The second half of CECS 5210 has been a bit less structured. Although the class schedule lists tasks for each week, no major assignments are due each week to ensure that my classmates and I are on track for having the final project finished by the end of the semester. As a result, we are having to self-regulate more.

Online graduate courses, in general, require self-regulated learning. There is no instructor (and no parent) checking in with you every day or even every week to ensure that you are doing what you are supposed to be doing. That job is yours alone. You are paying a hefty sum to take a course and learn, and if you do not want to waste the money, you must plan your own learning schedule, monitor your learning, and evaluate whether learning is taking place. If learning isn’t taking place, it is up to you to change your strategy and seek help when necessary. Only then can goals and objectives be met.

Communication is essential during self-regulated learning. You must communicate with yourself and really think about where you are, where you need to be, and how to get there. You must convince yourself to sit down at a computer after work to make progress on a class project, even though you would like nothing more than to plop down on a couch and watch television. You have to convince yourself to curl up with an article for class instead of a fictional novel. And if an assignment doesn’t make sense, self-regulated learners need to communicate with peers and instructors to get clarification. Open communication lines (e.g., checking and responding to email regularly and in a timely manner, taking time to reflect) and an organized approach facilitate communication, whereas unavailability and inconsistent, unorganized, incoherent directions impede communication and cause frustration.

As instructional designers and educators, we likely have a knack for self-regulated learning. We know what it takes to make something stick and we have the motivation to do what it takes. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be where we are today.  As Daniel Pink so eloquently summarizes in his talk at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), “there are three factors that the science shows lead to the better performance, not to mention personal satisfaction: autonomy, mastery and purpose.” CECS 5210 is giving us the autonomy and purpose to solve the real-life problem of a real-life client so that we can gain the mastery to solve instructional problems more efficiently and effectively.  I’m loving it!


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