Self-management of learning: what it is and what are its elements and phases

There are many different teaching methods, but that of self-management of learning it has characteristics that make it unique.

Then we will go deeper into the details of this model to be able to understand it in depth and thus be able to know the peculiarities that make this system so important. We will also explore the different factors that need to be included as well as the phases of this process.

    What is self-management of learning?

    Self-management of learning is a training process based on the student taking control of the procedure and therefore the setting of objectives who wants to obtain and manage his own work on the contents in order to be able to integrate them as knowledge. This model is also called self-directed learning or self-regulated learning.

    Therefore, the main key to this process is the weight that he gives to the figure of the student, at the same time becoming his own teacher, because he must act actively, manage himself throughout the learning process. and thus achieve the achievement of the set objectives, that is to say the acquisition of the knowledge proposed at the start.

    Self-management of learning would encompass all cognitive processes in addition to the behaviors that the individual performs throughout the process. But the key factor to explain this phenomenon is certainly motivation, because without it it is practically impossible for a person to carry out self-management of learning, because he needs a reason to force himself to put all its mental services at the service of this process.

    Elements of self-management of learning

    Self-management of learning involves the emergence of a number of elements so that we can consider it as such. These are the ones we will see below.

    1. Interest

    We had already anticipated that motivation was the backbone of this procedure. This motivation somehow involves an interest, which may be the utility that will bring you that knowledge or skills that you are learning.Perhaps a promising job prospect as a result of this change, the ability to engage in a certain activity, or simply the desire to learn more about a specific subject or area of ​​knowledge.

    The reasons why the learning object is interesting are very personal and will depend on each individual, but they must always exist, as they are necessary to achieve a self-motivating effect.

    Conversely, if there is absolutely no reason for a person to embark on the mission to acquire a certain knowledge or skill, it is unlikely that he will do so and therefore the phenomenon of self-management. learning.

    2. Recognition

    The second element that we find when we talk about self-management of learning is attribution, i.e. what the person initiating this process hopes to achieve with him. It could be learning a new skill or knowledge or the possibility of getting a promotion. It is not the interest itself, but the prospect itself that should be achieved.


      Self-monitoring is another necessary element to be able to follow the path of self-management of learning. What does mean? what the individual must be able to look at himself with perspective during the process to realize how much he is, What potential problems do you encounter and how to solve them or in general if the process is effective or if on the contrary you need to adopt new strategies to achieve the goal you are pursuing.

      4. Self-efficacy

      In order to be able to carry out self-management of learning, it is essential to believe that we are capable of doing it because we have the right tools, whether it be user manuals, sufficient time, motivation, etc. Thanks to that we generate a perception of self-efficacy without which we would hardly see the proposed objective as a feasible scenario and therefore, we would not initiate or abandon the process because of the expectations of failure that we would have.

      5. Self-knowledge

      If we have all of the above and are in a process of self-management of learning, we can review the new knowledge or skills that we are integrating into ourselves, we are aware of it. For this reason, self-awareness is another element that pops up when we talk about this procedure.

      6. Recursion

      Finally, the last factor involved in self-management of learning is that of recursion. It’s about the ability of people to use the resources we have in very different ways to achieve different goals. In this case, it would be orient our resources and capacities to move closer and closer to the learning objective that we have defined and thus integrated the skill or knowledge that we initially wanted.

      Phases according to the model of Winne and Hadwin

      Self-management of learning has different models that attempt to explain it in the most correct way possible. One of them is by authors Philip H. Winne and Allyson Fiona Hadwin. These researchers speak of a process that takes place in four phases, which we will see below.

      1. Approach to the task

      The first thing a person willing to learn will do is have an approach to the task. This way will value your motivation and the resources you have available to be able to start the challenge. How the subject perceives the task is a totally individual matter, so for each person it will be different.

      2. Goal setting

      Once the student has assessed the task at hand, they will be able to set goals as they see fit and more develop a plan that allows you to manage your resources to achieve these goals. Likewise, goals are everyone’s decision.

      3. Implementation of the plan

      Once you are task-oriented and with a specific plan in mind, it’s time to act and do it. This would be the third step in self-management of learning. To do this, they will need to apply their skills and resources so that the strategies they choose to achieve the goals set are as effective as possible.

      4. Reorientation

      Obviously, the objectives set during a first attempt are often not achieved, but this is part of the process of self-management of learning. This is why the fourth phase refers to the reorientation of the plan, learn from the mistakes and errors that we have encountered and thus be able to come closer and closer to a satisfactory strategy which ultimately leads us to the achievement of objectives and therefore to the acquisition of new skills or knowledge.

      During this phase, you can reorient the goals, change the plan to the maximum, vary the use of resources and even abandon the task altogether if the person finds out that they have misjudged the viability, if they are no longer interested. by anything or if you decide to devote your time to some other different task that at that time motivates you more or with which you are apparently going to be more successful.

      Self-management of learning in practice

      There are several mechanisms for bringing the self-management of learning into a practical setting, especially in the learning context. Let’s take a look at the most used strategies.

      1. Self-assessment

      Through self-assessment, the student can approach the task, realize where he is, what resources he has and thus be able to develop a plan that will lead him to carry out learning.

      2. Pre-post comparison

      Pre-post comparison exercises are generally used, i.e. before and after the schooling process. In this way the student can conduct an introspection on own learning and become aware of the changes that have occurred within it and what knowledge he has incorporated or what he should try to reinforce.

      3. Thinking out loud

      Another strategy used for self-management of learning is try to actively verbalize the whole thought process that occurs in a student’s mind when trying to solve a particular task.

      4. Battery of questions

      It can also be suggested to the student that, faced with a new teaching material, he is the one who develops a series of questions to be solved. Being able to answer correctly means that the knowledge has been incorporated.

      5. Mutual education

      Another tactic used by some teachers is suggest that their students try to teach certain questions to their classmates themselves on the issue they are dealing with. Thanks to this, they will go through a self-management of learning which will then allow them to become teachers for other students.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Boekaerts, M. (1999). Self-Regulated Learning: Where We Are Today. International Journal of Educational Research. Elsevier.
      • Pintrich, PR (1995). Understanding self-regulated learning. New guidelines for teaching and learning. Wiley Online Library.
      • Winne, PH, Perry, NE (2000). Measure self-regulated learning. Self-regulation manual. Elsevier.
      • Zimmerman, BJ (1990). Self-regulated learning and academic success: an overview. School psychologist. Taylor and Francis.

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