaint PeterUSA
  3. 3.University of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  4. 4.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  5. 5.Temple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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