Individualized instruction, a form of materials‐centered self‐instruction, has a long, undocumented history in the United States. The context of individualized instruction requires learners to regulate their own learning processes, including their emotional responses to learning. This study offers a situated view of the processes and strategies learners use to manage the self‐instructional process. Findings of this study suggest that contextual factors such as learners' self‐beliefs and social support influence the kinds of strategies that learners employ. Moreover, self‐regulation of learning in this context required that learners (a) structure the learning environment to meet their needs and (b) manage their emotional responses to individualized language learning.