Kaplan - Ed Psych Review

Clarifying Metacognition, Self-Regulation, and Self-Regulated Learning: What’s the Purpose?

Educational Psychology Review

Avi Kaplan

In this commentary on the special issue, I join the authors in searching for a conceptual framework that would clarify the concepts of metacognition, self-regulation, and self-regulated learning. Building on the insights of the different articles, I suggest that metacognition, self-regulation, and self-regulated learning should be considered as subtypes of the general, abstract, phenomenon of self-regulated action. I continue by questioning the benefit of seeking boundaries between these three concepts. Instead, I propose to search for dimensions along which types of self-regulated action vary. I, then, introduce the notion of a “multidimensional conceptual space of self-regulated action” as a conceptual tool that allows for diversity of conceptions of self-regulated action while maintaining conceptual clarity. I conclude by highlighting the central role of purpose of engagement in self-regulated action and by noting its potential for guiding the search for meaningful dimensions on which to typify self-regulation.