The Self-Regulated Learning of Younger Adolescents with and without Learning Difficulties – A Comparative Multiple Case Study
Well-developed self-regulated learning is the key to enabling learners to achieve both their educational goals and wider personal development. However, this can be especially challenging for adolescents with learning difficulties, because of the neuropsychological and neurophysiological characteristics of such individuals, as well as the significant disparities they tend to experience between the effort put into learning on the one hand, and the resulting learning achievements on the other. In the current comparative multiple case study, we researched the self-regulated learning of three younger adolescents with learning difficulties and that of one younger adolescent without learning difficulties. The data were subjected to triangulation methods and qualitative analysis, with the results showing that the younger adolescents with learning difficulties mainly used cognitive rehearsal strategies, while the organisational and elaboration strategies were used only with the aid of the available social resources. The results also show that metacognitive strategies with regard to planning, assessment, and self-regulation were not yet fully developed in the participants with learning difficulties. Two of the three younger adolescents with learning difficulties show several signs of defensive pessimism and learned helplessness. All the adolescents participating in this case study received support and help in their home environments and developed suitable self-encouragement and self-rewarding strategies through perceptions of their own success in their free-time activities. The participating teachers did not fully identify the strong areas and performance factors in the younger adolescents, both with and without learning difficulties. The results obtained from this case study might contribute to developing more efficient special-educational intervention approaches.
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