Motivational Regulation in SRL

Based on the SRL models mentioned above and other theoretical perspectives on SRL (e.g., Borkowski, 1996; Corno, 1989; McCombs, 1989; Paris & Byrnes, 1989; Thoresen & Mahoney, 1974), effective learning requires students to self-regulate their cognition, motivation, and behavior. All the three aspects of self-regulation are regarded as important components of SRL, but most research into self-regulation has focused on the nature and function of the cognitive and metacognitive strategies self-regulated learners use to acquire, integrate, and retrieve information (Pintrich, 1999a; Wolters, 1998). Unfortunately, however, students’ ability to regulate their motivation has not received the same level of attention.

Many of the tasks faced by students extend over time, and one of the prime characteristics of motivation is that it ebbs and flows. That is, regardless of goal orientation or self-efficacy, if a task extends over time, the reality is that one’s motivation fluctuates and one is constantly faced with multiple competing alternative activities. What do students do to protect the intention to learn? Under such circumstances, students need to adopt certain strategies to regulate their motivation to focus on the learning tasks. Motivational regulation is described as “those activities through which individuals purposefully act to initiate, maintain or supplement their willingness to start, to provide work towards, or to complete a particular activity or goal (i.e., their level of motivation)”(Wolters, 2003, p.190). Students try to achieve such regulation by intentionally regulating or controlling the processes of motivation that determine their willingness. All the thoughts, actions, or behaviors that students adopt to influence their choice, effort, or persistence are regarded as motivational regulation.

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