Introductory part of the article justifies the problem of procrastination when learners experience cognitive difficulties in completing their learning tasks in time because of the deficit of learning strategies and insufficient external support from the University. It addresses the amplifying reciprocal relation between procrastination and the achievement of learning goals perceived by students.
After justifying the research problem, the previous studies on procrastination and self-regulated learning strategies are reviewed in the introduction. It is proved by the previous researches that non-optimal application of deep and surface learning strategies by students adds to to self-reported procrastination. The next important aspect analyzed in this research is the perceived self-efficacy. It is assumed that self-efficacy is negatively related to procrastination and predicts academic achievement while the academic achievement predicts perceived self-efficacy. Consequently, the perception of low academic achievement may result in negative feelings like disappointment and reciprocally amplify procrastination that leads to motivational feedback loops in self-regulated learning. These motivational loops can be investigated through growth curve in hierarchical linear modeling that enables meeting the preconditions for testing current research needs.
Further, the introduction presents the present study overview, research questions, and hypotheses. Overview states that this longitudinal empirical study aims at investigating reciprocally amplifying motivational feedback loops in self-regulated learning. Three research hypotheses were set for the study: 1) There is a feedback loop between procrastination and perceived goal achievement; 2) There is an amplifying feedback loop between self-efficacy and perceived goal achievement; 3) These motivational feedback loops are interrelated.
The final part of the introduction validates self-repot data. It was analyzed how self-perceived procrastination and self-efficacy affected the objective learning outcomes (students’ academic grades). It is expected that perceived procrastination is a negative predictor of learning outcomes while the perceived self-efficacy positively influences the learning outcomes.
Regarding the sample of the current research, 150 students from Freiburg University (Germany) voluntarily participated in the study. Twenty-six participants were from master programs and the rest of the participants pursued Bachelor programs. There were more than half (56%) of female students and 44% of male students.
Concerning research design, such dependent variables were distinguished on the basis of the previous study: students self-reported procrastination, perceived goal achievement, self-efficacy, self-reported frequency of cognitive strategy use, as well as the number and content of the self-set learning goals.
The instrument of the study, which is self-monitoring protocol, consisted of reflection and planning subdivisions. In reflection section, students had to think about preparing their home tasks during the previous week and estimate applied cognitive learning strategies in accordance with 5 points of Likert scale. In planning section, they had to fill in particular text fields with their learning behavior information for the next week. Specifically, these fields were “personal utility” and “mastery”. At the last stage of the self-monitoring protocoling, participants were asked to write their final exam grades. The exams were elaborated by University lecturers and consisted of recall and transfer skills evaluation. Unfortunately, only 92 students performed this kind of activity. The average grade was “2” that meant high performance where “1” was very good and “5” was a fail.
At the beginning of the self-reported protocol, students were informed about the study, it’s aims, purposes, and duration. The participants were asked to fill this self-monitoring protocol once per week during 19 weeks, which is one academic term. It is admitted in the study that on average 15,43 (SD=4,41) of self-monitoring entries were submitted out of 19 through University information platform MOODLE, and some of the participants did not fill in all the entries. They could make one entry from Friday till Tuesday. The time required for making an entry did not exceed 10-15 minutes.
The growth curve modeling was applied to observe and calculate the weekly change in students’ outcomes. The results obtained in the current empirical study showed that a group of students who procrastinated more than others perceived their learning goals achievement as lower, and low learning goals further added to their procrastination. Thus, the first hypothesis of the study was confirmed.
Concerning the second hypothesis, it was demonstrated that students with higher sense of self-efficacy perceived their achievements as better, and higher self-efficacy improved their work on home tasks. There was found a reciprocal and positive feedback loop between students’ self-perceived efficacy and their learning goals achievement. This result proved the second hypotheses of the study.
Regarding the third hypothesis, it is confirmed that there is a vicious circle of procrastination and self-efficacy with a mediating variable in it. The effect of self-reported goal achievement of students’ procrastination was mediated by students’ self-efficacy variable. It was confirmed that procrastination tends to affect the achievement of the perceived learning goals that in turn may negatively impact students’ sense of efficacy.
Also, supplementary explorative analyses concerning the viscous and virtuous circle demonstrated that the higher level of procrastination is related to less frequent application of cognitive learning strategies. Students’ individual ratings, perceived self-efficacy, personal utility, and mastery characteristics show how frequently students apply cognitive learning strategies.
Thus, the findings of the discussed study show that self-perceived frequency of cognitive learning strategies are impacted by students’ procrastination, their sense of self-efficacy, and the frequency of applying cognitive learning strategies. learning predicts the degree of learning goal achievements.
Then self-perceived results were evaluated. It was found that motivational and cognitive characteristics of self-regulated learning perception from students’ protocols predict their final exam grades that were taken as an objective variable.
The discussion of the article overviews the current research, summarizes its findings, and relates them to the already existing data. Two feedback loops were defined during the literature analysis: between procrastination and learning goal achievement and between students’ self-efficacy and goals achievement. A quantitative longitudinal research was done to test the study hypotheses.
All three research hypotheses about amplifying reciprocal effect of procrastination on students learning goals were tested and confirmed. The results demonstrated that procrastination negatively influences learning goals and self-reported efficacy positively impacts learning activity. These results can be confirmed by other researches.
The discussed study has some limitations. For example, the application of self-monitoring protocols during the empirical stage could probably decrease the real impact of procrastination. Also, self-regulated learning is a complex notion consisting of different cognitive aspects. That is why focusing on these particular measures limits the research results; however, using all the possible variables would make the protocol excessively long. Besides, it was impossible to control time-dependent variable that changes with self-efficacy and poses some limitations for the research.
The topic of the research is very interesting and promising. Helping them to set adequate learning goals may decrease the level of procrastination and increase their self-efficacy beliefs, while high self-efficacy will enable students to engage in virtuous circle. Although many students argue that they can individually cope with the problem of procrastination, usually it is not so easy. In many cases, they may need a good instructional support in order to avoid vicious circle of procrastination in self-regulated learning.