To survive and thrive in a world characterized by rapid economic, technological, and social change, we all need to be lifelong learners. The ability to learn effectively has a profound impact on an individual’s life. As one progresses through formal education and moves into adult life, it becomes increasingly essential that learners can learn independently and make good decisions about how to learn. This kind of behavior is often referred to as self-directed or self-regulated learning. Self-regulated learners are characterized by their ability to manage and optimize their own learning process, including the use of appropriate learning strategies.
Self-regulated learners … are capable of supporting their own learning processes by applying domain-appropriate learning strategies.
— Anouk Donker AD Anouk Donker and co-authors, Educational Research Review
outline four key things a learner needs to know or do to be an effective learner:and co-authors
- Cognition : Understand how learning works as a function of the brain’s ability to remember.
- Learning strategies : Using effective learning strategies that facilitate storage and retrieval of knowledge from memory.
- Metacognition : Awareness of the factors that affect one’s thinking and monitoring the learning process.
- Knowledge of pitfalls: Be aware of pitfalls like ineffective learning strategies , cognitive biases and common misconceptions about learning .
According to, self-regulated learning is not an ability, but a process that can be taught and learned. Unfortunately, few students in formal education are taught the relevant skills for self-regulated learning. Without the required knowledge and skills, it becomes difficult for individuals to select effective learning strategies that can supercharge their learning.
A typical characteristic of self-regulated learners is that they use learning strategies to enhance their learning.
— Hester de Boer HdB Hester de Boer and co-authors, Effective strategies for self-regulated learning