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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 that 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

1) Use the concept of self-regulated learning and its associated 3-phase learning cycle to:

a)    Describe self-regulated learning in your own words

b)    Describe each of the three phases of the self-regulated learning cycle in your own words

c)    Identify common myths about learning

d)    Self-assess study habits and thinking

e)    Rate personal feelings towards a course

2) Use the concept of mindset to:

a)  Describe a growth and fixed mindset in your own words

b)  Identify growth and fixed mindset statements

c)  Transform fixed mindset statements into growth mindset statements 

d)  Construct strategies to deal with failure and build resiliency  (Note: this learning outcome is currently not addressed but will be added to the module)

3) Use goal-setting skills to:

a) Identify and construct SMART goals

b) Construct a personalized schedule for a university semester to achieve goals

c) Define and refine your priorities and use them to set your own goals for a course or personal endeavour

4) Use the concept of metacognition to:

a) Rate your current ability towards the course’s learning outcomes and provide an explanation for your rating

b) Identify resources and strategies that you will use to reach your goals

c) Explain to what extent the skills acquired from the module can be used in other settings

d) Apply skills from the Growth & Goals module to other courses and life challenges (Note: this learning outcome is currently not addressed but will be added to the module)

e) Describe the course’s intended learning outcomes in your own words (Note: this learning outcome is currently not addressed but will be added to the module)

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.