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Self-Regulated Learning Approaches in HE; Goal Setting as Conduit to Incremental Learning

December 12, 2018 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Photograph of Alex Forsythe


Undergraduates prize high-quality formative feedback (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). Often these same students lack the range of self-regulatory motivations and skills, including being able to integrate feedback messages (Winstone et al., 2017; 2016). Embedding these incremental gains within an adaptive self-regulatory approach is, therefore, a vital transferable skill. This seminar will report on an intervention to build self-regulatory behaviours and learning, through goal-setting theory and reflection techniques. The programme of research was designed to support pedagogical approaches and counter issues of common method variance (Richardson, Simmering & Sturman, 2009). Participants received individual summary reports reflecting an endorsement of strategies in each phase. Prompting self-reflection, norm-referenced debriefing was provided in subsequent lectures and related virtual tutorials were available supporting content delivery. In addition, students set three goals focussed on implementing messages from previously written feedback. Finally, students reflected on the use of these strategies as part of a module assessment. We sought to investigate whether training in self-regulatory processes, including goal setting, motivated strategies and reflection, increase promote gainful learning. Findings are discussed in relation to the SAGE model of feedback recipience (Winstone et al., 2017). The findings extend the tools that can be employed to promote agentic learning gain. This novel, scalable, approach placed students as active participants in reflecting on and developing their learning approaches. This has potential to be used widely across curricula supporting learning and valuable employability skills.


Alex Forsythe has been an educator and psychologist since 2003 and among her various accomplishments, she is Senior Lecturer at University of Liverpool, Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Chartered Occupational Psychologist and Head of Professional Certification for the Association of Business Psychology. This combination of expertise and experience is the foundation of the knowledge that Alex applies to identify opportunities and problem solve in innovative and creative ways. She is committed to see her initiatives through, with an infectious enthusiasm to motivate and encourage others to strive towards excellence.

These experiences have shaped Alex into a focused educator who understands the value of partnerships and networks, who strives to help students and academics develop as people and to stay the course. She continues to develop to advanced professional standing in areas relating to human performance and then applying those principles to better support and inform students, academics and organisations on how to manage their performance.
Her work in this area has attracted invited talks and papers. In addition to being Associate Editor Higher Education Pedagogies, Alex is Editor for the award-winning community of practice for psychological literacy, “PsychLiverpool”.