Self-regulated learning in the clinical context: a systematic review

Maaike A. van Houten-Schat, Joris J. Berkhout, Nynke van Dijk, Maaike D. Endedijk, A. Debbie C. Jaarsma, Agnes D. Diemers* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)
143 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives: Research has suggested beneficial effects of self-regulated learning (SRL) for medical students' and residents' workplace-based learning. Ideally, learners go through a cyclic process of setting learning goals, choosing learning strategies and assessing progress towards goals. A clear overview of medical students' and residents' successful key strategies, influential factors and effective interventions to stimulate SRL in the workplace is missing. This systematic review aims to provide an overview of and a theoretical base for effective SRL strategies of medical students and residents for their learning in the clinical context. Methods: This systematic review was conducted according to the guidelines of the Association for Medical Education in Europe. We systematically searched PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, PsycINFO, ERIC and the Cochrane Library from January 1992 to July 2016. Qualitative and quantitative studies were included. Two reviewers independently performed the review process and assessed the methodological quality of included studies. A total of 3341 publications were initially identified and 18 were included in the review. Results: We found diversity in the use of SRL strategies by medical students and residents, which is linked to individual (goal setting), contextual (time pressure, patient care and supervision) and social (supervisors and peers) factors. Three types of intervention were identified (coaching, learning plans and supportive tools). However, all interventions focused on goal setting and monitoring and none on supporting self-evaluation. Conclusions: Self-regulated learning in the clinical environment is a complex process that results from an interaction between person and context. Future research should focus on unravelling the process of SRL in the clinical context and specifically on how medical students and residents assess their progress towards goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1008-1015
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Education
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


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