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chair in university teaching: Growth and Goals

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

Growth and Goals Module

We have just updated the Growth & Goals module to our second version, based on feedback from stakeholders over the past year, especially learners—thank you!!!

You can head over to the module page to take a closer look or see an overview of the project below.

We can also help you integrate the module in your course. Click on this link to give us the information we need to get started.

A project to create and evaluate a Growth & Goals initiative

See the project's goals, initiative, and evaluation

Take a tour of our OER, the Growth & Goals online module.

Issues students face

University students have to learn in many different formats (e.g., lecture, online, blended, flipped, labs), often confront failure, 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 or explicitly help students take control of their learning.

Theoretical frameworks

Self-regulated learning (SRL), metacognition, growth mindset

Self-regulated learning (SRL)


We are using 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).

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

Zimmerman, 2008



Metacognition is a critical part of SRL and can be broken down into two parts: metacognitive knowledge (knowing what you know) and metacognitive control and regulation (deciding what to do for your learning). In order to help students become better self-regulated learners, we give them strategies to become more metacognitive. 

Growth Mindsets


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

Module’s learning outcomes

Coming soon

Project evaluation: practical participatory evaluation

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.