Self-regulated Learning Ability of Chinese Distance Learners Published:2015-11-09 15:13:50  Views:10

Authors: Zhao, H (Zhao, Hong); Chen, L (Chen, Li); Panda, S (Panda, Santosh)


Vol. 45, No. 5, 941-958, First Published on SEP 2014


This study reports on self-regulated learning (SRL) of Chinese distance learners by using a structured SRL scale. SRL of adult and lifelong learners is a well-researched area, though its application within distance education is a new area of investigation. Open and distance learning lean heavily on self-learning and self-learning resources, though interaction at designated learning centers and online learning platforms is occasionally offered. In China, there is still persistence of the age-old teacher-centric model of teaching-learning; and, within distance education offered largely by the radio and television universities, there is insistence for regular tuition classes at designated branch schools. At the backdrop of understanding and enhancing SRL of Chinese distance learners, the authors took up this research to find out the elements and levels of SRL ability among Chinese distance learners. Based on factor analysis (on 357 students for item analysis and on 600 distance learners for structural validity of the initial 117-item scale), a standardized 54-item Self-regulated Learning Ability Scale was finalized and administered on a random sample of 2738 undergraduate learners (1630 males and 1108 females) from the Open Distance Education Centre of Beijing Normal University, P. R. China, doing an online course during 2009-10. The sample came from either senior high school (grade 12) or junior college (grade 14). Data on four dimensions of SRL-planning, control, regulating and evaluation-were analyzed using 't' test for variables of gender, level of education and age. Results indicated that all the participants had above-average levels of SRL in all the four dimensions of planning, control, regulating and evaluation. In so far as gender was concerned, male distance learners were better in SRL than female distance learners, especially in control (ie, content and resources) and all the evaluation dimensions. Though no age difference was found, students from junior colleges had better planning, regulating and evaluating abilities than those who came from senior high schools. These results have been discussed in the context of current changes in Chinese distance/online education and also in relation to the age-old Chinese culture of learning. The results will also have implications for designing distance and online learning generally.

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