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‘Flying the nest’: an analysis of the development of self-regulated learning during the transition to Higher Education

Rutherford, S. M. (2019) ‘Flying the nest’: an analysis of the development of self-regulated learning during the transition to Higher Education. EdD thesis, University of Reading

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The transition to University is challenging, and requires change from a teacher-centred (pedagogic) to student-centred (andragogic) learning environments. Fundamental to an effective transition is the capability for learners to be self-regulated. ‘Self-Regulated Learning’ requires coordinated academic skills and attributes that need to develop over time. A common perception across the HE sector is that students entering University lack ability as self-regulated learners. This study aims to evaluate the extent to which university students are self-regulated, and what factors promote or inhibit self-regulation. This study uses a qualitative methodology, to investigate the experiences of first year students. 24 first year undergraduate students, from science and humanities disciplines, were interviewed three times each, over the course of their first academic year. Interview data were analysed using Constructivist Grounded Theory and Situational Analysis. Findings suggest that the participants in the study had already developed extensive ‘Personal Learning Strategies’ before they arrived at University. Participants displayed clear characteristics of self-regulated learners, however their personal learning strategies needed to be adapted to align with the academic expectations of Higher Education. Development of effective self-regulation involved extensive interactions with a supportive ‘Personal Learning Network’ of other people. Transition to university also required the learner to learn the conventions of the social and academic communities in which they were embedded. Interactions with others and the discipline impacted upon the development of agentic identity. This study suggests that students need to be supported to adapt during the transition process, but do not require remedial support. The extent to which participants were agentic mediators of a range of different factors and social interactions suggests that self-regulation may be too restrictive a concept, and that ’Student-Mediated Learning’ might be more appropriate. Implications for learning and teaching practice, and the support of new students, are discussed.

Item Type:Thesis (EdD)
Thesis Supervisor:McCrum, E. and Flynn, N.
Thesis/Report Department:Institute of Education
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education
ID Code:85473
Uncontrolled Keywords:Self-regulated learning; Andragogy; Grounded Theory; Self-regulation; Peer-supported learning; Independent learning; Transition; Personal learning network; Identity


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