American education » Metacognition

Published: 3-08-2011, 08:00


A theory of self-directed learning as it applies to students and their ability to think about and take charge of their own thinking and learning processes. According to developmental psychologists who refined the theory, metacognition consists of four elements that combine to improve a student’s ability to learn:

  1. Action, including the use of specific tactics for learning, such as memory tricks, taking notes and outlining.
  2. Goals, as defined by the student and his ability to recognize what he needs and wants to learn.
  3. Metacognitive experiences that display student knowledge and allow students to become aware of how effectively they have learned something. Metacognitive experiences include tests, homework, classroom recitations, discussions with parents, adults and other students and opportunities to teach other students.
  4. Metacognitive knowledge, or the repertoire of learning strategies students acquire. This includes the ability to select appropriate learning tactics (or metacognitive components) and to know when and how to use them to acquire maximum learning results.

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