Improving Learning Outcomes with Self-regulation Prompts, 07-R9683

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Principal Investigator
Jenifer Wheeler

Inclusive Dates:  01/12/07 – Current

Background - Learning researchers have historically focused on discovering methods for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of learning outcomes during training. Self-regulation, which refers to students' ability to understand and control their learning by setting their own goals and monitoring their own learning, is a promising method for improving performance in various types of training programs. Web-based training (WBT) in particular requires a considerable degree of self-regulated cognitive engagement. To perform successfully, WBT students must be able to confront common learning hindrances (e.g., distractions in the study environment) and control their effect and cognition during the training. Despite this need, little work has been done to study the effects of self-regulation in WBT or to incorporate self-regulation into WBT.

SwRI is collaborating with the U.S. Air Force Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative to study the effects of self-regulation in WBT in a variety of domains. Specifically, the study will assess whether prompting self-regulation will increase on-task cognition and enhance performance across two WBT programs developed by SwRI: a military policy course for Randolph Air Force Base and a software maintenance course for Hill Air Force Base.

Approach - The project team is in the process of assigning representatives of the target audience to three groups. One group will receive self-regulation prompts throughout the entire course, one group will receive self-regulation prompts halfway through the course, and one group will not receive any self-regulation prompts. The performance of the three groups will be compared to determine the impact of self-regulation. ADL will use the results of the study to develop design recommendations for Department of Defense web-based courseware.

Accomplishments - The team has identified U.S. Air Force participants who are willing to provide courses for the study. The courses have been revised to include the self-regulation prompts and test questions that can be tracked in a learning management system. The next step will be to administer the courses to study participants and collect the data.

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