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: http://www.gse.buffalo.edu/fas/shuell/cep564/Metacog.htm
Hacker, D. J. Metacognition: Definitions and Empirical Foundations The University of Memphis: http://www.psyc.memphis.edu/trg/meta.htm