Self-Regulatory Strategies of Students Enrolled in a Distance and Online Education Program in University

Louise Sauve, Racette Nicole, Cathia Papi, Serge Gérin-Lajoie, Guillaume Desjardins, Sophie Marineau

Mastering self-regulation strategies would seem to be essential in distance and online university studies since the workload is much greater and students need to be more independent and responsible for their own learning (Kizilcec, Pérez-Sanagustin, Maldonado, 2017; Han, Farruggia, Solomon, 2018). By self-regulation strategies, we mean the student’s mental activities aimed at creating favourable conditions for learning, including managing their concentration, motivation, time and tasks (Ruph, 2010). With the aim of identifying self-regulation strategies that have an impact on dropping out of an online program, an initial study of 1,060 students was conducted. Various analyses were carried out. The results indicate that at least 30% of students have difficulty setting and adhering to a study schedule and trouble getting down to work. They also have difficulty focusing on their course and maintaining attention and concentration. They generally feel tense or under pressure during their studies and afraid or worried when performing learning activities in a course. When they need help, they find it difficult to turn to other students and communicate with them in order to support their learning process. In addition, three respondent profiles were identified. They stand out in relation to strategies for task management, concentration and asking for help: 1) living alone, single and under 25 years old, 2) living with a common-law partner and 25 to 34 years old and 3) living with a spouse and children, 35 to 44 years old.