Metacognition is one of my favorite unsung heroes in learning. Without reflecting back on how you achieved the results that you achieved and considering the means by which you learn, you will be less likely to achieve success in the future. However, most reading sources don’t inspire metacognitive practices, nor do most tests. The common way that instructors try to tap into the metacognitive processes is a general reflective paper: tell me about what you learned this week (more of a cognitive summary than metacognitive); how did you feel about what you read this week (really more of an affective response than metacognitive); or some other option that also is close to being metacognitive, but not quite there. These are great practices to include, but the problem with these types of papers is not that they aren’t interesting, or great for students to engage in, but rather that they could pinpoint specific metacognitive processes more precisely. Beyond that, grading reflective papers to help direct students in advancing their processes is prohibitively time consuming.
So, what’s a professor to do when they want to go beyond experiential and affective reflections to help students generate new study methods to increase their success in learning? Well, where there are plenty of processes we could go over, I figured we’d start this a little more simply, with a bank of questions that you can import into any iCollege course that are meant to encourage metacognitive reflection on a student’s learning process. Technically, what I’ve attached to this is a quiz with one question that is randomly pulled from a question library. This should give you the basis for creating many different quizzes throughout your course to gather information on how students are doing in the course, to help your students reflect on how they can better prepare for assignments, and to help students take their learning with them into the world beyond the university walls. If you would like to use this in your course, download this zip file, import it into your course, and either use the quiz that randomly pulls questions from the library any time you think a reflection would be useful, or create new quizzes/surveys that pull randomly from the different sections in the question library. Each question offers immediate feedback for the students, encouraging them to use the reflection to develop their own practice, so hopefully they will be more prepared in the future, and you won’t give yourself an insane grading load at the same time. If you need any help with any of this, please feel free to stop by CETL and we can help.
Also, as you look at the question library, you’ll see that it’s a work in progress. If you have questions that you’d like to add to the library, please send them on to me so we can work together to create better resources for all of GSU.