Enhancing self-regulated learning using prompts and visualization

Making study decisions based on information derived from monitoring of one’s learning is the basic assumption of metacognitive self-regulation of learning. After study sessions, learners monitor their level of understanding by the amount of difficulties they face when trying to recall the information. The learners may judge their learning as insufficient if they are uncertain of their answers. Using this judgment, the learners may choose to put in more time to restudy the learning material that they are least certain of to improve their overall learning performance. Therefore, the process of monitoring is important because it affects the sudy time allocation, and consequentially learning performance.

According to Metcalfe and Kornell’s (2005) paper, study time allocation has two stages: choice and perserverance. During the choice stage, learners make decisions on items that they need to study and prioritize them. During the perseverance stage, learners make decisions on when to stop studying. Schnaubert and Bodemer (2017) argued that although the monitoring processes influence these study decisions, learners do not spontaneously monitor their own learning. Therefore, the authors conducted a study to examine whether prompting students to make response confidence judgments (RCJs) would activate the monitoring processes and whether providing visualization of the RCJs would further increase the saliency of the RCJs to enhance study efforts.

Students in the study were randomly allocated to three groups: prompting and visualization group, prompting only group, and control group. In the prompting and visualization group, participants were asked to make RCJs after the first learning phase and their RCJs were shown to them during the restudy phase. Participants in the prompting only group were asked to make RCJs after the first learning phase but their RCJs were not shown to them in the restudy phase. Participants in the control group were not prompted to make RCJs, as such, no information on their RCJs could be visualized to them. Results showed that the participants who were prompted to make RCJs requested for more information during the restudy phase. Moreover, participants who were shown their RCJs during the restudy phase were more focussed in their restudy approach. Although there was an increase in study efforts in the two prompted groups, there were no significant differences in learning gains between the three groups. The authors attributed the lack of learning gains to the low monitoring accuracy. One reason could be that the participants were either not able to or unwilling to accurately monitor their learning due to task diffculty.

In sum, this study supports previous studies on metacognitive monitoring. Judging how certain or confident one is of their answers does not occur explicitly or automatically during learning. Prompting students to make a judgment of their learning helps to enhance students' monitoring processes and visualizing their judgment can help to shape their restudy approach.

Metcalfe, J., & Kornell, N. (2005). A region of proximal learning model of study time allocation. Journal of memory and language, 52(4), 463-477.

Schnaubert, L., & Bodemer, D. (2017). Prompting and visualising monitoring outcomes: Guiding self-regulatory processes with confidence judgments. Learning and Instruction, 49, 251-262.

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