3 Self-Regulation and Learning

Educational Psychology

  1. Dale H. Schunk PhD1,
  2. Barry J. Zimmerman PhD2

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop207003

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Schunk, D. H. and Zimmerman, B. J. 2012. Self-Regulation and Learning. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 7:3.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of North Carolina, School of Education, Greensboro, NC, USA

  2. 2

    City University of New York, Department of Psychology, New York, NY, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


Self-regulation (self-regulated learning) refers to learning that results from students' self-generated thoughts and behaviors that are systematically oriented toward their learning goals. Various theories are explained that have been proposed to account for self-regulation including operant, information processing, developmental, social constructivist, and social cognitive. Common features of theories include an emphasis on learner activity, cyclical nature of self-regulation, and motivation to instigate and sustain self-regulation. Research investigations are summarized that identified key self-regulatory processes used by students to help them learn and explore the operation of these processes during learning. Some important self-regulatory processes are goal setting, self-evaluation of progress, learning strategies, metacognition, self-construction of theories, and self-efficacy. Research shows that self-regulatory processes influence learners' achievement cognitions, behaviors, and emotions. Two interventions are summarized that sought to enhance learners' self-regulation and learning in different contexts. Recommendations are given for self-regulation research in the areas of human development, curricular integration, cultural differences, and learning with technology.


  • self-regulation;
  • self-efficacy;
  • metacognition;
  • learning strategies;
  • motivation