Metacognition & Metalearning

Photo by  Markus Spiske  on  Unsplash

Can you answer the following questions:

  • What happens in the brain when learning occurs?

  • What are the conditions and/or environment where learning processes are enhanced?

  • Should I be making learning easy for the person I am teaching, leading or coaching?

  • Why should schools be focusing their growth energy on metacognition?

  • Are you an expert in building the size of chunks and the breadth of maps or schemas?

  • What is cognitive load, and am I guilty of giving too much?

If you are a teacher, you should know the answer to most, if not all of these. Probably, too, if you are a parent, leader, coach, facilitator or mentor. But don’t feel bad if you don’t know some or all of the answers - systemically and systematically we have been ignoring professional learning on learning for almost as long as institutionalised education has been around. I say mostly, because now there is a groundswell of interest, passion and evidence that is raising broad awareness of metacognition.

What’s in a name?

Actually, metacognition is not entirely the best term. Literally it means thinking about thinking. Metalearning is probably a better headline - learning about learning.

Here you will find blog posts and resources to help you deepen your awareness and practice of metacognition and metalearning.

Some key principles

  1.  The brain is massively plastic or changeable, hence the term neuroplasticity. Even for older people.

  2. An outcome of neuroplasticity is the loss of some connections over time, under the general rule of use it or lose it.

  3. Anything that ends up in long-term memory must first pass through short-term or working memory.

  4. Anything that ends up in working memory does so through the agency of attention.

  5. Attention is the focusing on, or the selection of a narrow band of sensory input, at the expense of all other sensory information.