The Role of Metacognitive Knowledge in Learning, Teaching and Assessing
Raul R. Pintrich
Eureka Pendidikan – Metacognitive knowledge involves knowledge about cognition ingeneral, as well as awareness of and knowledge about one’s own cognition. One of the hallmarks of psychological and educational theory and research on learning since the original Taxonomy was published is the emphasis on helping students become more knowledgeable of and responsible for their own cognition and thinking.
Metacognitive knowledge includes knowledge of general strategies that might be used for different tasks, knowledge of the condition under which this strategies might be used, knowledge of the extent to which the strategies are effective, and knowledge of self. For example, learners can know about different strategies for reading a textbook as well as strategies to monitor and check their comprehension as they read. Learners also activate relevant knowledge about their own strengths and weakness pertaining to the task as well as their motivation for completing the task. Suppose learners realize they already know a fair amount about the topic of a chapter in a textbook (which they may perceive as a strength), and that they are interested in this topic (which may enchance their motivation). This realization could lead them to change their approach or rate. Finally, learners also can activate the relevant situasional or conditional knowledge for solving a problem in a certain context (eg. In this classroom; on this type of test; in this real life situation, etc). They may know, for example, that multiple choice test require only recognition of the correct answers, not actual recall of the information, as required in essay test. This type of metacognitive knowledge might influence how they subsequently prepare for the examination.
Three Types of Metacognitive Knowledge
In Flavell’s (1979) classic article on metacognition, he suggest that metacognition include knowledge of strategy, task and person variables. We represented this general framework in our categories by including students knowledge of general strategies for learning and thinking (Strategic Knowledge) and their knowledge of cognitive tasks as well as when and why to use these different strategies (Knowledge about Cognitive Tasks, including appropriate contextual and conditional knowledge). Finally, we included knowledge about the self (the person variable) in relation to both cognitive and motivational components of performance (Self Knowledge).
Strategic knowledge is knowledge of general strategies for learning, thinking and problem solving. These strategies are applicable across all or most academic diciplines or subject matter domains in contrast to more specific strategies from the disciplines or domains. Consequently, these strategies can be used across a large number of different tasks or domain, rather than being most useful for one particular type of task in one specific subject area.
Strategic knowledge includes knowledge of the various strategies students might use to memorize material, to extract meaning from text, and to comprehend what they hear in classroom or what they read in books and other course materias. Although there are a large number of different learning strategies, they can be grouped into three general categories: rehearsal, elaboration and organizazional.
In addition to these general learning strategies, students can have knowledge of various metacognitive strategies that will be useful to them in planning, monitoring and regulating their learning and thinking. These strategies include ways individuals plan their cognition (e.g., set subgoals), monitor their cognition (e.g., ask themselves questions as they read a piece of text; check their answer to a math problem) and regulate their cognition (e.g., re-read something they don’t understand; go back and “repair” their calculating mistake in a math problem).
b.Knowledge about Cognitive Tasks
As students develop their knowledge of different learning and thinking strategies and their use, this knowledge reflects the “what” and “how” of the different strategies. However this knowledge may not be enough for expertise in learning. Students also must develop some knowledge about the “when” and “why” of using this strategies appropriately. Because not all strategies are appropriate for all situations, the learner must develop some knowledge of the different conditions and tasks where the different strategies are used most appropriately. So, an important aspect of learning about strategies is the knowledge of when and why to use them appropriately.
Another important aspect of conditional knowledge concern the local situational and general social, conventional, and cultural norms for the use of different strategies. For example, a teacher may encourage the use of certain strategies for reading. A student who knows the teacher’s strategic preferences is better able to adapt to the demands of this teaher’s classroom. In the same manner, different cultures may have norms for the use of different strategies and ways of thinking about problems. Again, knowing these norms can help students adapt to the demands of the culture in terms of solving the problem.
c. Self knowledge
Flavel (1979) proposed that self knowledge of one’s strengths and weakness. For example, a student who knows that he or she generally does better on multiple choice tests than on essay tests has some metacognitive self-knowledge about his or her test taking-ability. This knowledge may be useful to the student as he or she studies for the two different types of test. One of the hallmarks of experts is is that they know when they don’t know something and have to rely on some general strategies for finding the appropriate information. This self-awareness of the breadth and depth of one’s own knowledge base is an important aspect of self-knowledge. Individuals need to be aware of the different types of strategies they are likely to rely on in different situations. An awareness that one overrelies on a particular strategy when there may be other more adaptive strategies for the task could lead to the possibility of a change in strategy use.
In addition to general self-knowledge, individuals also have beliefs about their motivation. This include judgements of their capability to perform a task (self-eficacy), their goals for completing a task (learning or just getting a good grade), and the interest and value the task has for them (high interest and high value versus low interest and low value).