British Journal of Educational Psychology vol:75 issue:3 pages:351-372
Higher education is facing a number of problems: adjusting to larger and more heterogeneous student populations, increasing the number of graduating students, and preparing for lifelong learning. Improving learning competence can make a substantial contribution to solving each of these major concerns. The growing knowledge base on self-regulated learning was taken as one of the main starting points for our study.
In this article we report on reflection and attribution as basic components of self-regulated learning. We examine their trainability and their effect on academic performance. This study is part of a wider research project aimed at improving meta-cognitive knowledge as well as affective, conative and regulation skills. The experimental treatment consisted of an integrated set of instructional conditions, which were operationalized in a series of training sessions, as well as practice and transfer tasks.
The participants in this study were 141 first year students of business economics. The experimental group and both control groups each consisted of 47 students.
The effects of the learning environment were investigated using a quasiexperimental design. To control for unintended effects of the design the experimental and the first control group had the same number of teaching hours (time-on-task) and both teachers and students were not informed about the experimental design. Attribution and reflection behaviour was measured through specific assignments; study results during and after the intervention period were taken as indicators of academic performance. To test the hypotheses, t tests and effect-sizes were calculated.
After the intervention the experimental students showed a higher degree of reflective behaviour than the control students. Moreover, their attribution skills had also measurably improved. The experimental students obtained better study results than their peers in the control groups.
This intervention study, focused on the combined training of learning to reflect and to attribute constructively, provides evidence of the successful fostering both of meta-cognitive and of conative learning activities resulting in a positive impact on academic achievement
Departement Pedagogische wetenschappen. Afdeling Didactiek. Centrum voor Instructiepsychologie en -technologie. Leuvens Instituut voor onderwijsonderzoek (LIVO)