Elementary students' self-regulation in computer-based learning environments: how do self-report measures, observations and teacher rating relate to task performance?

Jodie Torrington*, Matt Bower, Emma C. Burns

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


It is well-established that being a self-regulated learner is beneficial academically, motivationally and is considered essential for productive life-long learning. Despite this, there is limited evidence examining how different measures of self-regulation for learning (SRL) relate to task performance for young students learning in digital contexts. This study investigated the relationships between different measures of SRL of elementary school students (N = 48, Mage = 10.75) while using a computer-based learning environment, and their association with task performance and teacher rating of student SRL ability. Results confirmed the most effective measure of SRL, in terms of its relationship with, and predictability of task performance, was a self-report written response, whereby students identified and explained known SRL strategies, such as how to plan, monitor or complete their work. Teacher ratings of their students' metacognitive capability were significantly correlated with task performance and with two self-report instruments: the Junior Metacognitive Awareness Inventory and the SRL written response. Associations between actual observed self-regulation behaviours in a computer-based learning environment, using Azevedo et al.'s coding framework and how students self-reported their knowledge and understanding about SRL, were weak. Observations of young students' SRL behaviours in computer-based learning environments were not significantly related to task performance. Better understanding of these relationships will help educators and researchers to know where they should focus their attention in terms of developing elementary school students' self-regulatory capabilities in digital contexts, as well as the reliability of self-report measures of SRL as relative to observations of self-regulation and task performance. Implications for teacher practice are also discussed. Practitioner notes What is already known about this topic Students need to use self-regulation for learning (SRL) strategies in digital contexts. Self-regulation strategies need to be explicitly taught to students as they are not guaranteed to become automatically acquired. Being a self-regulated learner leads to improved academic performance, engagement and motivation. What this paper adds Empirical evidence addressing the associations and patterns between various measures of SRL for young students learning in digital environments. Student self-report explanations of known SRL strategies was the only significant predictor of student task performance. Coding of young students' SRL behaviours in digital environments do not relate well to task performance. Implications for practice and/or policy Understanding the associations between young students' self-report of SRL and how this relates to their actual SRL behaviour while using digital technology is critical to supporting student learning and success. Learning to better articulate self-regulation strategies may result in greater consciousness and application of self-regulation strategies in digital contexts, which in turn could improve task performance. Eliciting explanations from students about SRL strategies may be more informative and expedient than conducting and analysing individual observations in digital contexts, to determine the general self-regulatory knowledge and understanding of young students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-258
Number of pages28
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Technology
Issue number1
Early online date26 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • elementary education
  • hypermedia
  • online learning
  • self-regulated learning
  • SRL measurement


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