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Metacognition - Are Your Learners Really Thinking About The Content

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Metacognition is a term that is not often discussed in academic circles, particularly when discussing achieve-ment consider-ations, but it should be. For learning to occur, learners must be able to re-flect upon what they currently know and consider how the new information is applicable to them or the task they are completing. Most importantly, learn-ers begin to think about their own thinking processes involved in the task and what it means to them. To move the information from short-term memory, the brain must make several strong connections with existing infor-mation. Processing information can be matched with meta-cognition strategies in outcomes-based curriculum design and facilitation. The metacognition pro-cess requires the learner to sort, re-flect, evaluate, and apply the informa-tion in meaningful ways. The challenges of incorporating meta-cognition strategies into the curriculum and an institution-wide initiative in-clude: 1. Teacher and pro-fessor focus on rote learning concepts, including memoriza-tion and superficial learning techniques. 2. Teachers and professors not knowing how to in-clude, or are reti-cent for including opportunities for metacognition in their instruction. 3. Students not un-derstanding the val-ue of certain meta-cognitive exercises, or not knowing how to properly com-plete a learning task that includes such strategies. 4. Distractions in the digital informa-tion-age, the need for instant gratifi-cation, and busy schedules that may direct adult learners away from engaging in rich, metacogni-tive tasks. Teachers and stu-dent alike must be shown how to use certain strategies to enhance the meta-cognition process. Thinking Maps® developed in the 1980's by David Hy-erle; mind maps, graphic organizers, advance organizers, and marginal notes can be effective tools for complet-ing the metacogni-tion process. These tools have been used successfully in the classroom to assist learners with not only process-ing information for
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Metacognion is
a term that is not
oen discussed in
academic circles,
parcularly when
discussing achieve-
ment consider-
aons, but it should
be. For learning to
occur, learners
must be able to re-
ect upon what they
currently know and
consider how the
new informaon is
applicable to them
or the task they are
compleng. Most
importantly, learn-
ers begin to think
about their own
thinking processes
involved in the task
and what it means
to them. To move
the informaon
from short-term
memory, the brain
must make several
strong connecons
with exisng infor-
maon. Processing
informaon can be
matched with meta-
cognion strategies
in outcomes-based
curriculum design
and facilitaon. The
metacognion pro-
cess requires the
learner to sort, re-
ect, evaluate, and
apply the informa-
on in meaningful
ways.
The challenges of
incorporang meta-
cognion strategies
into the curriculum
and an instuon-
wide iniave in-
clude:
1. Teacher and pro-
fessor focus on rote
learning concepts,
including memoriza-
on and supercial
learning techniques.
2. Teachers and
professors not
knowing how to in-
clude, or are re-
cent for including
opportunies for
metacognion in
their instrucon.
3. Students not un-
derstanding the val-
ue of certain meta-
cognive exercises,
or not knowing how
to properly com-
plete a learning task
that includes such
strategies.
4. Distracons in
the digital informa-
on-age, the need
for instant gra-
caon, and busy
schedules that may
direct adult learners
away from engaging
in rich, metacogni-
ve tasks.
Teachers and stu-
dent alike must be
shown how to use
certain strategies to
enhance the meta-
cognion process.
Thinking Maps®
developed in the
1980’s by David Hy-
erle; mind maps,
graphic organizers,
advance organizers,
and marginal notes
can be eecve
tools for complet-
ing the metacogni-
on process. These
tools have been
used successfully
in the classroom to
assist learners with
not only process-
ing informaon for
deeper understand-
ing, but also to suc-
ceed on high-stakes
tesng. In both af-
uent and socioeco-
nomically disadvan-
taged high schools,
I taught learners to
use Thinking Maps®
at the very start of
the semester. Aer
months of pracce,
the learners found
these tools to be
very useful for de-
veloping under-
standing in mulple
subjects. By the
me they were pre-
paring for the New
York State Regents
examinaon, they
were masterful with
using the maps to
prepare for the es-
say poron of the
exam.
The metacognion
process described
above can be visu-
alized by the learn-
ers as they used the
Circle Map to quick-
ly brainstorm ev-
erything they knew
about the topic they
were to write about.
Using other Think-
ing Maps®, includ-
ing the Tree Map,
the informaon was
organized into main
ideas in the form
Metacognion: Are Your Learners Really
Thinking About The Content?
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7, 2012
PHOTO BY BERNT ROSTAD
For true learning to occur, learners must reect on their
knowledge and the skills they need to acquire to advance and
succeed.
By Timothy Clapper
President and Educaonal Consultant,
TC Curriculum & Instruconal Design
CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
Arcle originally published on The EvoLLLuon at hp://www.evollluon.com/curriculum_planning/metacog-
nion-are-your-learners-really-thinking-about-the-content/
of tree limbs, in-
cluding supporng
ideas. The learners
even used a Venn
diagram or a Dou-
ble-bubble Thinking
Map® to compare
and contrast for
the crical thinking
process, or other
maps to sequence
the informaon
prior to beginning
the wring process.
These same strate-
gies can be taught
at the college level,
along with teaching
learners to stop and
pause when read-
ing to evaluate their
own understanding.
The use of marginal
notes is a metacog-
nive process that
must be stressed
to learners, but
rarely is. Reecng
on one’s thoughts
while reading the
material and then
later comparing
these thoughts with
other informaon
on a global scale
sets the learner
up for success for
problem solving,
researching, or writ-
ing.
Many instuons
of higher learn-
ing, most recently
Harvard University
(Harvard Maga-
zine Inc., 2012), are
recognizing that
their professors
may not be aware
of how to employ
student-centered
or outcome-based
learning strate-
gies eecvely, and
are taking acon
to hire academics
with advanced cur-
riculum and instruc-
on experience to
assist them with
improving the qual-
ity of instrucon.
These instuons
are also very much
aware that students
are enrolling with-
out knowledge of
how to properly
research, process,
and apply informa-
on that they will
be exposed to. Right
from the beginning,
college success and
introductory cours-
es must prepare
the digitally-orient-
ed and busy adult
learner to accom-
plish these tasks,
while emphasizing
the metacognive
reecon process
that is so crical to-
day for learning and
problem-solving.
Evidence for incor-
porang metacogni-
on may be found
from the work of
Mason, Boldrin and
Ariasi (2010). They
found that students
who used meta-
cognion strategies
to evaluate infor-
maon, including
Internet sources,
outperformed
learners who did
not. The power of
teaching and using
metacognion was
also demonstrated
by experiments
performed by Ha-
lamish, Goldsmith,
and Jacoby (2012).
The researchers
showed that learn-
ers constrained re-
call to the way the
informaon was
originally processed
and used some
of the same pro-
cesses as retrieval
cues. Both sets of
research are impor-
tant for showing
that memory and
performance can
be improved with
adequate informa-
on-processing and
metacognion strat-
egies, which also
matches our need
to include outcome-
based instruconal
strategies across the
curriculum.
Teachers and stu-
dents must be
shown how to use
metacognion to
advance the learn-
ing process. Model-
ing and applicaon
of the metacogni-
on strategies can
generate the nec-
essary buy-in, but
perhaps most im-
portantly, ongoing
scaolding and sup-
port is needed to
ensure the success
of any iniave.
References
Halamish, V., Gold-
smith, M., & Jacoby,
L. L. (2012). Source-
constrained recall:
Front-end and back-
end control of re-
trieval quality.Jour-
nal of Experimental
Psychology: Learn-
ing, Memory, and
Cognion,38, (1),
11-15.
Harvard Magazine
Inc. (2012, Jan-Feb).
Invesng in Learn-
ing and Teaching.
Harvard magazine.
Retrieved from
http://harvardmag.
com/pdf/2012/01-
pdfs/0112-60.pdf
Mason, L., Bold-
rin, A., & Ariasi, N.
(2010). Searching
the Web to learn
about a controver-
sial topic: are stu-
dents epistemically
acve? Instr Sci,
38,607–633. doi:
10.1007/s11251-
008-9089-y
Metacognion: Are Your Learners
Really Thinking About The Content?
Current Posion and
Past Experience
Clapper has been an
Educaonal Consul-
tant and Independent
Researcher with TC
Curriculum & Instruc-
onal Design, LLC
since 2008.
He is also an Adjunct
Faculty member at
the American Pub-
lic University System
and the University of
Colorado at Colorado
Springs since 2011.
From 2009-2011, Clap-
per was also the Direc-
tor of Educaon at the
Instute for Medical
Simulaon and Ad-
vanced Learning in
New York.
Educaon, Honors
and Achievements
In 2008, Clapper
earned his Cercate
of Advanced Graduate
studies in Educaonal
Technology at the Uni-
versity of Colorado
at Colorado Springs.
He simultaneously
earned his MA in Cur-
riculum and Instruc-
on from the same
instuon. In 2011,
Clapper earned his
PhD in Educaon from
Capella University.
AUTHOR PROFILE
CONTINUED FROM LAST PAGE
Arcle originally published on The EvoLLLuon at hp://www.evollluon.com/curriculum_planning/metacog-
nion-are-your-learners-really-thinking-about-the-content/
... Activities that allow for participation, physical movement and learner exposure in the classroom can increase the motivation and student responsibility for learning (Xu & Moloney, 2011). In addition to active learning strategies, an active reflection agenda is important throughout the lesson because it engages both teacher and student in the metacognition process (Clapper, 2012;Xu & Moloney, 2011). Some of those conducting simulation may defer reflection to the debriefing process (Argyris & Schön, 1992;Schön, 1983) following instruction and a simulated patient care scenario. ...
... However, studies such as the one conducted by Swanson et al. (2011) demonstrate the capabilities and benefits of using a reflective pause for inquiry and feedback. Ongoing reflection or reflection-in-action is part of the metacognitive process that requires learners to think about what they are doing (Argyris & Schön, 1992;Clapper, 2012;Schön, 1983). It may be used to nurture and sustain situational interest ...
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The education reformer, Horace Mann once suggested that trying to teach a learner without creating interest is like hammering cold iron. All too often, health care educators begin an instructional session while the mind of the learner is focused on places other than on the subject to be learned. Regardless of specialization, understanding situational interest and ways to nurture it in the facilitation process is important for educators. However, it is especially important for the health care community as it helps us to develop best practices in instructional design and facilitation that can improve simulation-based instruction. This article defines situational interest and explains how instructional design can generate such interest with the use of advance organizers, active learning strategies, and the practices of effective reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action. Developing situational interest may lead to an individual interest or passion for the subject, foster lifelong learning, and encourage learners to return for additional simulation-based learning experiences
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Students are making an increased use of the Web as a source for solving information problems for academic assignments. To extend current research about search behavior during navigation on the Web, this study examined whether students are able to spontaneously reflect, from an epistemic perspective, on the information accessed, and whether their epistemic metacognition is related to individual characteristics, such as prior knowledge of the topic and the need for cognition. In addition, we investigated whether Internet-based learning is influenced by the activation of spontaneous epistemic metacognition in the search context. Forty-six psychology and engineering university students were asked to research information about a controversial subject in order to write an essay. They were also asked to think aloud during their research. Both qualitative and quantitative analyses were performed. As revealed by their spontaneous reflections, all participants were epistemically active, although to different extents and levels. As expected, there was evidence that students activated beliefs about the four epistemic dimensions identified in the literature, especially about the credibility of an electronic source and the criteria for justification of knowledge. Prior knowledge was not related to activation of epistemic beliefs in the search context, while the need for cognition significantly associated with aspects of source and its content evaluation. Two patterns of epistemic metacognition were identified and they significantly influenced Internet-based learning. Students who spontaneously generated more sophisticated reflections about the sources as well as the information provided, outperformed students who were active only at the first epistemic level. Educational implications are drawn. KeywordsEpistemic metacognition-Epistemic beliefs-Epistemological beliefs-New literacy-Information searching-Critical thinking
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Research on the strategic regulation of memory accuracy has focused primarily on monitoring and control processes used to edit out incorrect information after it is retrieved (back-end control). Recent studies, however, suggest that rememberers also enhance accuracy by preventing the retrieval of incorrect information in the first place (front-end control). The present study put forward and examined a mechanism called source-constrained recall (cf. Jacoby, Shimizu, Velanova, & Rhodes, 2005) by which rememberers process and use recall cues in qualitatively different ways, depending on the manner of original encoding. Results of 2 experiments in which information about source encoding depth was made available at test showed that when possible, participants constrained recall to the solicited targets by reinstating the original encoding operations on the recall cues. This reinstatement improved the quality of the information that came to mind, which, together with improved postretrieval monitoring, enhanced actual recall performance.
Searching the Web to learn about a controversial topic: are students epistemically active?
  • L Pdf Mason
  • A Boldrin
  • N Ariasi
Investing in Learning and Teaching. Harvard magazine. Retrieved from http://harvardmag. com/pdf/2012/01pdfs/0112-60.pdf Mason, L., Boldrin, A., & Ariasi, N. (2010). Searching the Web to learn about a controversial topic: are students epistemically active? Instr Sci, 38,607–633. doi: 10.1007/s11251008-9089-y