Have you ever analyzed the strategies you use for learning new information? Do you read the information out loud several times? What about writing it down or are you one of those who make mind maps, drawings or perhaps write a song? As students we have all tried different types of learning strategies. Were they useful? Do we remember the information after a long period of time? Or do we forget most of it after the test we studied for? I am sure most of you answered “yes” to the last question. Most of us do not remember because we are not taught the proper way to learn. Studies indicates to us the benefits and effectiveness of metacognition in education. First and foremost, “Cognition” is the quality of the human mind to capture and interpret the reality that surrounds us. Cognitive processes allow us to perceive a sunset, concentrate to read a good novel or remember unforgettable moments of our childhood.” So how does this relate to metacognition one may ask. Metacognition is simply put as thinking about ones thinking. It is through metacognition that an individual has the awareness and understanding of their own thought process. The main benefit of using metacognition is how it helps students become responsible and independent learners. Being in control of your learning process is a powerful tool to succeed and improve academic achievement. Studies suggests that, “metacognition “oversees” the rest of mental processes and knowledge, and allows us to have information about ourselves. Traditionally it is used in education to help learn in the classroom, strategies, memory, reading, writing, exams, self-instruction, attention and concentration problems, self-efficacy, emotional intelligence, social communication skills, etc. Lately, it has also revealed itself as a process to be taken into account in the study of clinical problems such as depression, obsessions, ADHD or schizophrenia.” Although, it’s impossible to remember all the information studied at school, research has found effective ways and techniques for achieving meaningful learning. In this case, thinking about thinking, or using metacognitive strategies or metacognitive processes, is helpful. This concept has also been referred to as “meta-reasoning” because this process involves goal-setting, updating, monitoring, self-regulation and controlling reasoning, problem-solving and decision-making. Metacognition involves two important dimensions: metacognitive knowledge or reflection and metacognitive self-regulation.
Metacognitive knowledge or reflection refers to the capacity of recognizing or acknowledging one’s own:
- Cognitive Skills: thinking about which abilities are your strengths and weaknesses: “I struggle with reading comprehension”
- Knowledge of specific tasks-“this book I’m reading is complex”
- Use of strategies-not only which ones do you use, but also when to use one or another: “I’ll try chunking the information and try to explain it to myself with other words”
- Metacognitive regulationinvolves monitoring and controlling your cognitive processes. Or else, managing how is your learning going: “Is this strategy helping me understand the information? Should I try a different method?” Besides, thinking strategies to solve problems, organize ideas, plan, set goals and assess are also related to this dimension.
- Plan approaches to plan– by analyzing the problem, selecting a strategy, organizing your thought and anticipating outcomes
- Monitor activities during learning– examining, revising and evaluating your strategies
- Revise outcome– assessing the results according to effectivity and efficiency criteria