chair in university teaching: Growth and Goals

A Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) and Growth Mindset Module for post-secondary and beyond

A project to create and evaluate a Growth & Goals initiative

See the project's goals, initiative, and evaluation

Take a tour of the Self-Regulated Learning and Growth Mindset module

Self-regulated learning (SRL)

 The strategic control of thoughts, actions, and motivations to achieve personal goals and adaptively respond to environmental demands
  Zimmerman, 2008


In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.
Carol Dweck, in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success


Necessary skills

University students have to learn in many different formats [e.g., lecture, online, blended, flipped, labs] and manage many different course and life expectations [e.g., part-time jobs, clubs, sports, volunteer work, family].  To be successful, students need to know and continually monitor their learning plus develop autonomy and professional capacity skills; these are two Undergraduate Degree Level Expectations (UDLEs 5 and 6) and are components of SRL.  Currently, few programs, courses, and online resources address SRL skills. 

Theoretical framework: self-regulated learning (SRL)

I'll use an SRL model that involves stages of forethought, performance, and reflection (Zimmerman, Bonner, & Kovach, 1996; Zimmerman, 1990, 1998, 2000).  In the same way that athletes are taught to set goals, monitor their progress, and reflect on their performances (, 2015), academic SRL skills can be increased through educational interventions (Schunk & Ertmer, 2000; Zimmerman & Schunk, 2011).


An annual workshop will help students learn domain general SRL skills, according to the learning outcomes below.  These three-hour workshops will be free and available in French and English.  They will be held at the beginning of each academic year and will be multi-access in that students can participate in person or online.



The modules will target domain-specific SRL skills (i.e. , SRL skills that are specific to a course or discipline).  Students will work through the module throughout a course, with opportunities to set goals, plan, practice their skills, and reflect on their accomplishments.  In Year 2, six professors will pilot the modules in their courses.  In Year 3, all professors will be invited to incorporate this module in their course 

We will conduct a practical participatory evaluation (P-PE) to evaluate this initiative (Cousins & Whitmore, 1998; Cousins, 2013).  The goal of this P-PE is to involve key stakeholders in the evaluation's design, data collection, analysis, implementation and sharing of findings.  By conducting such an evaluation (as opposed to doing one from and outsider's perspective), the insights of the stakeholders will be used to drive the focus of inquiry, making the project more meaningful and useful.  I will work with uOttawa's Centre for Research on Educational and Community Services (CRECS) to facilitate the evaluation process.

Learn more about P-PEs from Professor Bradley Cousins:


Contributions to the university community

  1. Students: The two bilingual initiatives will help students gain knowledge and skills with an enhanced university experience.
  2. Capacity building for professors, evaluation committee members, student researchers.
  3. University community: participants in any part of the workshop will connect with other participants, building and enhancing university connections.
  4. uOttawa’s profile: project presentations and publications, social media presence, and project’s products (workshop and module will be freely available online through a Creative Commons license).

Getting Started with the module

To access the complete self-regulated learning and growth mindset module, check out the links below!

Complete online module (editable) CC-BY-NC-SA:

Module as students would see it:

You can sign up for email updates and/or participate in the project's evaluation here: