Metacognition refers to higher order thinking that  involves active control over the thinking processes involved in  learning.  Activities such as planning how to approach a given learning task, monitoring  comprehension, and evaluating progress toward the completion of a task  are metacognitive in nature.

Metacognitive knowledge involves executive monitoring processes    directed at the acquisition of information about thinking   processes. They involve decisions that help 

  • to identify the task on which one is currently  working, 

  • to check on current progress of that   work, 

  • to evaluate that progress, and 

  • to predict what the outcome of that progress  will be.  Metacognitive strategies involve executive regulation processes directed at the regulation of the course of   thinking.  They involve decisions that help

  • to allocate resources to the current task, 

  • to   determine the order of steps to be taken to complete the task, and 

  • to set the intensity or the speed at which one should work the task.

METACOGNITION consists of three basic elements:        

  • Developing a plan of action          
  • Maintaining/monitoring the plan          
  • Evaluating the plan

Before – When you are developing   the plan of action, ask yourself:        

  • What in my prior knowledge will help me with this particular task?          
  • In what direction do I want my thinking to take me?          
  • What should I do first?          
  • Why am I reading this selection?          
  • How much time do I have to complete the task?

During – When you are maintaining/monitoring   the plan of action, ask yourself:        

  • How am I doing?          
  • Am I on the right track?          
  • How should I proceed?          
  • What information is important to remember?          
  • Should I move in a different direction?          
  • Should I adjust the pace depending on the difficulty?          
  • What do I need to do if I do not understand?

After – When you are evaluating  the plan of action ask yourself:        

  • How well did I do?          
  • Did my particular course of thinking produce more or less than I  had expected?          
  • What could I have done differently?          
  • How might I apply this line of thinking to other problems?          
  • Do I need to go back through the task to fill in any   “blanks” in my understanding?


Livingston, J. (1997) Metacognition: An Overview State Univ. of New  York at Buffalo:

Hacker, D. J. Metacognition:  Definitions and Empirical   Foundations  The University of Memphis:



About olesyalutsenko

Russian-born author and lecturer came from the Ukrainian State Maritime Technical University in Mykolaijv to teach maritime English and Cultural Awareness at the De Ruyter Maritime College and De Ruyter Maritime Academy in the Netherlands. My experiences have strengthened my belief that nautical students must be specially trained to deal with the multicultural working environment they are likely to encounter at sea... I consider the Intercultural Competence as an integrated part of the 21 century skills.
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