The development of self-regulated learning in programmatic assessment for learning: An exploratory study of the enablers and barriers

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Programmatic Assessment for Learning (PAL) “…is an approach in which the assessment process is inextricably embedded within the educational process, which is maximally information-rich, and which serves to steer and foster the learning of each individual student to the maximum of his/her ability” (Schuwirth & van der Vleuten, 2011). A major feature of PAL is the development of the student as a Self-Regulated Learner (SRL). Self-Regulated Learning “… is an active, constructive process whereby learners set goals for their learning and then attempt to monitor, regulate, and control their cognition, motivation, and behaviour, guided and constrained by their goals and the contextual features in the environment” (Pintrich, 2000, p. 453). PAL was implemented into the MD program at Flinders in 2017. As part of this approach, each MD student is paired with a Learning Coach with whom they meet at regular intervals throughout their four-year program. Part of the role of the Learning Coach is to support students to develop SRL capacity.

Early observations of students in the Flinders MD program suggest that students struggle to understand PAL and, particularly, what SRL means and how it can be developed and enacted in the context of their medical education. Pintrich has developed a Framework for classifying the different phases and areas of Self-Regulation (Pintrich, 2000, p454). Our research will classify the stages of development of our students as SRL and also to look at the barriers and enablers to developing as a Self-regulated learner. This is an area of research that has not been explored in medical education.

Additionally, anecdotal evidence suggests that many students struggle to develop as a SRL, suggesting that its development has the characteristics of a Threshold Concept (TC). TCs “… resemble passing through a portal, from which a new perspective opens up, allowing things formerly not perceived to come into view” (Meyer, Land & Baillie, 2010). TCs are a burgeoning area in education research, particularly in the area of medical education research. The number of articles about TCs has increased exponentially since it was first described in the early 2000s, with 10 published papers in health professions education in 2018 alone. Very little research has utilised TCs to understand SRL. Hence, this project will make an important contribution to the ways in which SRL is understood.

As this project is in progress, we will discuss our framework and understandings and the advances we have made.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2019
EventPrideaux Centre for Research in Health Professions Education Annual Symposium: Translating Educational Research into Practice in Health Professions Education - Tonsley Campus, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 26 Jul 201926 Jul 2019


ConferencePrideaux Centre for Research in Health Professions Education Annual Symposium


  • Self-regulated learning
  • Programmatic assessment
  • Coaching


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