Professor Roger AzevedoProfessor Roger Azevedo is a Fulbright Specialist Scholar from the University of Central Florida. His research looks into how we learn from different technologies, from how children and adults learn science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, right through to how cancer researchers are engaging with new technologies to better diagnose cancers. He is a collaborator of the Centre for Change and Complexity in Learning at UniSA.

Focus on self-regulated learning

Self-regulation is an important area of research in education and one of the key topics being investigated at C3L. Studies show that self-regulated learning (SRL) has a positive and long-lasting impact on students’ academic development, employability, and career progression. Schools and universities are challenged to develop these skills in students. While specific models designed to foster SRL vary based on the ages of learners, they generally involve processes linked to the control of attention and executive functions, socio-emotional functioning, meta-cognition, and motivation. These skills are essential for graduates entering an environment of constant economic, social and technological change, yet they are not generally addressed by conventional courses.

As universities use technology mediated learning (e.g. online and blended) there is a shift in how students can both develop and demonstrate these key SRL processes. For example, these processes might include the ability to work in groups online, identify social and emotional cues, identify and fulfil personal learning goals, self-assess and redirect learning effort, monitor and regulate strategy use, engage in emotional regulation, change motivational beliefs performance, and communicate with impact.

Learning analytics is a promising approach to understand the development of SRL and establish empirical measures for assessing the impact of interventions designed to promote SRL skills. There is a potential for measuring SRL processes through the use of automated (e.g. verbalizations, eye tracking, facial recognition, log-files, physiological sensors) and personalized feedback mechanisms.

Professor Azevedo’s research in collaboration with C3L aims to develop an integrated approach that will enable teachers to align their teaching practices to promote the student’s development SRL skills and mindsets.

Advanced learning technologies

Student learning onlineIntelligent tutoring systems, hypermedia, multimedia, simulations, serious games and immersive virtual learning environments are increasingly part of both formal and informal teaching and learning environments. While Professor Azevedo understands the challenges that artificial intelligence and the immersion of robots may present to our learning lives, he believes robots will become our collaborators and learning companions, delivering great benefits to education.

 

Implications for teaching

Teachers have the ability to help their students develop SRL skills but it requires explicit instruction. Across the three main phases of student SRL (planning, performance and self-reflection), teachers can support students through a number of means:

  • Planning: help students analyse the task, set goals and plan.
  • Performance: model and give students strategies for learning, help them monitor the effectiveness of these strategies and help them with time management.
  • Self-reflection: help the students assess their performance (e.g. SRL skill use) on how the learning task went. Did they plan and strategize well? How will they modify their SRL in subsequent task performance?

Digital tools can be used to support the development of SRL skills. UniSA developed and trialled software called OnTask, which gathers and assesses data about students’ activities in online courses, and provides individualised feedback about their overall learning process and self-regulation effort.

C3L visit and plans for continued collaboration

Professor Azevedo visited C3L in May and June 2019. During his stay, he delivered a university-wide research talk on SRL and advanced learning technologies. He conducted two workshops for researchers, faculty, high school administrators and learning and instructional designers. With a focus on classrooms, on-line teaching and learning technology-based environments, Professor Azevedo demonstrated how to detect, measure and foster cognitive, affective, metacognitive and motivational processes. Following his visit at UniSA, Professor Azevedo will keep collaborating with researchers from C3L on projects focusing on SRL, metacognition and learning analytics.

Interview with Professor George Siemens

UniSA Video

In this interview, Professor Azevedo discusses self-regulating learning, metacognition, the role of technology in education and how teachers can help their students develop SRL skills.