Self-regulated learning in virtual simulations



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Virtual simulations allow trainees to practice on their own. To effectively practice on their own, trainees should be able to self-regulate their learning. Even though there are claims that virtual simulations can foster self-regulated learning processes, there is no evidence to conclude that trainees are able to self-regulate their learning within these types of simulations as described within popular models of self-regulated learning (i.e., Zimmerman 2000, 2002, 2011; Pintrich, 2000, 2004). If trainees are not self-regulating their learning as specified by these models, it causes concern for the effectiveness of allowing trainees to practice on their own within virtual simulations. This study examined two questions: (a) Do learners self-regulate their learning within virtual simulations in accordance with the accepted models of self-regulated learning and (b) what model of self-regulated learning best fits the flow of self-regulated learning processes exhibited by the learners? The results indicated the following. First, participants self-regulated their learning. In other words, participants learned how to execute the tasks in the virtual simulation more efficiently and quickly, participants exhibited all of the self-regulated learning processes, and their learning was related to exhibiting these processes. Second, participants did not exhibit the self-regulated learning processes in the cyclical flow described by Zimmerman. Therefore, it seemed like the nature of self-regulation was dependent on the task. Taken together, these results provided some preliminary support that virtual simulations can be supplied to trainees for the purpose of self-learning.



Self-regulated learning, Simulations