Metacognition Within the Zone of Regulatory Development: Investigating the Dialectics Between Self- and Socio-Regulation in Traditional and Online Communities

Project Number
OER 19/09 DH

Project Duration
October 2009 - October 2012


The concept of communities of practice has intrigued educators in the last decade since Lave and Wenger (1991) popularized it. More recently this powerful social phenomenon can be witnessed in online communities. From our earlier studies (Hung et al., in press) we posit a construct of socio-regulation, which we hold in contrast to self-regulation. We put forward the argument that social contexts and communities have the capacity to regulate themselves through the individual contributions enacted by their respective members. In the phenomena of Web 2.0 communities and virtual worlds, the collective phenomena which emerge are more than the aggregated constituent social networkings and interactions occurring in situ. In particular, present-day youth are engaging in such socio-regulatory phenomena where relationships and social interactions usually occur in peer-to-peer co-determined and co-evolutionary ways between the collective and individual interactions. This study aims to explicate the interplays between these two levels of analysis and characterize the learning principles (as emergent properties) at both the individual and community levels. We theorize a Zone of Regulatory Development (ZRD) which learners undergo as the dialectic between self- and socio-regulation. Central to this dialectic is the need for metacognition as learners manage these interactions. The contributions of this study are thus twofold. First, it aims to develop a learning theory for explaining how learners self-regulate their performative actions in relation to their metacognitive decisions; and second, the study hopes to develop a new theory of socio-regulation where the unit of analysis is 'collective' rather than individual. Two case studies will be adopted to analyze this phenomenon, one being a community which meets face-to-face regularly, and the other a largely online one. Comparisons will be made on these two cases, and pedagogical and learning design principles will be explicated relating to the ZRD. The ZRD will be potentially useful to educators as a framework for developing metacognition in learners in the context of communities of learning and / or communities of practice.

Research Themes
Learning Science & Pedagogy

Funding Source

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ReEd Vol 2: Bridging Formal and Informal Learning

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