Self-regulatory skills can be defined as the ability of children to manage their own behaviour and aspects of their learning. They are related to meta-cognitive skills and knowledge and are sometimes referred to as executive function. In the early years, relevant activities usually involve supporting children to develop strategies to manage their own behaviour, particularly in relation to their learning, such as by planning what they are going to do, then reviewing their performance as well as exploring different ways they can try to be successful, so as to develop their learning strategies. For younger children the focus is often on managing impulsiveness and their behaviour towards other children.
The evidence in the early years is currently limited. There is one meta-analysis with a subgroup analysis (containing only 9 studies) of Kindergarten pupils. Intervention studies tend to be small-scale and weak on causal inference. Although there is research investigating the relationship between self-regulation strategies and learning, the experimental evidence does not provide a clear picture about which elements or activities improve children’s learning. By contrast the evidence about older children is much stronger. Overall, self-regulatory approaches are a promising area to support very young learners, but in need of more rigorous research.
Additional Cost Information
Costs are estimated as very low. There are few, if any, direct financial costs associated with this approach. However, high-quality professional development is likely to enhance the benefits on learning. Additional resources such as books or other resources such as puppets for discussion may also be required. Approaches to support individual children will be more expensive, particularly if expert professional support is used, such as from an education psychologist.
Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 6(3), 433-455
Summary of effects
FSM effect size
Klauer, K. J., & Phye, G. D., (2008)
FSM effect size
Barnett, W. S., Jung, K., Yarosz, D. J., Thomas, J., Hornbeck, A., Stechuk, R., & Burns, S. (2008)
Bierman, K. L., Nix, R. L., Greenberg, M. T., Blair, C., & Domitrovich, C. E. (2008)
Blair, C., & Raver, C. C. (2014)
Flook, L., Goldberg, S. B., Pinger, L., & Davidson, R. J. (2015)
Ford, R. M., McDougall, S. J., & Evans, D. (2009)
Hong, S. Y., & Diamond, K. E. (2012)
Effect size (median)
The right hand column provides detail on the specific outcome measures or, if in brackets, details of the intervention or control group.
Klauer, K. J., & Phye, G. D. (2008)
Researchers have examined inductive reasoning to identify different cognitive processes when participants deal with inductive problems. This article presents a prescriptive theory of inductive reasoning that identifies cognitive processing using a procedural strategy for making comparisons. It is hypothesized that training in the use of the procedural inductive reasoning strategy will improve cognitive functioning in terms of (a) increased fluid intelligence performance and (b) better academic learning of classroom subject matter.
The review and meta-analysis summarizes the results of 74 training experiments with nearly 3,600 children. Both hypotheses are confirmed. Further, two moderating effects were observed: Training effects on intelligence test performance increased over time, and positive problem solving transfer to academic learning is greater than transfer to intelligence test performance.
The results cannot be explained by placebo or test-coaching effects. It is concluded that the proposed strategy is theoretically and educationally promising and that children of a broad age range and intellectual capacity benefit with such training.