The Role of Motivation in Self-regulated Learning and Language Learning Strategy: In the Case of Chinese EFL Learners

Maryam Banisaeid, Jianbin Huang


Although self-regulation, derived from educational psychology, is a new topic in the second language learning field, language learning strategy was the main focus of many studies in the last two decades. Also, among the L2 individual differences, motivation plays an important role in achieving the educational goals. In this research, motivation is investigated from self-determination theory by which five types of motivation are presented. No study was found to investigate the role of motivation in both self-regulation and language learning strategy. For such a purpose, 49 Chinese EFL learners respond to SILL, MSLQ and LLOS_IEA respectively proposed by Oxford (1990), Pintrich et al (1991) and Noel et al (2000). The results running Pearson correlation showed that there is a significant relationship between motivation, self-regulation and language learning strategies. It is also revealed that Chinese EFL learners use memory, social and affective strategy more than the other ones. The most common motivational orientation is identified regulation. Among self-regulated learning strategies, effort regulation is highly used by them. At the end some implication is considered.



Motivation, language learning strategy, self-regulation, self-determination theory

Full Text:



Ammar, A. (2009). The effects of self-regulated reading strategy development on the prospective EFL teachers’ critical reading skills and reading motivation. Retrieved April 2012 from

Bandura, A. (1988). Self-regulation of motivation and action through goal systems. In V. Hamilton, G. Bower & N. Frijda (Eds.), Cognitive Perspectives on Emotion and Motivation, 37 61. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic.

Bandura, A. (1991). Social cognitive theory of self-regulation. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 248-287

Bansaeid, M. (2013a). The Relationship between Self-regulated Learning Strategies and Strategy-based Vocabulary Acquisition of Iranian EFL Learners. The Iranian EFL Journal, 81(3)

Banisaeid, M. (2013b). Comparative Effect of Memory and Cognitive Strategies Training on EFL Intermediate Learners' Vocabulary Learning. English Language Teaching, 6(8).

Banisaeid, M. & Huang, J. (2014). Self-regulation from Educational Psychology to L2 Pedagogy: an Alternative to Language Learning Strategies. International journal of applied linguistics and English literature, 3(1)

Benson, P. (2007). Autonomy in language teaching and learning. Language Teaching, 40, 21-40.

Brown, H, D. (2007). Principles of language learning and teaching. Pearson education.

Cohen, A. (1998). Strategies in learning and using a second language. London: Longman.

Communities, H., Wang, C., Quach, L. H., & Rolston, J. (2009). Understanding English language learners’ self-regulated learning strategies. New Perspectives on Asian American Parents, Students, and Teacher Recruitment, 73.

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

Dörnyei, Z. (2012). Motivation in language learning. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.

Ellis, R. (1994). The Study of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Goh, C. C. M. (2002). Exploring listening comprehension tactics and their interaction patterns. System, 30(2), 185-206

Gordon, J. (2013). Identity, motivation and autonomy in language learning. Murray Garold, Gao Xuesong, & Lamb Terry (Eds.). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters, 2011. Pp. x+ 266. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 35(01), 190-191.

Griffiths, Carol (2003). Patterns of language learning strategy use. System, 31, 367-383

Griffiths, C. (2007). Language learning strategies: Students’ and teachers’ perceptions. ELT Journal, 61, 91–99.

Griffiths, C., & Oxford, R. L. (2014). The twenty-first century landscape of language learning strategies: Introduction to this special issue. System, 43, 1-10.

Leung, Y., & Hui, A. (2011).Language Learning Strategy of Hong Kong Putonghua Learners. Educational Research Journal, 26(1).

Liu, HT (2009). The Scale development and causal-effect studies of self-regulation in English language learning. Unpublished Master's Thesis, National Taiwan the Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan.

Liu, Min. "Gender and Language Learning Strategy Use-In the Case of Chinese High School Students."Studies in Literature and Language. Canadian Academy of Oriental & Occidental Culture. 2012. HighBeam Research. 27 Sep. 2013 retrieved from

Moriam, Q. (2008). A Study on Motivation and Strategy Use of Bangladeshi University Students to Learn Spoken English. Hiroshima: University of Hiroshima

Noels, K. A., Pelletier, L. G., Clément, R., & Vallerand, R. J. (2000). Why are you learning a second language? motivational orientations and self-determination theory. Language Learning, 50, 57-85.

Nisbet, D., Tindall, E. R., & Arroyo, A. A. (2005). Language learning strategies and English proficiencyof Chinese universitystudents. Foreign Language Annuals, 38(1), 100–107.

O’Malley JM, Chamot AU, (1989). Listening comprehension strategies in second language acquisition. Applied Linguistics, 10(4), 418-437.

O’Malley, J. M., & Chamot, A. U. (1990). Learning strategies in second language acquisition. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Oxford, R. L. (2003). Language learning styles and strategies: An overview. GALA. Retrieved October 6, 2009, from: TESOL/People/Faculty/Dr%20Oxford/StylesStrategies.doc

Oxford, R. L., Rubin, J., Chamot, A. U., Schramm, K., Lavine, R., Gunning, P., & Nel, C. (2014). The learning strategy prism: Perspectives of learning strategy experts. System, 43, 30-49.

Oxford, R. L., Griffiths, C., Longhini, A., Cohen, A. D., Macaro, E., & Harris, V. (2014). Experts' personal metaphors and similes about language learning strategies. System, 43, 11 29.

Oxford, R. L. (1990). Language learning strategies: What every teacher should know. New York: Newbury House

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. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

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). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, National Center for Research to Improve Postsecondary Teaching and Learning.

Rahimi, M., Roohani, A. & Akbari, R. (2012) On the relationship between language learning strategy use and motivation. Language,Linguistics and Literature,The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies., 18 (4), 131-144.

Rahman, S. (2005). Orientations and motivation in English language learning: A study of Bangladeshi students at undergraduate level. Asian EFL Journal, 7, 29-55

Rao, Z (2006). Understanding Chinese Students’ Use of Language Learning Strategies from Cultural and Educational Perspectives. Journal of multilingual and multicultural development 27, 491-508.

Ridley, J. (1997). The role of the first language in foreign language learning. Philadelphia: Multilingual Matters. Purpura, J. (1999). Learner strategy use and performance on language tests. A structural equation modelling approach. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Rose, H. (2012). Reconceptualizing Strategic Learning in the Face of Self-Regulation: Throwing Language Learning Strategies out with the Bathwater. Journal of Applied Linguistics, 33(1), 92–98.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American psychologist, 55(1), 68.

Schunk, D. H., & Ertmer, P. A. (2000). Self-regulation and academic learning: Self-efficacy enhancing interventions.

Spratt, M., Humphreys, G., & Chan, V. (2002). Autonomy and motivation: Which comes first? Language Teaching Research, 6, 245-266

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,78-102.

Wang, C. (2012). Pre-service teachers’ perceptions of learning a foreign language online: Preparing teachers to work with linguistic, cultural, and technological diversity. International Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching, 2(1), 30–45.

Zimmerman, B. J. (1989). A social cognitive view of self-regulated academic learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 81, 329-339.

Zimmerman, B. (2000). Attaining self-regulation: A social cognitive perspective. In M. Boekaerts, P. R. Pintrich, &M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation: Theory, research, and applications (pp. 13 29). San Diego, CA: Academic Press

Zhou, L. (2007). Investigation and Analysis of English Learning Strategies on the Minority Students of Junior. Journal of Chuxiong Normal University, 22(4), 93-99.

Yang, M. N. (2007). Language learning strategies for junior college students in Taiwan: Investigating Ethnicity and proficiency. Asian EFL Journal, 9(2), 35-57.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.