The relationship of self-regulated learning and academic performance in an online course environment.

Colorado, Jozenia T., Ph.D., The University of Kansas, 2006.


This study was designed to evaluate how individual learner differences relate to one's achievement level in the online environment. This study focused on student characteristics such as student entry characteristics as well as student use of learning strategies, or self-regulated learning, as factors that contribute to positive academic performance in an online course.

Understanding the role of learner differences in the online learning environment will assist institutions to make decisions regarding online programs. These decisions go beyond the initial question of whether to invest in online programs or whether to increase or decrease online course availability. Understanding the role of learner differences in the online learning environment will also help institutions understand what resources need to be allocated toward support of online learning programs in the form of online advising and technical support for students, course development support for faculty, and investing in learning management software or collaboration software.

Data was gathered using the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). Many studies have used this instrument to study self-regulated learning characteristics of students in traditional face-to-face courses (Pintrich & DeGroot, 1990; Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1990). In addition demographic variable data were also collected from participants. Participants included graduate students enrolled in online courses at a midwestern university during the Spring 2005 and Summer 2005 semesters.

This data was analyzed for relationships among student entry characteristics, self-regulated learning characteristics, and academic performance. Results indicated there were no significant relationships between student entry characteristics and academic performance and no significant relationships between self-regulated learning characteristics and academic performance. There were significant relationships found between student entry characteristics and self-regulated learning characteristics.

Implications and recommendations related to these results were discussed. It was determined that results were inconclusive. Due to low variance of the final course grade scores, the study should be replicated using an expanded sample including undergraduate and K-12 online students.