Knowledge vs. Action: Discrepancies in University Students' Knowledge about and Self-Reported Use of Self-Regulated Learning Strategies
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AbstractUniversity students are supposed to be autonomous learners, able to adapt to an educational environment significantly less guided than school. Entering higher education poses a challenge of self-regulation, in which beginning students are often not prepared with self-regulation strategies needed. Since there are many studies assessing self-regulated learning (SRL) via classical self-reports, we know a lot about how students generally self-assess their SRL strategies. However, SRL and performance do not always correlate highly in these studies. The aim of the present study is to determine whether there are discrepancies between students' knowledge about SRL and their action in applying adequate SRL strategies in relevant learning situations. We also want to know whether such discrepancies generalize across domains and what the reasons for discrepancies are. The situation-specific Self-Regulated Learning Questionnaire for Action and Knowledge (SRL-QuAK) was used in a sample of 408 psychology and economic sciences students. Descriptive data analysis was conducted to determine potential discrepancies between SRL knowledge and action and differences between the study domains in an explorative way. The reasons for not using SRL-strategies were derived via qualitative content analysis. The results showed that although students had quite advanced knowledge of SRL strategies, they did not put this knowledge into action. This dissonance between SRL knowledge and action was found in both domains. In terms of reasons, students stated that they (a) lacked the time to use SRL strategies, (b) would not benefit from SRL strategies in the given situation, (c) would not be able to put the strategies to use effectively or (d) found it too arduous to use SRL strategies. The implications of these results will be discussed, e.g., the consequences for measures to overcome students' dissonance between knowledge and action and therefore to promote academic performance and well-being.