In 1970 John Favell a psychologist at Stanford University introduced the term metacognition. He defines metacognition as “in any kind of cognitive transaction with the human or non-human environment, a variety of information processing activities may go on. Metacognition refers, among other things, to the active monitoring and consequent regulation and orchestration of these processes in relation to the cognitive objects or data on which they bear, usually in service of some concrete goal or objective” (Theories of Learning in Education Psychology).

Favell states that “metacognition consists of both metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive experiences or regulation. Metacognitive knowledge refers to acquired knowledge about cognitive processes, knowledge that can be used to control cognitive processes” (Metacognition: An Overview). He divides “metacognitive knowledge into three categories; knowledge of person variables, task variables and strategy variables” (Metacognition: An Overview).

Metacognitive experience is “experience that have something to do with the current, on-going congnitve endeavor” (Wikipedia). Metacognitive regulation is “the monitoring of one’s cognition and includes planning activities, awareness of comprehension and task performance, and evaluation of the efficacy of monitoring processes and strategies” (Lau pg 2).

Metacognition is often referred to as thinking about thinking. Evidence has shown that this type of learning strategy is effective with older learners and learners that have a lower level of achievement. Though use of metacognition strategies the learner moves towards a higher level of thinking, independence and self-efficiency while taking control of their learning.

Upon researching this subject matter I realized that I had no knowledge on the subject matter. I need to continue researching and learning more about the concept and process of metacognition to enhance my knowledge base to benefit the learners that I am responsible for. This includes how to effectively use strategies to promote metacogniton in the learning environment.

This strategy requires the learner to evaluate their strengths, weakness, and learning goals, and make changes through self reflection and self evaluation. This can be done by providing the learner with activities that involve them in thinking, questioning and evaluating if they are achieving their academic goals.

The twenty first century has seen a rapid change in education. This includes the method in which learners learn, the need for life long learning, and how education is delivered. The Instructor no longer stands in front of the class and delivers all their knowledge to the learners. Adult learners have become more accountable and responsible for their own learning.

“Metcognition plays a critical role in successful learning” (Metacognition: A Overview). The learner becomes aware and understands their thinking and cognitive processes. The learner must monitor their progress towards their learning goals and make changes as needed throughout the learning experience.

The Instructor must establish a metacognitve environment. This includes a positive, flexible, creative, and engaging learning environment. And must role model metacognitive behavior to the learners. By modeling this behavior the learner will “become aware of their own thinking” (Developing Metacognition) and move towards developing metacognitive strategies. The learner must develop goals, engage in self
monitoring and self-evaluation while being self motivated to learn. These strategies make the learner aware of their strengths and weakness, which will provide them the opportunity to take action to remedy the situation. Instructional strategies need to move the learner towards being independent and autonomous in this type of learning environment. The Instructor must be available to provide clarification and guidance as needed and provide ongoing constructive descriptive feedback in a timely manner to the learner.

Metacognition requires the learner to accept accountability and responsibility for their own learning and to develop an understanding of what is needed to be successful in achieving their learning goals.

“Metacognition enables us to be successful learners and has been associated with
intelligence” (Metacognition: A Overview).

It is essential as an adult educator to use this strategy in the classroom. Upon researching and reflecting on this subject matter, I realized that I do engage the learners in some metacognitve strategies. Examples that I currently use are learning plans and reflective journals. These strategies engage the learner in thinking, questioning and evaluating if they are moving towards achieving their academic goals.

This type of thinking improves decision making skills which are essential in nursing practice. It prepares the learner to engage in life long learning which is essential for nursing to remain competent in practice.

“Metacognitve strategies help us become more efficient and powerful in our learning because they help us to find information, evaluate when we need additional resources, and understand when to apply different approaches to the problems” (Session 9 Thinking About Thinking: Metacognition). This quotation is the basis of nursing practice. As nurses it essential to seek out information and resources in problem-solving to achieve the best outcomes for our patients.

“Metacognition enables us to be successful learners and has been associated with intelligence” (Metacognition: A Overview).

I will engage in informal education to learn more about this topic and how to implement it into my classroom.

Blakey, Elaine, Spence, Sheila, Developing Metacognition, Retrieved from the World Wide Web on September 10, 2013,

Favell, John, Theories of Learning in Education Psychology, Retrieved from the World Wide Web on September 10, 2013,

Lai,Emily, (2011) Metacogniton: A Literature Review, Retrieved from the World Wide Web on October 4, 2013, eview_Final.pdf

Merriam Webster Online Dictionary – Retrieved from the World Wide Web on September 10, 2013,

McTighe, Jay, Wiggins, Grant, (2013) Essential Question Opening Doors to Student Understanding

Barkley, Elizabeth, F., (2010) Student Engagement Techniques A Handbook for College Faculty

Metacogniton, Retrieved from the World Wide Web on September 11, 2013,

Noushad, P.P, Cognitions about Cognitions: The Theory of Metacognition, Retrieved from the World Wide Web on September 11, 2013,

Stanford University School of Education, Darling-Hammond, Linda, et all, Session 9 Thinking About Thinking: Metacognition, Retrieved from the World Wide Web on September 11, 2013

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