Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Advisor

Carol Ann Sharicz


This paper looks at how learning is evolving in the 21st century and what skills learners need to be successful in that environment. Based on existing research into the topic, this paper focuses on how learning is increasingly taking place in informal settings, through the lens of the Social Cognitive Learning and Cognitive Constructivism theories. The hypothesis is that students can be successful in these settings by mastering self-regulated learning strategies which can be developed through critical thinking and meta-cognitive skills. It assesses what instructional strategies can be used to develop these skills and enable continued learner success. In addition, to the review of existing research, this paper leverages the first-hand feedback of five different K12 teachers, administrators and school psychologists from varying districts and demographics to assess the importance of different cognitive skills and effectiveness of instructional strategies. Study participants were surveyed on their own observations of the evolution of learning and the role of self-regulated learning, critical thinking and meta-cognition.