Reflection and Self-Regulation Using Monitoring Tools in Learning - Critical Design Exploration on Self-Monitoring During Independent Study

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Research units


This doctoral dissertation used a research-based design approach to explore the opportunities and challenges of using monitoring tools in learning. Although the practice of monitoring is considered key in the acquisition of important learning skills, such as self-regulation, monitoring tools are still an emerging technology in teaching and learning. While researchers and practitioners have started exploring how to use monitoring tools for teaching and learning, little attention has been dedicated to critical issues regarding the adoption of techno-monitoring practices in learning contexts, like the nature of data and the inferences that are made based on them, the role of students in learning, and the conception of learning and technology. This dissertation aims to address this research gap and provide an understanding of the issues related to the design of monitoring tools and the adoption of techno-monitoring practices in learning through a critical exploration of self-monitoring during independent study. To this end, the articles included in this dissertation elaborate on the values and socio-economic discourses that are embedded in the design of monitoring tools, on the issues related to the design process, and on the implications that monitoring tools have for learning. The research contributions of this dissertation include the introduction of a functional prototype (Feeler) that uses self-monitoring of brain activity in independent study situations, as well as the identification of several implications to take into consideration in the adoption and design of monitoring tools. The design of the prototype was informed by the participatory design and human-centered design traditions and allows students experience a hypothetical solution regarding the use of self-monitoring tools during independent study. This research builds on the analyses of students' reactions to the prototype, as well as on the findings from the research actions performed throughout the study to identify several implications for the design of monitoring tools. These implications are organised around a set of key themes, which consist in self-knowledge, agency-oriented technology, reflection and self-regulation, and are expected to guide the design of monitoring tools, as well as the adoption of techno-monitoring practices. This research points at data-privacy and design for autonomy in learning as sensitizing concepts in TEL design and research. The design principles presented in this dissertation are exemplified by the Feeler prototype in order to help practitioners and researchers understand how the empirical findings can be translated into actionable ideas when designing monitoring tools. Finally, this research should be regarded as an effort to introduce a humanistic perspective to the design of monitoring tools and the adoption of techno-monitoring practices in learning and a call for taking into consideration ethical aspects when analyzing the opportunities and challenges that monitoring tools pose to teaching and learning.


Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
Print ISBNs978-952-60-8244-8
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-8245-5
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

    Research areas

  • Monitoring Technology, Self-Monitoring, Reflection, Self-Regulation, Critical Design

ID: 31216029