Monday, September 22, 2008

Metacognition & Self-Regulation

Today we discussed the concept of metacognition and its implications for learning & instruction.  Metacognition is commonly referred to as "thinking about thinking" and involves making plans for how to learn, monitoring progress towards learning, and generating or eliciting feedback that can be used to improve learning or performance.  Someone who practices metacognition asks questions like "what do I want to learn? "how will I learn it?" "how am I doing?" and "how will I know if I have been successful?"

It seems like one of the foundational goals of education should be to help learners develop these metacognitive skills.  Acquiring these metacognitive habits seems to be one of the initial steps in becoming life-long learners.  It is interesting to me that lifelong learning is one of the Aims of a BYU Education; however, I'm not sure that very many of the courses that are taught on campus attend to this issue of metacognition.

I also thought that Bransford drew an interesting connection between metacognitive abilities and the transfer of knowledge to new settings and events.  From an instructional design standpoint this seems critical.  A good test of whether or not our instruction has led to metacognition is what happens to the learner once they leave our formal learning environment (e.g. do they keep learning?).

A thought that just came to me is the partaking of the sacrament each week is an opportunity to engage in metacognitive practices.  We reflect on how we are doing in terms of the covenants we have made and resolve to improve in certain areas.  Just a simple thought.  

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