Studying as Self-Regulating Learning

When searching for my next blog topic, I decided to look in to cognitive studying tips. I chose this topic in particular because, just recently we learned in class how much cognition goes into studying, and this really interested me. So I discovered a book called Metacognition in Educational Theory and Practice, edited by Douglas J. Hacker, John Dunlosky, Arthur C. Graesse. I came across a chapter in this called Studying as Self-Regulation Learning, by Philip H. Winne and Allyson F Hadwin out of Simon Fraser University (

ddddd            In the beginning of the chapter it talks about the six features that distinguish studying from the subsuming category of learning activities. In particular, studying:

  1. Rarely includes direct or frequent intervention by a teacher.
  2. Is often a solo activity, although peer meditation is also common
  3. Often originates with a general goal set by a teacher that the student subsequently interprets at the studying session’s onset and refines in a recursive way as studying unfolds.
  4. Quite often involves searching in and synthesizing information from multiple sources.
  5. Quite often occurs in settings where the student can engineer the studying environment to satisfy personal preferences.
  6. Almost always produces observable traces (Winne, 1982) of cognitive processing in forms such as notes in a textbook or in the margins of a textbook’s pages, outlines, summaries, self-generated questions, diagrams, records of attempts to solve problems, and especially highlighted text.

The Six features just numbered that distinguish studying from learning in general describe circumstances that essentially force student’s to engage in complex bundles of goal-directed cognitive and motivational processes that “get studying done”.

As a first step toward examining studying through metacognitive lenses, they suggested we present a general typology that defines features of academic tasks in general, including studying tasks. Then, we would use this typology to characterize the four distinguishable but recursively linked stages of studying: task definition, goal setting and planning, enacting study tactics and strategies, and metacognitive adapting studying. Next, we would then develop connections between our typology for studying and models of metacognition monitoring, metacognitive control, and self-regulated learning.

I think this article did a great job of breaking down the differences between learning and studying information. Learning as far as the teacher and classroom, and then studying as an individual in your own environment. Then they also break down the cognitive part of studying, like goal setting, planning, and adapting. When studying you can always just read your notes but in order to retain the information you really have to think about what you are learning and apply the information. For example, reading from flash cards is not going to help unless you thinking about the “why’s” and the “how’s”.



2 thoughts on “Studying as Self-Regulating Learning

  1. arichmon

    I found this very interesting! It’s too bad it doesn’t detail group study techniques, or how they can be similar to/distinguished from individual studying, because I find group studying often very informative (though occasionally unproductive 😀 ). I also thought breaking down studying into four components was very interesting and actually very helpful as well- I’m sure planning out studying with those four components in mind would be beneficial to retention. Thanks for the post! 🙂

  2. Samantha Worman

    This is a great topic to look into since we discussed it in class. I’m glad you found this book, I’m interested in looking it up and reading it. I find the stages interesting as well, I remember always having known what to do when I studied but it would have been nice to be directly taught these stages in elementary school or middle school. We seem to go through our education without being taught how to study, it’s always assumed that we should know or adapt to it from previous years of schooling. I didn’t learn how to really study until I got to college and even then I had to try several different strategies to find one that worked well . Thanks again for the great book link!

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