This study examines the relationships between students’ academic levels, the use of motivational regulation strategies, and cognitive learning strategies. A total of 141 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in online distance courses participated in the study. The findings show that students use different motivational regulation strategies and cognitive learning strategies depending on their academic levels. Additionally, hierarchical regression analyses using two dependent variables (i.e., surface level learning strategy and deep processing level learning strategy) indicate that a surface level learning strategy (i.e., rehearsal) and deep processing level strategies (i.e., elaboration, organization, and critical thinking) are predicted by different sets of motivational regulation strategies after controlling for academic level and age. The results provide distance educators and instructional designers with practical suggestions on how to support undergraduate and graduate students’ motivational needs and further promote their use of cognitive learning strategies in online distance education programs in higher education.