At the time he received his Laurier Teaching Fellowship, Steve MacNeil had already implemented and begun to collect data on innovative teaching and assessment methods. One project bolstered through his fellowship activities focused on metacognition and student learning.
In collaboration with Eileen Wood, MacNeil embarked on a project measuring the impact of metacognition activities on student learning. In simple terms, metacognition is described as the act of ‘thinking about thinking’. When applied to a learning environment, metacognition involves the cognitive processes engaged in learning, such as how to tackle specific learning tasks, and a student’s understanding of their current strengths and weaknesses.
According to their research, along with existing research in the field, university students who are taught to build skills in accurate self-monitoring and self-assessment have higher performance outcomes. While this level of instructional support is an investment for the faculty member, it can help students throughout their academic life and beyond.
“The research showed that regular metacognitive activities, such as predicting upcoming test scores or personal reflection on their ability to complete different learning tasks, can improve not only students’ metacognitive abilities, but their exam grades,” says MacNeil.
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