Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Communications and Multimedia


Faculty of Communications and Creative Industries

First Advisor

Ron Oliver


The constantly evolving world of work is causing a great deal of emphasis on the need for graduating students to demonstrate a range of generic skills to enable them to be both employable and able to adapt easily to new requirements. However, research indicates that secondary schooling is not preparing students adequately for learning independently.

This study sought to explore strategies for developing and supporting the metacognitive skills of higher education students. In particular, it sought to explore how university students' cognitive self-regulation could be supported in an on-line environment designed to engage them in the self-monitoring integral to metacognitive development. The field of selfregulation and metacognition was explored through a literature review leading to the articulation of an instructional model for metacognitive development. This model was used as the basis for the design of an on-line environment, Mark-UP, that had students annotate and transform text-based readings to engage them in the monitoring processes that are integral to metacognitive regulation within the domain of reading comprehension.

An inquiry was undertaken in the form of design-based research. A product was designed, developed, and trialed. The methodology, a form of action research, involved the exploration of two aims. One aim was narrow and focused on the usability of the product and the value subjects placed on it. The second aim sought to explore how the product engaged learners in monitoring their learning. There were 126 subjects participated in the research. Data was gathered in the forms of a questionnaire about subjects' self-perceptions as self-regulating and their attitudes to Mark-UP, interviews with 12 subjects, and subjects' portfolios of work developed as they used the product. Data was interpreted through a constant comparative approach to develop understandings about how subjects used the product and its value as an environment to promote the planning, monitoring, and evaluation within cognitive selfmonitoring. Findings revealed that Mark-UP was an effective means of engaging subjects in the processes of metacognitive planning, monitoring, and evaluation.

However, the experience of using Mark-UP was not the same for all subjects and differences were found in outcomes among the diverse range of subjects. The research provided the basis for the formulation of guidelines forfuture implementations of the product and for further research into metacognitive regulation. Some refinements to the interface of Mark-UP are proposed as well as suggestions for further exploration into the area of metacognitive regulation of learning are made.

Specifically Mark-UP was found to be most valuable for learners who are metacognitively moderate rather than those who might be weak or strong. The findings suggested that flexibility is needed to provide an adequate level of scaffolding for weaker learners while allowing metacognitively stronger students the opportunity to practice existing regulatory strategies. It was also found that the cyclical process of planning, monitoring, and evaluation is an ongoing one that requires learning environments to provide regular feedback to stimulate these processes.

The study found that the affective components of self-regulation are integral to the development of metacognitive regulation, leading to the conclusion that future environments to develop metacognition should incorporate elements to meet learners' needs with regard to self-concept, motivation, and the development of volitional strategies.

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