Learners, Not Just Data Contributors: Self-Regulated Learning in Citizen Science

Ruonan Hu, Johannes Pernaa, Maija Aksela, Yiming Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Citizen science substantially contributes to large-scale biodiversity monitoring and the enhancement of public literacy. While both of the contributions largely depend on the public’s self- regulated learning. In this study, we employed a mix- method approach, incorporating both a questionnaire survey of 133 participants and interviews with 12 volunteers, aiming to explore the feature of self- regulated learning in citizen science, as well as identify the main factors impacting it. The volunteers are all different ages, from different jobs, with varying educational backgrounds. The findings revealed that the educational background of volunteers did not significantly impact their self-regulated learning. However, an increased frequency of participation was linked to higher levels of self-regulated learning. Furthermore, achievement goal orientation mediates the prediction of self-regulation by scientific epistemology. These insights underscore the importance of enhancing citizen science's impact on scientific literacy by fostering self-regulated learning among participants. This can be achieved through explicit instruction in scientific epistemology and by fostering a sense of achievement to boost achievement goal orientations. Additionally, our study advocates for the promotion of social interaction between students and out- of- school citizen scientists in school-based citizen science projects. The main innovation of this study is to consider volunteers as learners, not merely as contributors of data.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEducation Sciences
Publication statusSubmitted - 15 Apr 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 116 Chemical sciences
  • citizen science
  • self- regulated learning
  • scientific epistemological views
  • achievement- goal orientation

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