Development and Triumph of Self-Regulation

Self-regulation of learning is not only a contemporary theory explaining acquisition, process, and development of motivation, knowledge, beliefs, affects, and performance, but self-regulation is also the catalyst that transforms learning limitations and barriers into beliefs of possibilities, competence, and confidence of what it is to be a committed educator, a skilled learner, and a researcher. Self-regulation is a significant part of our contemporary educational conscience and its practice sustains the use of guiding and practical tools that could help students to be academically successful. In addition self-regulation enables educators to be strategic regarding how to inspire all learners to pursue important academic goals and lifespan career dreams.

The importance of self-regulation is reflected when once again, Barry J. Zimmerman and Dale H. Schunk, the dynamic duo of motivation and self-regulated learning, collaborated to produce the Handbook of Self-regulation of Learning and Performance. This joins other volumes in the long-established success of the Educational Psychology Handbook Series. Zimmerman and Schunk refer to self-regulated learning and performance as the process by which learners activate and sustain control of their actions, beliefs, behavior, and affect in order to attain valuable personal and academic goals. The Handbook is dedicated to the memories of Frank Pajares, Paul R. Pintrich, and Michael Pressley, who are three pillars of self-regulated learning.

Zimmerman and Schunk, as editors, ensure the book provides theoretical principles, solid research procedures, and professional and educational practices that could assist the entire spectrum of professionals and learners interested in advancing a systematic attainment of personal, professional, and academic success. To accomplish these goals, they are joined by a stellar group of prominent scholars with national and international reputations.

Following an introductory chapter, the Handbook is divided into five well-orchestrated sections, with each section containing four to nine chapters. Section I provides the basic domains of self-regulated learning and performance, and includes a discussion of cognitive, developmental, motivational, and social domains related to self-regulation. A highlight of this section is the chapter on the development of academic self-regulatory processes written by Allan Wigfield, Susan L. Klauda, and Jenna Cambria. They argue that self-regulation is a developmental process and place self-efficacy, value, choice, and delay of gratification as pinnacles of this process.

Section II discusses instructional issues in self-regulation and performance with a focus on teaching self-regulation skills in diverse content areas. In this section, Heidrun Stoeger and Albert Ziegler describe procedures to train elementary-school students’ homework completion through self-regulation. They suggest that with regard to homework self-regulation, learners and teachers can be trained on self-regulation of learning.

Section III describes specific content areas where self-regulation of learning can take place. In this section, Anastasia Kitsantas and Maria Kavussanu dexterously describe the roles of each phase of the self-regulatory process during acquisition of sport knowledge and skill. They posit that athletes can be trained in self-regulation with appropriate beliefs and strategies, which should help them to achieve a high level of performance and sustain motivation.

Section IV introduces methodological issues in assessing self-regulation of learning. In this section and with an almost vibrant brush Timothy J. Cleary paints a panoramic overview of microanalytic assessment methods, historical influences and evolution of the self-regulation microanalysis, and current microanalytic protocols.

Section V conveys the importance of individual and group differences in self-regulation of learning. In this section, Dennis M. McInerney skillfully dissects the different ways in which the teaching of self-regulatory skills is useful across cultures and suggests that school curricula should include self-regulatory strategies.

Zimmerman and Schunk give to the field of education and psychology one of the greatest gifts it has received during the last three decades of self-regulation research. They fulfill their goal to create a single volume that contains basic domains, applications to diverse content areas, as well as instructional, methodological, and individual issues important to the field of self-regulation. They are very successful and succeed beyond accomplishing their objectives. The Handbook is ground-breaking and for the first time puts forth a call to all individuals interested in academic success and performance to utilize the different strategies, tools, procedures, and methodologies provided to reach a new level of academic achievement, agentic beliefs, and self-directed learning.

Suggestions for future handbooks may be to include topics on how self-regulation operates during early childhood through late adulthood. It would also be interesting to understand the ways in which self-regulation could be applied to learners from diverse ethnic groups through the use of differentiated instruction. Recommendations for future handbooks might include some of the research underway on the neurological and brain influences on self-regulated learning and how self-regulation can be used to help students with emotional and pathological conditions. However, even with these suggestions for future editions, the current Handbook provides excellent comprehensive information that can be used by educators, researchers, and learners to guide their pursuit of academic success and excellence.

Zimmerman and Schunk provide comprehensive research evidence and make a compelling case for the prominent role that self-regulation of learning has in our learning environments and in the pursuit of learning goals and professional dreams. Unquestionably, the Handbook provides readers with the assurance that learning to learn, that believing one can learn, and that mastering skills and knowledge are possible. Taken together, the chapters of the Handbook provide compelling evidence that to be at the forefront of trends in education and learning, self-regulation of learning must be an essential component in all aspects of schooling and performance.