For many decades, teacher-structured hands-on simulations have been used in education mainly for developing procedural and technical skills. Stimulating contemporary learning outcomes suggests more constructivist approaches. The aim of this study is to examine how self-regulated learning (SRL), an important constructivist learning environment characteristic, is expressed in hands-on simulations. Via structured observations of teachers’ SRL promoting strategies and students’ SRL strategies in eight hands-on simulations, along the three phases of SRL, this study is the first to expose whether students and teachers use SRL in hands-on simulations, what these strategies look like and what their quality is. The results show that both students and teachers demonstrate SRL behaviour in the forethought, performance and reflection phase to some extent, but that they vary considerably in their occurrences, form and quality and provide opportunities for improvement. For example, teacher strategies ‘modelling’ and ‘scaffolding’ were often used, while ‘giving attribution feedback’ and ‘evaluation’ were lacking. The student strategy ‘proposing methods for task performance’ was used regularly, while ‘goal-setting’ and ‘self-monitoring’ were often absent. An overview shows exemplary teacher and student behaviours in the SRL phases with lower, medium and higher quality in hands-on simulations.