Self-regulated learning in healthcare profession education: Theoretical perspectives and research methods

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Researching Medical Education




Healthcare profession education; Information processing theory; Medical education researchers; Self-regulated learning; Social-cognitive theory; Social-constructivist theory


© 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. All rights reserved. This chapter introduces self-regulated learning (SRL) theory to medical education researchers, particularly those who might be interested in applying SRL frameworks to study and improve healthcare profession education. It first provides a broad definition of SRL, followed by a review of the common assumptions that underlie SRL theories. The chapter then discusses three influential frameworks and describes several research methods to explore SRL in various healthcare profession education contexts. Most models of SRL have in common several core features. First, most theories of SRL describe a self-oriented feedback loop composed of multiple processes and sub-processes. Second, SRL theories relates to motivation. Third, students have some type of goal, criterion or standard against which their academic progress can be compared. Three influential theoretical perspectives that represent the continuum from largely cognitive to largely social descriptions of SRL include: information processing/control theory, social-cognitive theory and social-constructivist theory.

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