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uni'wissen 01-2016_ENG

graph with a system of coordinates reflecting the procrastination they had documented in their learning journal, while the others studied for the upcoming exam without this visual feedback. “We found out that students whose self-reported learning behavior we had shown in the form of a graph procrastinated less than their classmates,” reports Nückles. Students who are confronted directly with their procrastination reflect on their work habits and have an easier time getting into a “virtuous circle,” because they are able to adjust their goals accordingly. These students monitored their learning process more closely in the study and set more concrete learning goals. Instead of just telling themselves they would study physiology next week, for example, they aimed to explain key concepts of physiology of the senses in their own words. In his own lectures, Nückles tries to find the right balance between control and freedom. “You can’t chase after the students all day,” he says. Further Reading Wäschle, K. / Allgaier, A. / Lachner, A. et al. (2014): Procrastination and self-efficacy: tracing vicious and virtuous circles in self-regulated learning. In: Learning and Instruction 29, pp. 103–114. doi:10.1016/j.learninstruc.2013.09.005 Wäschle, K. / Lachner, A. / Stucke, B. et al. (2014): Effects of visual feedback on medical students’ procrastination within web-based planning and reflection protocols. In: Computers in Human Behavior 41, pp. 120–136. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2014.09.022 Prof. Dr. Matthias Nückles studied psychology, sociology, philosophy, and cognitive science in Freiburg and Kent, Great Britain, and has served as professor of educational science at the University of Freiburg since 2009. After completing his habilitation thesis in psychology, he worked from 2006 to 2009 at the University of Göttingen as professor of educational psychology. Nückles deals with issues concerning how to design teaching and learning processes in learning situations at school, university, and in informal contexts. His current research interests are self-regulated learning by writing, the analysis and promotion of effective explanations in mathematics, and support for trainee teachers in diagnosing their students’ learning processes. Photo: private “It’s important to make it clear to them what rele- vance and potential uses the learning material has so that they’re motivated to learn. But at the same time, they should also receive good guidance from their teachers.” Nückles doesn’t consider attendance lists to be a particularly useful way to motivate students to attend large lecture courses. Instead, he gives the students regular learning exercises. “Assessment mechanisms like learning exercises or small tests are important, because they give the students feedback and let them know what they’ve learned so far and what they still need to work on.” Even more importantly, however, the students should learn to monitor their own progress. The educational researcher is currently developing a web-based learning journal that can be integrated into the university’s existing online ILIAS portal. This web platform has been used up to now primar- ily as a means of providing students with course materials. “But some degree programs are already implementing e-portfolios in which students can review and reflect on the learning material,” Nück- las explains. Like electronic portfolios, learning journals help students to monitor their learning process and thus counteract their tendency to procrastinate. Such tools allow students to review and optimize their own strategies and make it easier for them to cope with daily life as a student – and all it takes is a little self-monitoring. author/nueckles Cleaning, surfing the Internet, shopping: Many students distract themselves when they should be studying. Photos: Konstantin Yuganov, Africa Studio, Minerva Studio (all Fotolia) 47