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Metacognition (in learning): The set of skills that manages the learning process. Clark and Mayer defines Metacognition as the mind's operating system (Clark and Mayer 2003).

Metacognitive processes in learning include skills such as planning (the design of the learning process), monitoring (comparing actual progress to the desired one), self assessment (the ability to correctly evaluate one's own knowledge level), and debugging (identifying sources of failure and overcoming those).

Brown et al. aruges that "Metacognition refers to one's knowledge and control of the domain cognition. Two primary problems with the term are that (1) it is often difficult to distinguish between what is meta and what is cognitive and (2)there are many different historical roots from which this area of inquiry arose."

"Consider first the interachangeability of cognitive and metacognitive functions. Recent reviews of the literature on, for example, metacognition and reading have been justly criticized on the grounds that they have encouraged the proactice of dubbing as metacognitive any strategic action."

"A second source of confusion concerning ... The term metacognition ... is that ... it has been used to refer to two distinct areas of research, namely, knowledge about cognition and regulation of cognition."

Schoenfeld: "research on metacognition has focused on three related but distinct categories of intellectual behavior:

1. your knowledge about your own thought processes. How accurate are you in describing your own thinking?

2. Control, or self-regulation. How well do you keep track of what you're doing when (for example) you're solving problems, and how well (if at all) do you use the input from those observations to guide your problem-solving actions?

3. Beliefs and intuitions. What idea about mathematics do you bring to your work in mathematics, and how does that shape the way you do mathematics?" The decision what activities to perform next is an example for a metacognitive question. "

Flavell: "Metacognitive knowledge consists primarily of knowledge or beliefs about what factors or variables act and interact in what ways to affect the course and outcome of cognitive enterprises. There are three major categories of these factors or variables-person, task, and strategy."

Metacognitive knowledge is somewhat domain independent.

  • Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (2000). How people learn: brain, mind, experience, and school. National Academy Press.
  • Clark, r. c., & Mayer, r. e. (2003). E-Learning and the science of instruction: proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
  • Flavell, J. H. (1979). Metacognition and Cognitive Monitoring: A New Area of Cognitive-Developmental Inquiry. American Psychologist, (34), 906-11.