When you're planning your learning in a course, a book, or online, it can be useful to take a step back and use metacognitive prompts to give yourself some context for your learning. Metacognition means thinking about thinking. Metacognition is believed to enhance learning through careful awareness and planning of how you learn (Cohen 2012). During Executive Education and Bootcamp at MIT CTL the instructors use a form of self-reflection or journaling that begins to dig into the concept of metacognition. Here are some strategies you can use to think about your thinking and possibly give you a better awareness of how you learn. Adapted from Promoting Metacognition.
Plan your learning
- What do I hope to accomplish, what goal do I have?
- How much time will I spend on this task?
- What resources do I need? (pencil and notebook, computer, etc.)
Monitor your activity
- Do I understand what I am doing as I am doing it?
- Is this meeting my expectations and goals?
- Am I focused and attentive?
Evaluate your outcome
- Am I accomplishing my set goal?
- Are the resources I used working to achieve my outcome?
- If I were to do this again what would I do differently?
According to Nancy Chick, metacognitive learning allows a learner to "gain a level of awareness above the subject matter: they also think about the tasks and contexts of different learning situations and themselves as learners in these different contexts." This kind of thinking can lead to a greater transfer of knowledge from one activity to another.
Chick, Nancy Metacognition, Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching, Retrieved 19 Feb 2020 https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/metacognition/
Cohen, Marisa (2012) The Importance of Self-Regulation for College Student Learning, College Student Journal, Volume 46, Number 4, 1 December 2012, pp. 892-902(11)
Lai, Emily (April 2011) Metacognition: A Literature Review PDF. Retrieved 12 Feb 2020. http://images.pearsonassessments.com/images/tmrs/metacognition_literature_review_final.pdf
The Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, Promoting Metacognition https://www.brown.edu/sheridan/teaching-learning-resources/teaching-resources/classroom-practices/promoting-metacognition