Metacognition (thinking about thinking, learning about learning) is a core competency all students should acquire to assist them with understanding how they learn and then regulating their learning with effective strategies. If we don’t ensure students have competent skills to learn and understand their own learning – then why are we even teaching?
The following handout (curated, edited and enhanced by L. Knaack – 2023) shares a summary of 10 very useful teaching strategies/activities that any post-secondary teacher can use in their courses. Along with the handout, there are associated documents that go along with some of the strategies mentioned.
- Top Ten Metacognitive Teaching Strategies – PDF Version
- Modified Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI) – PDF Version
- Scoring Guide for the Modified Metacognitive Awareness Inventory – PDF Version
- Approaches to Learning Chart (3 Approaches) – PDF Version
- Successful Students Differ Chart: Shallow and Deep Learners – PDF Version
Definition: Thinking about One’s Thinking
- Metacognition – Vanderbilt University
- Metacognition – MIT
- Teaching for Effective Learning – Metacognition – Queen’s University
Research Articles on metacognition
- Dunning, David, Johnson, Kerri, Ehrlinger, Joyce, and Kruger, Justin. (2003) Why people fail to recognize their own incompetence. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12(3). 83-87.
- Tanner, Kimberly D. (2012). Promoting student metacognition. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 11, 113-120.
- Pintrich, Paul R. (2002). The Role of metacognitive knowledge in learning, teaching, and assessing. Theory into Practice, 41(4). 219-225
- Stanton, J. D., Sebesta, A. J. & Dunlosky, J. (2021). Fostering Metacognition to Support Student Learning and Performance. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 20 (2). https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.20-12-0289
Metacognitive Teaching Strategies
- Metacognitive Strategies (How People Learn) – Cornell University
- Teaching Metacognitive Skills – University of Waterloo
- Encouraging Metacognition in the Classroom – Yale University
- Metacognition: How to Improve Students’ Reflections on Learning – Retrieval Practice.org
STUDENT RESOURCES TO SUPPORT METACOGNITION
- Six Strategies for Effective Learning – The Learning Scientists
- Understand Learning and Studying – Stephen Chew Videos
- Myths About Learning – NIC Learn Anywhere
CLASSROOM ASSESSMENT TECHNIQUES
Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) refer to formative, assessment as learning activities for instructors to use to help build metacognitive skills and provide useful and timely feedback to students. Angelo and Cross wrote the definitive book in 1993, but others have taken their work and shared online.
- 50 CATS by Angelo and Cross: Techniques for Assessing Course-Related Knowledge & Skills – Handout
- Classroom Assessment Techniques – Vanderbilt University
- Classroom Assessment Techniques Handout – North Island College PDF Version
Cognitive wrappers are reflective questions that are asked of students before, during and/or after a lesson, an exam, an assignment etc. The questions encourage students to reflect upon how they prepared, how they studied, how they planned and organized their time and how they will apply their learning to a future experience.
- Cognitive Wrappers – Ideas for NIC Instructors – PDF Version
- Cognitive Wrappers: Using Metacognition and Reflection to Improve Learning – Jose Bowen Website
- Exam Wrappers – Carnegie Mellon University Teaching and Learning Centre Site
- Assignment Wrapper – Word – Short Version
- Assignment Wrapper – Word – Long Version
Concept maps provide representations of relationships between concepts in a visual manner.
- Concept Mapping Tools – University of Waterloo
- Concept Maps – Cornell University
- Using Concept Maps – Carnegie Mellon University
- Bubbl.us – Web Tool
If students had a more metacognitive approach to taking notes, they may be able to study and learn better.
- Metacognitive Note Taking Template – Word Version Template
- Study Skills Tips: Note-Taking – University of Saskatchewan
- Notetaking Templates – Trent University
- Note-Taking – Stanford University
When students have opportunities to reflect, think purposefully about their learning and have a chance to think about what is working and what is not – learning can be enhanced.
- Why Reflect? Effective Learning through Metacognition and Self-Regulation – Notre Dame University
- Using Reflective Writing to Deepen Stduent Learning – University of Minnesota
- 10 Metacognitive Prompts to Help Students Reflection on Their Learning – TeachThought
METAPHORS FOR TEACHING
Using metaphors to help explain a complex or abstract concept can help students conceptualize and make better connections with the content.
- Research Article: What metaphors of learning can (and cannot) tell us about students’ learning – ScienceDirect
- Research Article: Metaphors for Teaching and Learning – George Fox University
- Research Article: Metaphors for Learning: A Guide for Teachers – Sciences & Education
- Unfortunate Metaphors for Teaching – Math with Bad Drawings