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  • Crossing Disciplines

Getting Meta About Learning

In college teaching, metacognition is the idea that students can improve their learning by reflecting on how people learn and how students themselves learn. People engage in metacognitive activities all the time. For example, I still remember thinking, "Next time, I should use a lot less of this green stuff," after my first encounter with the Japanese spicy wasabi paste. Had I not reflected on my misguided first use of wasabi, my second encounter would have resulted in tears too.

However, as a pedagogical consideration, metacognition is fairly recent. In 2011, Samford University's Dr. Stephen Chew, a cognitive psychologist, recorded a series of videos showing how college students can improve their performance by monitoring and assessing their own knowledge, skills and learning. Dr. Chew's most recent video brings all original videos together and offers a great summary of his tips for doing well in college. It is safe to say that the video is very meta.

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