Self-Regulated Learning (SRL):
A Design Theory for Classroom Instruction

Note: The theory overview presented here is all but directly quoted from Dr. Reigeluth's summary. Only minor edits have been made by me for my own clarity. (see bottom of page for full citation)


Lyn Corno & Judi Randi (Teacher's College, Columbia University)

[back to top]

Goals & Preconditions

  • The primary goal of this theory is to foster self-regulated learning among students and teachers. This includes developing teachers' potential as innovators, problem solvers, and experiential learners. The major preconditions are a situation where self-regulated learning is an important goal and there is sufficient time to develop self-regulatory skills in the learners.

[back to top]


  • Student self-regulated learning, both as an end and as a means to support improved subject-matter competence
  • Supporting students' pursuit of learning goals
  • Teacher self-regulation, to develop their own models for teaching self-regulated learning to their students.
  • Contextualized professional development that focuses on teachers' skills for inquiry and inventing new instructional practices
  • Linking research and practice. methods.

[back to top]


For a teacher:

- Collaborate with a researcher to generate appropriate methods and foster your own self-regulated learning.
- Structure the classroom for self-regulated learning.

  • Refocus the evaluation system to emphasize qualitative aspects of student work, rather than ranking students by "grades," especially in the early stages of learning new skills.
  • Encourage students to set criteria and select assignments.

- Prime the students.

  • Prepare the students for reflective self-evaluations and peer evaluations.
  • Provide explicit instruction in planning, self-monitoring, and resource management
  • Teach them how to seek help when they need it.

- Provide ample opportunities for students to engage m self-regulated learning
and to feel successful.

  • For students who need it, provide explicit instruction and labeling of self-regulatory strategies from the beginning. For all other students, model and label self-regulatory learning strategies only in response to students' own efforts.
  • Have students inductively identify self-regulatory strategies in meaningful I literature and students' own life experiences (through group discussion and class presentation).
  • Have students experience SRL vicariously, and suggest SRL strategies for others, before they articulate and develop their own SRL strategies (e.g., in- vent self-regulatory strategies for characters in literature before they write about personal experiences).
  • Have students write essays about their own self-regulatory experiences" then analyze their own essays for evidence of strategy use.
  • Encourage students to select homework partners who share perspectives and practice articulating SRL habits.
  • Provide qualitative feedback on students 'work that models SRL strategies.
  • Continually assess students' readiness and adjust instruction to support students who need it and stretch others.
  • Design the culminating assignment in a way that allows each student to incorporate something s/he is dealing with in life.

For a researcher:

- Encourage teachers to engage in self-regulated learning about their teaching

  • Use the cycle of planning, enacting, and reflecting on their lessons.
  • Expose teachers to various teaching methods (models of instruction).
  • Help teachers adapt those methods to their classrooms.
  • Help teachers invent new instructional methods.
  • Help teachers evaluate their new instructional methods, with students as the focus.
  • Encourage teachers to articulate what they learned and how, to bring teachers' own self-regulatory strategy use to a conscious level!
  • Help teachers to reconcile their new teaching methods with "old" ones.
  • Encourage trust, experimentation, and problem-solving.

- Approach research with teachers as an opportunity for collaboration and shared expertise.

  • Use work with teachers to develop new modes of data collection and new ways of evaluating instructional effects.
  • Use collaborative research and new modes of data collection to contribute to the knowledge base on SRL

[back to top]

Major Contributions

  • This design theory emphasises self-regulated learning and how to foster it. It also provides ways of fostering appropriate teacher development to use the approach effectively with students.

Additional Resources


Note: The theory overview presented here is all but directly quoted from Dr. Reigeluth's summary. Only minor edits have been made by me for my own clarity. (see bottom of page for full citation)

Source: Corno, L. & Randi, J. (1999). A Design for Classroom Instruction in Self-Regulated Learning.. Ch 13 In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional-Design Theories and Models: A New Paradigm of Instructional Theory, vol. II. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Knowledge Base Home | Joel Galbraith's Home

Page last modified: Friday, April 30, 2004