The significance of self-regulation in digitalized online courses

    Research output: Other conference contributionAbstractScientific


    Many traditional classroom activities such as lectures and exercise classes are moving out of on-campus facilities as a result of digitalization. Most often they are replaced by video lectures and other online learning activities like automated quizzes and assignments. Digitalized activities improve spatial and temporal flexibility of learning because all digitalized material can be published at once, and they are accessible from any place at any time without the need for physical presence at a specific time. Hence, they also support self-paced study of variety of learners having different backgrounds. For example, a learner can watch videos repeatedly or rewind back to a difficult topic that requires revision from the learner. On the other hand, fast-paced students can fast-forward easier parts or skip them entirely, which allow them to focus on more difficult content.

    However, reality may not be so auspicious, especially when academic courses are digitalized by a large extent, which typically increases academic freedom of all learners. In such cases, learner’s self-regulation skills and specific use of personally selected processes like 1) willingness to set goals, 2) ability to select suitable learning strategies for attaining goals, 3) ability to monitor own learning progress, 4) effective time management skills, and 5) ability to reject distractions in own personal learning environment significantly affect learner’s potential to succeed in academic activities.

    In this study, teaching and learning experiences from a highly digitalized course intended for Bachelors’ level engineering students in three different course implementations are discussed. Specific focus is steered towards the five self-regulation skills and processes listed above, and their connection to academic achievement. After the first implementation, dropouts and those who displayed poor academic performance also lacked self-regulation skills, especially, the five above- listed key factors were almost completely missing. Lack of self-regulation skills was identified by a questionnaire that focuses on the five key factors at a personal level. As a result, specific activities and monitoring processes were tailored for the next two implementations, which aimed to help learners to pay personal attention to key factors of self-regulation, and thereby enabled them to become more initiative in their own learning processes and regulation. Based on this study, it seems that digitalized courses launched at an early stage of academic studies may need additional support for self-regulatory processes in order to enable successful progression of studies and satisfactory grades.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2018
    EventTeaching for Learning - The University Perspective - Dorpat Conference Centre, Tartu, Estonia
    Duration: 23 Jan 201825 Jan 2018


    ConferenceTeaching for Learning - The University Perspective
    Internet address


    • Self-Regulation
    • Digitalization
    • Learning Environment
    • Learning outside the classroom, Problem-based learning


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