Self-Assessment and Self-Reflection to Measure and Improve Self-Regulated Learning in the Workplace

  • Mariëtte H. van LoonEmail author
Reference work entry


People’s self-monitoring of their learning has extensive impact on generating opportunities for professional development. Self-monitoring before, during, and after completing work-related tasks affects decision-making, learning behavior, strategy use, and learning motivation. When self-assessing, a person compares performance against some standard. When self-reflecting, a person makes in-depth judgments about the learning process, motivation, beliefs, plans, and outcomes. Engagement in self-monitoring is a prerequisite for professional development. However, in most work environments, there is only limited facilitation of self-monitoring activities. Opportunities for self-assessment and self-reflection may be scarce, because it is complex to define individualized competency standards that match the workplace reality. This chapter describes reasons why it is often challenging for workplace learners to self-monitor their professional development. Then, recommendations to implement and improve self-monitoring activities are described. Development of competencies and learning goals that clarify the needed knowledge, skills, and attitudes can improve self-assessment accuracy. Further, to self-monitor professional development, people should be trained to focus on predictive cues that give indications about actual progress. Because persons remain largely unaware of their biased self-monitoring, they need continued opportunities and repeated feedback. Moreover, to reflect on affective and motivational aspects of workplace-based learning, employees could use learning journals and questionnaires as support tools to evaluate practice and identify areas for development and feedback seeking. Importantly, to stay motivated to self-monitor learning, people need to be informed about the usefulness of metacognitive activities and obtain autonomy to design individual learning trajectories.


Self-monitoring Self-regulated learning Metacognition Self-assessment Self-reflection Workplace-based learning 



The author would like to thank Kevin Oehler and Niamh Oeri for their insightful comments and helpful discussions about the content of this chapter.


  1. Ackerman PL, Wolman SD (2007) Determinants and validity of self-estimates of abilities and self-concept measures. J Exp Psychol Appl 13:57. Scholar
  2. Ariel R, Dunlosky J, Bailey H (2009) Agenda-based regulation of study-time allocation: when agendas override item-based monitoring. J Exp Psychol-Gen 138:432–447. Scholar
  3. Beck RJ, Skinner WF, Schwabrow LA (2013) A study of sustainable assessment theory in higher education tutorials. Assess Eval High Educ 38:326–348. Scholar
  4. Benjamin AS, Bjork RA (1996) Retrieval fluency as a metacognitive index. In: Reder LM (ed) Implicit memory and metacognition: the 27th Carnegie symposium on cognition Erlbaum. Hillsdale, pp 309–338Google Scholar
  5. Bjork EL, Bjork RA (2011) Making things hard on yourself, but in a good way: creating desirable difficulties to enhance learning. In: Psychology and the real world: essays illustrating fundamental contributions to society, vol 2. pp 59–68Google Scholar
  6. Blanch-Hartigan D (2011) Medical students’ self-assessment of performance: results from three meta-analyses. Patient Educ Couns 84:3–9. Scholar
  7. Boekaerts M (1999) Self-regulated learning: where we are today. Int J Educ Res 31:445–457. Scholar
  8. Boud D (1995) Assessment and learning: contradictory or complementary assessment for learning in higher education. pp 35–48Google Scholar
  9. Boud D, Soler R (2016) Sustainable assessment revisited. Assess Eval High Educ 41:400–413. Scholar
  10. Boud D, Lawson R, Thompson DG (2013) Does student engagement in self-assessment calibrate their judgement over time? Assess Eval High Educ 38:941–956. Scholar
  11. Boud D, Lawson R, Thompson DG (2015) The calibration of student judgement through self-assessment: disruptive effects of assessment patterns. High Educ Res Dev 34:45–59. Scholar
  12. Brett JF, Van de Walle D (1999) Goal orientation and goal content as predictors of performance in a training program. J Appl Psychol 84:863CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bruin ABH, Dunlosky J, Cavalcanti RB (2017) Monitoring and regulation of learning in medical education: the need for predictive cues. Med Educ 51:575–584. Scholar
  14. Brunswik E (1956) Perception and the representative design of psychological experiments. University of California Press, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  15. Cleary TJ, Zimmerman BJ (2004) Self-regulation empowerment program: a school-based program to enhance self-regulated and self-motivated cycles of student learning. Psychol Sch 41:537–550. Scholar
  16. Davis DA, Mazmanian PE, Fordis M, Van Harrison R, Thorpe KE, Perrier L (2006) Accuracy of physician self-assessment compared with observed measures of competence. JAMA 296:1094–1102. Scholar
  17. Driessen E, Van Der Vleuten C, Schuwirth L, Van Tartwijk J, Vermunt JDHM (2005) The use of qualitative research criteria for portfolio assessment as an alternative to reliability evaluation: a case study. Med Educ 39:214–220. Scholar
  18. Dunlosky J, Rawson KA, Middleton EL (2005) What constrains the accuracy of metacomprehension judgments? Testing the transfer-appropriate-monitoring and accessibility hypotheses. J Mem Lang 52:551–565. Scholar
  19. Dunning D, Helzer EG (2014) Beyond the correlation coefficient in studies of self-assessment accuracy: commentary on Zell & Krizan (2014). Perspect Psychol Sci 9:126–130. Scholar
  20. Ehrlinger J, Dunning D (2003) How chronic self-views influence (and potentially mislead) estimates of performance. J Pers Soc Psychol 84:5. Scholar
  21. Ehrlinger J, Johnson K, Banner M, Dunning D, Kruger J (2008) Why the unskilled are unaware: further explorations of (absent) self-insight among the incompetent. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 105:98–121. Scholar
  22. Embo M, Driessen E, Valcke M, van der Vleuten CPM (2015) Integrating learning assessment and supervision in a competency framework for clinical workplace education. Nurse Educ Today 35:341–346. Scholar
  23. Eva KW, Regehr G (2005) Self-assessment in the health professions: a reformulation and research agenda. Acad Med 80:S46–S54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Eva KW, Regehr G (2007) Knowing when to look it up: a new conception of self-assessment ability. Acad Med 82:81–84. Scholar
  25. Fabriz S, Dignath-van Ewijk C, Poarch G, Büttner G (2014) Fostering self-monitoring of university students by means of a standardized learning journal – a longitudinal study with process analyses. Eur J Psychol Educ 29:239–255. Scholar
  26. Falchikov N, Boud D (1989) Student self-assessment in higher education: a meta-analysis. Rev Educ Res 59:395–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fastré GMJ, Van der Klink MR, Sluijsmans D, van Merriënboer JJG (2013) Towards an integrated model for developing sustainable assessment skills. Assess Eval High Educ 38:611–630. Scholar
  28. Flavell JH (1976) Metacognitive aspects of problem-solving. In: Resnick LB (ed) The nature of intelligence. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, pp 231–236Google Scholar
  29. Fontana RP, Milligan C, Littlejohn A, Margaryan A (2015) Measuring self-regulated learning in the workplace. Int J Train Dev 19:32–52. Scholar
  30. Freund PA, Kasten N (2012) How smart do you think you are? A meta-analysis on the validity of self-estimates of cognitive ability. Psychol Bull 138:296–321. Scholar
  31. Frith CD (2012) The role of metacognition in human social interactions. Philos Trans: Biol Sci 367:2213–2223. Scholar
  32. Gagné M, Deci EL (2005) Self-determination theory and work motivation. J Organ Behav 26:331–362. Scholar
  33. Gamrat C, Zimmerman HT, Dudek J, Peck K (2014) Personalized workplace learning: an exploratory study on digital badging within a teacher professional development program. Br J Educ Technol 45:1136–1148. Scholar
  34. Gawande A (2010) The checklist manifesto. Penguin Books, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  35. Gijbels D, Raemdonck I, Vervecken D (2010) Influencing work-related learning: the role of job characteristics and self-directed learning orientation in part-time vocational education. Vocat Learn 3:239–255. Scholar
  36. Gordon MJ (1991) A review of the validity and accuracy of self-assessments in health professions training. Acad Med 66:762–769CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Griffin TD, Wiley J, Thiede KW (2008) Individual differences, rereading, and self-explanation: concurrent processing and cue validity as constraints on metacomprehension accuracy. Mem Cogn 36:93–103. Scholar
  38. Guenther CL, Alicke MD (2010) Deconstructing the better-than-average effect. J Pers Soc Psychol 99:755. Scholar
  39. Harden RM (2007) Outcome-based education – the ostrich, the peacock and the beaver. Med Teach 29:666–671. Scholar
  40. Hattie J, Timperley H (2007) The power of feedback. Rev Educ Res 77:81–112. Scholar
  41. Kember D et al (2000) Development of a questionnaire to measure the level of reflective thinking. Assess Eval High Educ 25:381–395. Scholar
  42. Klein G (2007) Performing a project premortem. Harv Bus Rev 85:18–19Google Scholar
  43. Koriat A (1997) Monitoring one’s own knowledge during study: a cue-utilization approach to judgments of learning. J Exp Psychol Gen 126:349–370. Scholar
  44. Mabe PA, West SG (1982) Validity of self-evaluation of ability: a review and meta-analysis. J Appl Psychol 67:280. Scholar
  45. MacDonald J, Williams RG, Rogers DA (2003) Self-assessment in simulation-based surgical skills training. Am J Surg 185:319–322. Scholar
  46. Margaryan A, Littlejohn A, Milligan C (2013) Self-regulated learning in the workplace: strategies and factors in the attainment of learning goals. Int J Train Dev 17:245–259. Scholar
  47. Mengelkamp C, Bannert M (2010) Accuracy of confidence judgments: stability and generality in the learning process and predictive validity for learning outcome. Mem Cogn 38:441–451. Scholar
  48. Metcalfe J, Kornell N (2005) A region of proximal learning model of study time allocation. J Mem Lang 52:463–477. Scholar
  49. Nelson TO, Narens L (1990) Metamemory: a theoretical framework and new findings. Psychol Learn Motiv 26:125–141. Scholar
  50. Panadero E, Romero M (2014) To rubric or not to rubric? The effects of self-assessment on self-regulation, performance and self-efficacy. Assess Educ Princ Policy Pract 21:133–148. Scholar
  51. Panadero E, Brown GTL, Strijbos J-W (2016a) The future of student self-assessment: a review of known unknowns and potential directions. Educ Psychol Rev 28:803–830. Scholar
  52. Panadero E, Klug J, Järvelä S (2016b) Third wave of measurement in the self-regulated learning field: when measurement and intervention come hand in hand. Scand J Educ Res 60:723–735. Scholar
  53. Panadero E, Jonsson A, Botella J (2017) Effects of self-assessment on self-regulated learning and self-efficacy: four meta-analyses. Educ Res Rev 22:74–98. Scholar
  54. Pronin E (2008) How we see ourselves and how we see others. Science 320:1177–1180. Scholar
  55. Raemdonck I, de Grip A, Segers M, Thijssen J, Valcke M (2008) Zelfsturing in leren en loopbaan als predictoren van employability bij laaggeschoolde werknemers. Gedrag Organisatie 21:386–405Google Scholar
  56. Rawson KA, Dunlosky J (2002) Are performance predictions for text based on ease of processing? J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn 28:69–80. Scholar
  57. Rich PR, Van Loon MH, Dunlosky J, Zaragoza MS (2017) Belief in corrective feedback for common misconceptions: implications for knowledge revision. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn 43:492–501. Scholar
  58. Roediger HL, Pyc MA (2012) Inexpensive techniques to improve education: applying cognitive psychology to enhance educational practice. J Appl Res Mem Cogn 1:242–248. Scholar
  59. Ryan RM, Deci EL (2017) Self-determination theory. Basic psychological needs in motivation, development and wellness. The Guilford Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  60. Sadler DR (1989) Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems. Instr Sci 18:119–144. Scholar
  61. Schmitz B, Wiese BS (2006) New perspectives for the evaluation of training sessions in self-regulated learning: time-series analyses of diary data. Contemp Educ Psychol 31:64–96. Scholar
  62. Sitzmann T, Ely K, Brown KG, Bauer KN (2010) Self-assessment of knowledge: a cognitive learning or affective measure? Acad Manag Learn Educ 9:169–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Van der Zwet J, De la Croix A, De Jonge LP, Stalmeijer RE, Scherpbier AJ, Teunissen PW (2014) The power of questions: a discourse analysis about doctor – student interaction. Med Educ 48:806–819CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Van Eekelen IM, Boshuizen HPA, Vermunt JD (2005) Self-regulation in higher education teacher learning. High Educ 50:447–471. Scholar
  65. Van Loon MH, Van de Wiel MWJ (2015) Self-assessment is a complex task for medical residents: relations between goal orientations, reflection, self-assessment accuracy, and performance. Paper presented at the conference of the American Educational Research Association AERA, Chicago, USA, 16–20 AprilGoogle Scholar
  66. Van Loon MH, de Bruin ABH, van Gog T, van Merrienboer JJG (2013) Activation of inaccurate prior knowledge affects primary-school students’ metacognitive judgments and calibration. Learn Instr 24:15–25. Scholar
  67. Zell E, Krizan Z (2014) Do people have insight into their abilities? A metasynthesis. Perspect Psychol Sci 9:111–125. Scholar
  68. Zimmerman BJ (2000) Self-efficacy: an essential motive to learn. Contemp Educ Psychol 25:82–91. Scholar
  69. Zimmerman BJ (2008) Investigating self-regulation and motivation: historical background, methodological developments, and future prospects. Am Educ Res J 45:166–183. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Developmental Psychology and Swiss Graduate School for Cognition, Learning, and MemoryUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Esther Winther

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations