Educational Technologies for Supporting Self-Regulated Learning in Online Learning Environments

Tapio Auvinen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Learning activities are increasingly performed in online learning environments. In higher education, courses often utilize a blended learning approach where some learning activities take place at the campus while others are performed online. On one hand, distance learning introduces challenges for students, because the lack of face-to-face guidance requires them to more independently regulate their own learning. On the other hand, the digitalization of learning environments introduces new opportunities for automating guidance. This thesis explores technologies for supporting self-regulated learning in online learning environments. The focus is on technologies that can be automated, do not require effort from the instructor and are scalable. We designed a study planning tool that utilizes a new kind of curriculum model which describes the connections between the learning goals of the courses as well as their connections to the high-level goals of the degree programs. Interactive visualizations show to students how the courses build on top of each other and what each course contributes to the goals that the student has selected. The visualizations aim to help students to evaluate the importance of the topics covered in each course for their personal goals. We also studied ways to automatically support students' self-monitoring of their study habits in online learning environments. Retrospective analysis of students' behavior revealed signs of some harmful study habits such as procrastination or misusing the automated assessment. We evaluated two interventions for improving students' awareness of their own behavior: achievement badges and visualizations. Achievement badges provided students with immaterial rewards for utilizing desired study practices such as submitting early or avoiding resubmissions, while the visualizations displayed to students their current behavior and what outcomes similar behavior has predicted in previous years. The methods were evaluated in controlled experiments in a university-level computer science course where students completed homework exercises online. Both the achievement badges and the visualizations improved some aspects of students' behavior. However, they had the strongest influence on students who were already high-performing. We also studied the relationship between students' achievement goal orientations and their responses to the interventions. Students with performance-approach orientation exhibited most interest towards the badges, while those with performance-avoidance orientation exhibited most interest towards the visualizations.
Translated title of the contributionOpetusteknologioita itsesäätöisen oppimisen tukemiseen verkko-oppimisympäristöissä
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Malmi, Lauri, Supervising Professor
  • Korhonen, Ari, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-6280-8
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-6281-5
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • educational technology
  • self-regulated learning
  • study planning
  • achievement badge
  • visualization
  • goal orientation
  • learning analytics


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