Students’ regulation of learning in collaborative inquiry science activities

Creative Commons License

Uçan S.

BERA Annual Conference 2011, London, United Kingdom, 5 - 09 September 2011, pp.336

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: London
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Page Numbers: pp.336


Effective collaboration and social interactions among students are considered critically important for the success of inquiry science learning (Bell et al. 2009; Sampson & Clark, 2008). In inquiry science learning activities, students often explore scientific phenomena and collaborate in small groups in which they are encouraged to present and justify ideas, challenge and debate each other's viewpoints, and create new joint scientific understanding. However, in spite of its benefits, previous studies indicate that collaborative learning challenges students cognitively, emotionally and motivationally, which entails them to regulate their individual, as well as, joint learning processes (Dillenbourg et al. 2009; Jarvela et al. 2010). For example, students need to engage in metacognitive regulation processes in order to reflect on or reconsider their ideas, explore and understand each other's perspectives, and monitor and negotiate their mutual understanding. Moreover, in order to overcome challenging situations during collaboration, students also need to regulate their motivational and emotional states for maintaining meaningful engagement in the learning process and effective interactions within the group. In harmony with the increasing consensus on considering regulation of learning as both an individual and a social process in collaborative learning situations (Iiskala et al., 2010; Volet et al., 2009), this study aims to examine if and how primary school students regulate their own and shared learning processes and how group interactions influence these processes during collaborative inquiry science learning. Two groups of three Turkish primary students (7th grade) were observed and videoed during small group inquiry science activities in one classroom over an eight-week period. Students' verbal and non-verbal interactions within the group were analysed by using a coding framework developed from self-regulated learning literature and refined during data analysis. Stimulated-recall group interviews were also conducted in order to capture students' reflections on their specific actions. Preliminary results showed that group dynamics, structure and history had significant effects on students' regulation of metacognitive, emotional and motivational processes at both individual and social level when collaborating in small groups. Socially-shared metacognitive processes were found to facilitate students' regulation of emotional and motivational experiences within the group, while failure of the emotional and motivational regulation was identified as hindering the emergence of socially-shared metacognitive processes. Moreover, findings also indicate that individual regulation of emotional and motivational experiences may not be enough to sustain fruitful engagement within the group, but also may have a potential to create further socio-emotionally challenging situations.