Self-Regulated Learning

I decided to run shadow courses on self-regulated learning in my courses (Calculus II and Probability and Statistics) last semester.  I initially heard about self-regulated learning from Robert Talbert.

Basically, self-regulated learning is about nurturing things like metacognition, responsibility, and other soft skills.  Here are the assignments I gave them to accomplish this, most of which come from Linda Nilson’s book.

  1. Read and write a short reflection paper on a Mindset article by Maria Popova.
  2. Read and write a short reflection paper on Learning (Your First Job) by Leamnson.
  3. Write a paper “How I got an A” at the beginning of the semester to describe what should be done to do well in the course.
  4. Write a paper “How I got an F” at the beginning of the semester to describe what should be done to do poorly in the course.
  5. Write a paper at the end of the course to describe how well you did (or avoided) behaviors in the previous two papers.
  6. Write up a sample weekly calendar that allots time for classes, jobs, health (showering, eating, etc), and time to study for each class.
  7. Write a learning autobiography about a time they learned something really well.
  8. Write a description of why they decided to attend college, and why they decided to take this mathematics course in particular.
  9. Take the Metacognitive Awareness Inventory as a pre- and a post-test.
  10. Write a weekly blog post that summarizes what we learned each day in class (for the mathematics class only), three academic tasks they wanted to accomplish each day (e.g. “Go find a particular book at the library,” “Do half of my problem set for physics”), describe when they wanted to procrastinate (and whether they were successful in avoiding it), and describe when they delayed gratification (and whether they were successful).

Most everything was front-loaded to the beginning of the semester (the weekly blog post, Metacognition post-test, and “How I Got an A/F” reflection paper are the exceptions), and everything was graded Complete/Incomplete (using specifications grading, also by Nilson).

I will reflect on how useful this was on my next post.  A semi-spoiler is that I am not doing it again this semester, although this was mostly to simplify my life.


6 Responses to “Self-Regulated Learning”

  1. Andy "SuperFly" Rundquist Says:

    Someone once suggested to me to use “professional skills” instead of “soft skills”. Does that work for this context?

    In my first year seminar courses I feel empowered to do this sort of ghost curriculum, but in my straight up physics courses my “too much content!” panicked side seems to always dissuade me from doing this sort of thing. I’m looking forward to your next post!

    • bretbenesh Says:

      I am not crazy about the phrase “soft skills,” either. I like “professional skills” better although that doesn’t seem ideal either. Maybe something like, “Get-Stuff-Done skills?”

      I agree with the too-much-content thing, although this really didn’t take up much class time. I think that I ended up using maybe 30 minutes of time for the entire semester on this. It would have been better to use more, but I also had too-much-content.

  2. Pinky Says:

    Definitely bookmarking this!

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