Liesje De Backer

Post-doctoral assistant at the research group 'Language, learning, innovation', within the Department of Educational Sciences, Ghent University.


White peer tutoring Metacognition   | +32 (0)9 264 86 29   |  +32 (0)9 264 86 64 (secretariat)   |    Office 120.043


Henri Dunantlaan 2, 9000 Gent


Liesje De Backer


Self-regulated leaning

Shared regulation

Collaborative learning

Higher education




Students in higher education are expected to manage their learning independently, which requires them to adopt metacognitive regulation skills. Empirical research has shown, nevertheless, that higher education students are often not capable of self-regulating their learning, either because their repertoire of metacognitive regulation skills is insufficient or because they are unable to adequately apply the latter. My research is therefore focussed on optimizing the metacognitive regulation behaviour of students in higher education. To this end, intervention studies in authentic collaborative learning settings (i.e. face to face peer tutoring or computer-supported collaborative learning) are conducted. These studies generally make use of concurrent measures of students’ regulation behaviour (e.g. think aloud protocol analysis, video-based analyses of learning and regulation processes), which allow to unravel students’ actual use of regulation skills during collaborative learning.

I obtained my PhD in 2015. My dissertation is entitled ‘Fostering university students’ individual and socially shared metacognitive regulation through reciprocal same-age peer tutoring: A study into the impact and interaction processes’.  The studies in this dissertation are focused on investigating (1) the impact of peer tutoring on individual students’ adoption of metacognitive regulation skills and on collaborative learners’ adoption of socially shared metacognitive regulation when tutoring each other; (2) the characteristics of the peer tutoring groups’ collaboration that are related to their adoption of metacognitive regulation; and (3) the impact of metacognitive scaffolds on the adoption of (socially shared) metacognitive regulation within the peer tutoring groups.

Currently, I work as a postdoctoral researcher. The main focus of my current research activities is on socially shared regulation processes (i.e. joint regulation of collaborative learning with multiple students) in face-to-face and computer-supported collaborative learning environments. My studies are directed at investigating (1) the relation between self- and shared regulation and collaborative learners’ performance; (2) the relation between the adoption of socially shared metacognitive regulation and individual student characteristics on the one hand, features of the groups’ collaboration on the other hand; (3) ways to support and to foster the adoption of socially shared metacognitive regulation.   

Additionally, I am involved in two studies on (how to promote) self-regulated learning in secondary education. The focus of both studies is on instruction in self-regulated learning and the particular role of the teacher in this respect.


Publications and conferences