Welcome to the SeLFI-Lab

The focus of our research is on the three topics (1) self-regulation of learning (MuMeta / PuS-SeL / Teaching how to learn / WieSeL), (2) inclusive education (TeBelIn / AMSel), and (3) using digital media for learning and teaching (NawiSeLF*digital / DiSO). We are in particular interested in combining these three topics, i.e. investigating how very young children and children at risk can learn to self-regulate their learning, how self-regulated learning can support adaptive teaching in inclusive education, and how digital media can be used to support learners’ self-regulation.

Our research addresses learners as well as teachers. We are interested in how to assess learners’ and teachers’ knowledge, beliefs, motivation, and self-regulation about the three topics in order to facilitate their learning and instruction.

Projects of the SeLFI-LAB


ADHS-Meta-analysis on the effectiveness of Self-regulation interventions

ADHS has been associated with reduced emotional and academic well-being. As a neurodevelopmental disorder that is related to deficits in executive functions, evidence shows that students with ADHD can benefit from self-regulation (SR) training. In AMSel we are conducting a meta-analysis on previous studies on the effectiveness of SR training for the emotional and academic well-being of students with ADHD.

The project aims at investigating which self-regulatoin strategies are most effective for learners with ADHS, and which type of interventions have largest effects on learning outcomes. To this end we analyze international training studies that evaluate an intervention for either learners with ADHS or their parents or teachers to foster self-regulation of learners with ADHD. We conducted a literature search in psychological and medical data bases that yielded 15,421 hits. Sixty-five studies met the eligibitily criteria and are currently systematically coded. The results will provide implications for future intervention research.

Project management: Dr. Charlotte Dignath

Cooperation partner: Prof. Dr. Caterina Gawrilow

AMSel | Homepage


Digital Teaching/Learning & Student Outcomes: A Second Order Meta-Analysis

To open up the research field of effectiveness studies on digital media in learning, we are currently conducting a systematic review study in the form of a meta-synthesis. To this end, we are quantitatively integrating the findings of international meta-analyses with the goal of examining the effectiveness of different digital media in learning for different target groups.

Given recent experiences related to school closures and digital home schooling, as well as the possibility to integrate digital media in the classroom, there is an urgent need to understand the impact that digital media have on student achievement and motivation. We address the question of what exactly makes digital media effective –for learning. This refers to both the types of technologies that are used and the ways in which they are used in practice.

A large body of research already exists on the wide range of research questions that this raises. Much of this evidence has been summarized in meta-analyses, each of which addressed specific aspects of the impact of digital media use. We want to bring this knowledge together quantitatively to compare and examine what works, when, and for whom. 

Project management: Dr. Charlotte Dignath & Prof. Dr. Reyn van Ewijk


Effectiveness of Self-Regulation Training

We are currently conducting meta-analyses on the following topics: (1) Effectiveness of self-regulation training for learners with ADHD, (2) Effectiveness of different forms of instruction in promoting self-regulation, (3) Effectiveness of learning diaries to promote self-regulation, (4) Effectiveness of self-regulation training for learners with learning disorders.

Project management: Dr. Charlotte Dignath

Cooperation partner: Prof. Dr. Jasmin Decristan

ESel | Homepage


Multimethod Assessment of Metacognition 

Learners differ in their ability to use metacognitive strategies to self-regulate their learning. Valid assessment of strategy use is one of the most important gaps in current research. Research can no longer rely solely on questionnaires for valid assessment. Innovative methods are needed to assess metacognitive strategy use situationally. 

The goals of this study is to (1) describe learners‘ metacognitive activities in the process of completing a complex task, (2) illuminate the relationship between offline and online measures of metacognitive strategy use, (3) examine how learners‘ use of metacognitive strategies is related to their metacognitive knowledge and motivation for metacognitive strategies, and (4) investigate which aspect of metacognitive strategy use contributes most to explaining task performance. We therefore examine university students‘ strategy use, motivation, and performance before, during, and after completing a one-hour complex problem-solving task. 

Preliminary results from this in-depth study support previous evidence that online and situational measures are more strongly associated with task performance than offline measures. However, because we found only a weak association between metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive strategy use, further research is needed to clarify the relationship between the two metacognitive constructs. Finally, our results suggest that both video-based observations and written measures of thinking aloud are valid tools to capture metacognitive strategy use during problem solving.

Project management: Dr. Charlotte Dignath


Using digital media to foster self-regulation in primary school science classrooms

The project aims to investigate the effectiveness of teaching units for primary school science classrooms which integrate the use of digital media. In this scope, we examine (1) whether the digital media can be used effectively to support science learning as well as to activate self-regulation of learning, and (2) whether the additional implementation of adaptive elements can particularly support at-risk students.

The temporary school closures to embank the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic boosted the digitization of learning, showing that in particular primary schools are hardly prepared for the use of digital media. However, digital media have shown to be effective to implement individual support of learners in the classroom as well as when learning at home. In order to benefit from learning with digital media, however, learners need a high degree of self-regulation. Surveys among students about their experience with distance learning during the pandemic have indicated that self-regulation of learner is a major challenge for children. Thus, self-regulation is a prerequisite for digital learning, which can be promoted by means of concepts of individual support through the use of digital media. This project will investigate the effectiveness of teaching units for primary school science classrooms that integrate the use of digital media. In the first phase of the project, we will investigate primary teachers’ conceptions and experiences with the use of digital media (in science) and with the promotion of self-regulation. Moreover, we will prepare and evaluate a teaching unit that incorporates the aspects digital media and self-regulation into science classrooms.

Project management: Dr. Charlotte Dignath & Prof. Dr. Nicola Meschede

NawiSelf*digital | Homepage


Problem Solving and Strategies – Self-regulation in Learning

In the project PuS-SeL (Problem Solving and Strategies: Self-regulation in Learning), we investigate how primary school students develop the ability to self-regulate their learning. Furthermore, we test the effectiveness of instructional videos for students about self-regulation strategies using example-based learning.

In the project PuS-SeL, we first investigate how children in the third grade regulate their learning and how they think about self-regulation. We also compare the results of the children’s surveys with their parents‘ and teachers‘ assessment of self-regulation. This will be followed in early 2021 by our second online study, in which we examine the effectiveness of short, child-oriented explanatory videos for children and teachers on the topic of self-regulation in learning. Teachers can also participate in the PuS-SeL project and use the explanatory videos in their lessons. To test the effectiveness of these explanatory videos, we show the videos to the children and ask them about their learning behavior before and after watching the explanatory video. Subsequently, we plan to conduct a study to promote self-regulation in school lessons.

Project management: Dr. Charlotte Dignath

PuS-SeL | Homepage


Teacher Beliefs about Inclusive Education

(1) What are teachers‘ beliefs about inclusive education and how do these beliefs evolve? Using a meta-analysis, we investigate how teachers think about inclusive education and on which individual and contextual conditions these beliefs depend. In a further meta-analysis, we also test the effectiveness of teacher interventions in developing inclusive beliefs. (2) What effect does reading persuasive texts have on the development of inclusive beliefs? In several laboratory experiments we test whether reading persuasive texts about inclusion has an effect on the development of inclusive beliefs of student teachers. We also investigate the moderating effect of prior knowledge and motivation. (3) Assessment of action-oriented knowledge about inclusive teaching: In research studies with student teachers, the effects of beliefs on teaching behavior cannot yet be measured because students do not yet teach. With the help of a case vignette we want to validly record the anticipated teaching behavior – i.e. the action-oriented knowledge about inclusive teaching. In several studies we are currently testing the development of a coding scheme and the use of a case vignette as a measuring instrument for teacher trainees.

Project management: Dr. Charlotte Dignath

TeBelin | Homepage


Knowledge, application, promotion: self-regulation competence of teachers

The WieSeL project (Knowledge, application, promotion: self-regulation competence of teachers) studies aspects of teacher competence that support teachers’ promotion of self-regulation of learning among their students. To this end, we investigate teachers’ beliefs, their self-efficacy to be able to foster self-regulation effectively, teachers’ own self-regulation, as well as their knowledge about self-regulation. Based on empirical findings, we assume that first, teachers need knowledge about what self-regulated learning and teaching is before they can self-regulate their own teaching and promote self-regulation of learning among their students. The project aims to examine the role of teachers’ knowledge about self-regulation for their promotion of self-regulation in the classroom.

Several studies are planned within the project. In the first phase of the project, we focus on developing a knowledge test to assess declarative, procedural, and conditional knowledge about self-regulation. Subsequently, we plan intervention studies to identify conditions for successful short-term interventions to foster teachers’ self-regulation competence.

Project management: Dr. Charlotte Dignath

WieSeL | Homepage

Projects of the Qualitätsoffensive Lehrerbildung


Competencies for dealing with heterogeneity

To capture conceptual and procedural knowledge, we are developing a knowledge test for prospective teachers that addresses different dimensions of heterogeneity in the school context. This test will also be validated for teachers in preparatory service and in school practice.

Project management: Dr. Charlotte Dignath & Prof. Dr. Mareike Kunter

Project staff: Dr. Franziska Baier

KUH | Homepage


Reverse mentoring as a method to support the professional competence of teachers

ReMento’s goal is to develop, test and evaluate the didactic method of reverse mentoring in order to build up knowledge about the use of digital media in the classroom and the convictions of students and teachers that are conducive to this. Reverse mentoring reverses the traditional mentoring structures: student teachers who are more familiar with digital media due to their significantly increased use of digital media pass on their knowledge and experience with digital media to experienced teachers; teachers, in turn, share their didactic-methodological expertise with students who are less experienced in teaching practice and subject didactics. Together, both target groups are to develop ideas for the meaningful use of digital media in the classroom and thus lay the foundations for closing the respective skills gaps.

Project management: Dr. Charlotte Dignath, Prof. Dr. Mareike Kunter, Dr. Franziska Baier & Dr. Katja Knuth-Herzig

Project staff: Julia Dohrmann

ReMento | Homepage

Cooperation in other projects

Teaching how to learn

Effectiveness of Self-Regulation Training

We are cooperating with our Australian colleagues in their project Teaching How to Learn.

Teaching how to learn: promoting self-regulated learning in STEM classes’ is a project funded by a 2019 Australian Research Council Discovery Grant. The project aims to investigate key factors that influence improvements in teacher capacity and student academic outcomes in STEM subjects. Although the call to create classroom learning environments that increase the interest, activity and control of students over their learning especially in the STEM areas has been around for a long time, research shows little progress. There is a noticeable lack of interest in secondary school science, which is primarily attributed to factors such as lack of student autonomy, the impersonal nature of teacher-student relationships, teaching dominated by transmissive as opposed to activity-based programs, an emphasis on meaningless rules and procedures over ideas and curricula that allow little tailoring to individual student needs. The critical questions are: Can we create sustainable changes in teachers’ practices in STEM and do these changes influence students’ interest, uptake of science and academic performance?

Chief investigators: Prof. Dr. Stella Vosniadou, Prof. Dr. Mike Lawson & Prof. Dr. Lorraine Graham

Partner investigators: Dr. Charlotte Dignath & Prof. Dr. Michelene Chi

Academic associates: Dr. Penny van Deur, Dr. Mirella Wyra & Dr. Igusti Darmawan

Research associates: Dr. Helen Stephenson, Dr. Wendy Scott, Dr. Emily White, Rob Mason & Dr. Masa Pavlovic

Teaching how to learn | Homepage

SeLFI LAB is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as part of an Emmy Noether Group and is part of the IDeA Research Center (Individual Development and Adaptive Education of Children at Risk) for the study of developmental and learning processes in children within the first twelve years of life.