Exploring Relationships Between Self-Efficacy and Self-Regulated Learning Strategies of English Language Learners in a College Setting





English language learner, self-efficacy, self-regulated learning, social cognitive perspective, student success


This study investigated the relationships between self-efficacy and self-regulated learning (SRL) strategies of English language learners (ELLs) in a college setting from a social cognitive perspective in order to understand how to better support international. Participants in this study were 117 ELL college students who enrolled in an English language course at a Midwestern university. The results of simple linear regression analysis showed that ELL college students’ self-efficacy significantly predicted their use of SRL strategies. In addition, the results of a one-way ANOVA indicated a statistically significant difference in the use of SRL strategies between ELL college students who had high self-efficacy and those who had low self-efficacy. Based on study results, implications and future research directions are discussed.

Author Biographies

Daeyeoul Lee, Purdue University, USA

DAEYEOUL LEE, PhD, is an Instructional Designer at Rider University. His research is centered on self-regulated learning, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), online and blended learning, and engineering education.

Matthew Allen, Purdue University, USA

Matthew Allen, PhD, is the Assistant Director of Curriculum and Instruction in the Purdue Language and Cultural Exchange (PLaCE) program at Purdue University. His scholarly interests include second language reading and writing, internationalization of higher education, and ESL curriculum and instruction.

Lixia Cheng, Purdue University, USA

Lixia Cheng, PhD, is the Assistant Director of Testing in the Purdue Language and Cultural Exchange (PLaCE) program at Purdue University. Her major research interests lie in the areas of language assessment, second language acquisition, language program evaluation, and internationalization in higher education.

Sunnie Watson, Purdue University, USA

Sunnie Lee Watson, PhD, is an Associate Professor in Learning Design and Technology at Purdue University. Her research focuses on the field of information age, learner-centered education, including attitude change instruction and information-age educational technology such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and Personalized Integrated Educational System (PIES).

William Watson, Purdue University, USA

William R. Watson, PhD, is an Associate Professor in Learning Design and Technology at Purdue University. His research focuses on realizing a personalized learning paradigm, including through the design and leveraging of attitudinal learning and learning technology such as video games, virtual environments, digital badges, and learning management software


Allen, H. W. (2013). Self-regulatory strategies of foreign language learners: From the classroom to study abroad and beyond. In C. Kinginger (Ed.), Social and cultural aspects of language learning in study abroad (pp. 47–72). John Benjamins Publishing.

Andrade, M. S. (2006). International students in English-speaking universities: Adjustment factors. Journal of Research in International Education, 5(2), 131–154. https://doi.org/10.1177/1475240906065589

Andrade, M. S. (2009). The effects of English language proficiency on adjustment to university life. International Multilingual Research Journal, 3(1), 16–34. https://doi.org/10.1080/19313150802668249

Andrade, M. S., & Evans, N. W. (2012). Principles and practices for response in second language writing: Developing self-regulated learners. Routledge.

Andrade, M. S., Evans, N. W., & Hartshorn, K. J. (2014). Linguistic support for non-native English speakers: Higher education practices in the United States. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 51(2), 207–221. https://doi.org/10.1515/jsarp-2014-0020

Archer, J., Ireland, J., Amos, S. L., Broad, H., & Currid, L. (1998). Derivation of a homesickness scale. British Journal of Psychology, 89(2), 205–217. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8295.1998.tb02681.x

Aregu, B. B. (2013). Enhancing self-regulated learning in teaching spoken communication: Does it affect speaking efficacy and performance? Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 10(1), 96–109.

Armstrong, R. A. (2014). When to use the Bonferroni correction. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 34(5), 502–508. https://doi.org/10.1111/opo.12131

Ateia, S. A. H. E. (2016). The effect of self-regulatory strategies in enhancing listening skills and self-efficacy of EFL learners. Journal of Research in Curriculum, Instruction and Educational Technology, 2(2), 43–68. https://doi.org/10.12816/0028181

Watson, W. R., Watson, S. L., Fehrman, S. E., Yu, J. H., & Janakiraman, S. (2020). Examining international students’ attitudinal learning in a higher education course on cultural and language learning. Journal of International Students, 10(3), 664–687. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v10i3.1083

Ayllón, S., Alsina, Á., & Colomer, J. (2019). Teachers’ involvement and students’ self-efficacy: Keys to achievement in higher education. PLOS ONE, 14(5), e0216865. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0216865

Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84(2), 191–215. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295x.84.2.191

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. W. H. Freeman.

Bartimote-Aufflick, K., Bridgeman, A., Walker, R., Sharma, M., & Smith, L. (2016). The study, evaluation, and improvement of university student self-efficacy. Studies in Higher Education, 41(11), 1918–1942. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2014.999319

Befus, C. P. (1988). A multilevel treatment approach for culture shock experienced by sojourners. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 12(4), 381–400. https://doi.org/10.1016/0147-1767(88)90032-6

Benzie, H. J. (2010). Graduating as a ‘native speaker’: International students and English language proficiency in higher education. Higher Education Research & Development, 29(4), 447–459. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294361003598824

Berg, M. V., Paige, R. M., & Lou, K. H. (2012). Student learning abroad: What our students are learning, what they? Re not, and what we can do about it. Stylus Publishing.

Breusch, T. S., & Pagan, A. R. (1979). A simple test for heteroscedasticity and random coefficient variation. Econometrica: Journal of the Econometric Society, 47(5), 1287–1294. https://doi.org/10.2307/1911963

Brunsting, N. C., Smith, A. C., & Zachry, C. E. (2018). An academic and cultural transition course for international students: Efficacy and socio-emotional outcomes. Journal of International Students, 8(4), 1497–1521. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v8i4.213

Brunsting, N. C., Zachry, C., & Takeuchi, R. (2018). Predictors of undergraduate international student psychosocial adjustment to US universities: A systematic review from 2009-2018. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 66, 22-33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2018.06.002

Burns, R. B. (1991). Study and stress among first year overseas students in an Australian university. Higher Education Research and Development, 10(1), 61–77. https://doi.org/10.1080/0729436910100106

Cleary, T. J., & Zimmerman, B. J. (2004). Self‐regulation empowerment program: A school‐based program to enhance self‐regulated and self‐motivated cycles of student learning. Psychology in the Schools, 41(5), 537–550. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.10177

Dörnyei, Z. (2005). The psychology of the language learner: Individual differences in second language acquisition. Lawrence Erlbaum.

Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics (4th ed.). SAGE.

Gu, Q., Schweisfurth, M., & Day, C. (2010). Learning and growing in a ‘foreign’ context: Intercultural experiences of international students. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 40(1), 7–23. https://doi.org/10.1080/03057920903115983

Harklau, L. (2000). From the “Good Kids” to the “Worst”: Representations of English Language learners across educational settings. TESOL Quarterly, 34(1), 35–67. https://doi.org/10.2307/3588096

Hofer, B. K., Yu, S. L., & Pintrich, P. R. (1998). Teaching college students to be self-regulated learners. In D. H. Shunk & B. J. Zimmerman (Eds), Self-regulated learning: From teaching to self-reflective practice (pp. 57–85). Guilford Press.

Honicke, T., & Broadbent, J. (2016). The influence of academic self-efficacy on academic performance: A systematic review. Educational Research Review, 17, 63–84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2015.11.002

Huang, S. C. (2008). Assessing motivation and learning strategies using the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire in a foreign language learning context. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 36(4), 529–534. https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2008.36.4.529

Institute of International Education (IIE). (2016). International student enrollment trends, 1948/49-2015/16. Open doors report on international educational exchange. http://www.iie.org/opendoors

Jackson, J. (2017). Intervening in the intercultural learning of L2 study abroad students: From research to practice. Language Teaching, 51(3), 365–382. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0261444816000392

Kitsantas, A., Winsler, A., & Huie, F. (2008). Self-regulation and ability predictors of academic success during college: A predictive validity study. Journal of Advanced Academics, 20(1), 42–68. https://doi.org/10.4219/jaa-2008-867

Kovtun, O. (2011). International student adaptation to a US college: A mixed methods exploration of the impact of a specialized first-year course at a large Midwestern institution. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 48(3), 349–366. https://doi.org/10.2202/1949-6605.6336

Leki, I. (1995). Coping strategies of ESL students in writing tasks across the curriculum. TESOL Quarterly, 29(2), 235–260. https://doi.org/10.2307/3587624

Leki, I. (2017). Undergraduates in a second language: Challenges and complexities of academic literacy development. Routledge.

Maftoon, P., & Tasnimi, M. (2014). Using self-regulation to enhance EFL learners’ reading comprehension. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 5(4), 844–855. https://doi.org/10.4304/jltr.5.4.844-855

Mirhassani, A., Akbari, R., & Dehghan, M. (2007). The relationship between Iranian EFL learners’ goal-oriented and self-regulated learning and their language proficiency. Journal of Teaching English Language and Literature Society of Iran, 1(2), 1–15.

Nasrollahi-Mouziraji, A. (2016). Self-regulated learning strategies, achievement goals and listening achievement of Iranian EFL learners. International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching and Research, 4(16), 11–24.

Nejabati, N. (2015). The effects of teaching self-regulated learning strategies on EFL students’ reading comprehension. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 6(6), 1343–1348. https://doi.org/10.17507/jltr.0606.23

Onoda, S. (2014). Examining the relationships between self-efficacy, effort regulation strategy use, and English vocabulary skills. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 5(4), 357–373. https://doi.org/10.37237/050404

Oxford, R. L. (1992). Research on second language learning strategies. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 13, 174–187. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0267190500002452

Oxford, R. L. (2003). Language learning styles and strategies: Concepts and relationships. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 41(4), 271–278. https://doi.org/10.1515/iral.2003.012

Oxford, R. L. (2017). Teaching and researching language learning strategies: Self-regulation in context (2nd ed.). Taylor & Francis.

Pintrich, P. R. (1999). The role of motivation in promoting and sustaining self-regulated learning. International Journal of Educational Research, 31(6), 459–470. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0883-0355(99)00015-4

Pintrich, P. R. (2000). The role of goal orientation in self-regulated learning. In M. Boekaerts, P. R. Pintrich, & M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation (pp. 451–502). Academic.

Pintrich, P. R., & De Groot, E. V. (1990). Motivational and self-regulated learning components of classroom academic performance. Journal of educational psychology, 82(1), 33. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.82.1.33

Pintrich, P. R., Smith, D. A. F., Garcia, T., & McKeachie, W. J. (1991). A manual for the use of the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ). The University of Michigan.

Rachal, K. C., Daigle, S., & Rachal, W. S. (2007). Learning problems reported by college students: Are they using learning strategies? Journal of Instructional Psychology, 34(4), 191–199.

Raoofi, S., Tan, B. H., & Chan, S. H. (2012). Self-efficacy in second/foreign language learning contexts. English Language Teaching, 5(11), 60–73. https://doi.org/10.5539/elt.v5n11p60

Rose, H. (2012). Reconceptualizing strategic learning in the face of self-regulation: Throwing language learning strategies out with the bathwater. Applied Linguistics, 33(1), 92–98. https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amr045

Sawtelle, V., Brewe, E., & Kramer, L. H. (2012). Exploring the relationship between self‐efficacy and retention in introductory physics. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49(9), 1096–1121. https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.21050

Schunk, D. H. (1990). Goal setting and self-efficacy during self-regulated learning. Educational Psychologist, 25(1), 71–86. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15326985ep2501_6

Schunk, D. H., & Ertmer, P. A. (2000). Self-regulation and academic learning self-efficacy enhancing interventions. In M. Boekaerts, P. Pintrich, & M. Zeider (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation (pp. 631–649). Academic Press.

Schunk, D. H., & Zimmerman, B. J. (1994). Self-regulation of learning and performance: Issues and educational applications. Erlbaum.

Schunk, D. H., & Zimmerman, B.J. (1998). Self-regulated learning: From teaching to self-reflective practice. Guilford Press.

Shi, H. (2018). Self-Efficacy Beliefs and Effective Instructional Strategies: US University English Learners’ Perspective. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 30(3), 477-496.

Shyr, W. J., & Chen, C. H. (2018). Designing a technology‐enhanced flipped learning system to facilitate students’ self‐regulation and performance. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 34(1), 53–62. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcal.12213

Simons, P. R. J., & Beukhof, G. (1987). Regulation of learning. SVO.

Soureshjani, K. (2011). Self-regulation and motivation reconsideration through Persian EFL learners’ writing achievement. Journal of Research Humanities, 11, 55–80.

Spack, R. (1997). The rhetorical construction of multilingual students. TESOL Quarterly, 31(4), 765–774. https://doi.org/10.2307/3587759

Su, Y., Li, Y., Hu, H., & Rosé, C. P. (2018). Exploring college English language learners’ self and social regulation of learning during wiki-supported collaborative reading activities. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 13(1), 35–60. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11412-018-9269-y

Sun, W., & Chen, G. (1997). Dimensions of difficulties mainland Chinese students encounter in the United States. Paper presented at the 6th International Conference on Cross-Cultural Communication, Tempe, Arizona.

Tseng, W. T., Dörnyei, Z., & Schmitt, N. (2006). A new approach to assessing strategic learning: The case of self-regulation in vocabulary acquisition. Applied Linguistics, 27(1), 78–102. https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/ami046

Wang, H. C., & Chen, C. W. Y. (2020). Learning English from YouTubers: English L2 learners’ self-regulated language learning on YouTube. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 14(4), 333–346. https://doi.org/10.1080/17501229.2019.1607356

Weinstein, C. E., & Mayer, R. E. (1986). The teaching of learning strategies. In M. C. Wittrock (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (pp. 315–327). Macmillan.

Wolters, C. A., & Pintrich, P. R. (1998). Contextual differences in student motivation and self-regulated learning in mathematics, English, and social studies classrooms. Instructional Science, 26(1), 27–47. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-2243-8_6

Yusuf, M. (2011). The impact of self-efficacy, achievement motivation, and self-regulated learning strategies on students’ academic achievement. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15, 2623–2626. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.04.158

Zamel, V. (1995). Strangers in academia: The experiences of faculty and ESL students across the curriculum. College Composition and Communication, 46(4), 506–521. https://doi.org/10.2307/358325

Zarei, A. A., Esfandiari, R., & Akbari, A. (2016). Self-regulated learning strategies as predictors of reading comprehension. English Language Teaching, 3(2), 42–29.

Zarei, A. A., & Hatami, G. (2012). On the relationship between self-regulated learning components and L2 vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehe-nsion. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 2(9), 1939–1944. https://doi.org/10.4304/tpls.2.9.1939-1944

Zheng, C., Liang, J. C., Yang, Y. F., & Tsai, C. C. (2016). The relationship between Chinese university students’ conceptions of language learning and their online self-regulation. System, 57, 66–78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2016.01.005

Zimmerman, B. J. (1989). A social cognitive view of self-regulated academic learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 81(3), 329–339. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.81.3.329

Zimmerman, B. J. (1998). Academic studing and the development of personal skill: A self-regulatory perspective. Educational psychologist, 33(2-3), 73-86. https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520.1998.9653292

Zimmerman, B. J. (2000). Self-efficacy: An essential motive to learn. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(1), 82–91. https://doi.org/10.1006/ceps.1999.1016

Zimmerman, B. J. (2001). Self-regulated learning. In N. J. Smelser & P. B. Baltes (Eds.), International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences (pp. 13855–13859). Pergamon.

Zimmerman, B. J. (2002). Becoming a self-regulated learner: An overview. Theory into Practice, 41(2), 64–70. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15430421tip4102_2

Zimmerman, B. J., & Bandura, A. (1994). Impact of self-regulatory influences on writing course attainment. American Educational Research Journal, 31(4), 845–862. https://doi.org/10.3102/00028312031004845

Zimmerman, B. J., Bonner, S., & Kovach, R. (1996). Developing self-regulated learners: Beyond achievement to self-efficacy. American Psychological Association.




How to Cite

Lee, D., Allen, M., Cheng, L., Watson, S., & Watson, W. (2020). Exploring Relationships Between Self-Efficacy and Self-Regulated Learning Strategies of English Language Learners in a College Setting. Journal of International Students, 11(3), 567–585. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v11i3.2145



Research Articles