Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Faculty of Education


This study investigated how self-regulated learning strategies could support student transition in a problem-based learning context. Problem-based learning is a pedagogical approach in which the learner is responsible for identifying and addressing the gaps in their own knowledge. Research suggests that students often experience stress, uncertainty and use ineffective learning strategies when they are not supported to understand how to direct their own learning. This study sought to investigate the outcomes for learners when the development of self-regulated learning was supported in the early phases of a problem-based learning curriculum in higher education.

This study was underpinned by a social-cognitivist perspective with a focus of the contextual nature of self-regulated learning. It used a multiphase, mixed-methods research design, allowing for the use of quantitative and qualitative data to explore the context and inform the research over four phases of investigation. Different research questions were investigated in each phase of the research, which ultimately informed the over-arching research question: How can self-regulated learning strategies support students in a problem-based learning curriculum?

This study’s findings suggest that learners can demonstrate increases to cognitive and metacognitive functioning, as well as self-efficacy through engagement with a program to support self-regulated learning in problem-based learning. However, the researcher also found that there are significant challenges to encouraging all students to engage with such a program.

This study contributes to the knowledge of how learners can be supported during transition to student-directed learning environments in higher education. Further investigation could increase our awareness of how greater participation in such programs can be enhanced.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.