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Metacognition Modules: A Scaffolded Series of Online Assignments Designed to Improve Students’ Study Skills

    Authors: Jean A. Cardinale1,*, Bethany C. Johnson1
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    Affiliations: 1: Alfred University, Alfred, NY 14802
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. April 2017 vol. 18 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i1.1212
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    Abstract:

    Many first-year biology students begin college with high aspirations but limited skills in terms of those needed for their success. Teachers are increasingly focused on students’ lack of metacognitive awareness combined with students’ inability to self-regulate learning behaviors. To address this need, we have designed a series of out-of-class assignments to provide explicit instruction on memory and learning. Our metacognition modules consist of six video assignments with reflective journaling prompts, allowing students to explore the relationship between the learning cycle, neuroplasticity, memory function, expert and novice thinking, and effective study strategies. By setting lessons on improving study behavior within a biological context, we help students grasp the reason for changing their behavior based on an understanding of biological functions and their application to learning. Students who complete these scaffolded journaling assignments show a shift toward a growth mindset and a consistent ability to evaluate the efficacy of their own study behaviors. In this article, we discuss the modules and student assignments, as well as provide in depth support for faculty who wish to adopt the modules for their own courses.

Key Concept Ranking

Lead
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Inclusions
0.69374996
Transformation
0.6310055
Fitness
0.6115986
0.9463946

References & Citations

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2. Dunlosky J, Rawson KA, Marsh EJ, Nathan MJ, Willingham DT2013Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques: promising directions from cognitive and educational psychologyPsychol Sci Public Int1445810.1177/1529100612453266 http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1529100612453266
3. Susser JA, McCabe J2013From the lab to the dorm room: metacognitive awareness and use of spaced studyInstr Sci4134536310.1007/s11251-012-9231-8 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11251-012-9231-8
4. Bartoszewski BL, Gurung RAR2015Comparing the relationship of learning techniques and exam scoreScholarsh Teach Learn Psychol121922810.1037/stl0000036 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/stl0000036
5. Tanner KD2012Promoting student metacognitionCBE Life Sci Educ1111312010.1187/cbe.12-03-0033226655843366894 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.12-03-0033
6. Bannert M, Hildebrand M, Mengelkamp C2009Effects of a metacognitive support device in learning environmentsComput Hum Behav2582983510.1016/j.chb.2008.07.002 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2008.07.002
7. Dunlosky J, Rawson KA2015Practice tests, spaced practice, and successive relearning: tips for classroom use and for guiding students’ learningScholarsh Teach Learn Psychol1727810.1037/stl0000024 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/stl0000024
8. Kistner S, Rakoczy K, Otto B, Dignath-van Ewijk C, Büttner G, Klieme E2010Promotion of self-regulated learning in classrooms: investigating frequency, quality, and consequences for student performanceMetacogn Learn515717110.1007/s11409-010-9055-3 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11409-010-9055-3
9. Stanton JD, Neider XN, Gallegos IJ, Clark NC2015Differences in metacognitive regulation in introductory biology students: when prompts are not enoughCBE Life Sci Educ14ar15,1810.1187/cbe.14-08-0135 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.14-08-0135
10. Georghiades P2000Beyond conceptual change learning in science education: focusing on transfer, durability and metacognitionEduc Res4211913910.1080/001318800363773 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/001318800363773
11. Leutwyler B2009Metacognitive learning strategies: differential development patterns in high schoolMetacog Learn411112310.1007/s11409-009-9037-5 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11409-009-9037-5
12. Ariel R2013Learning what to learn: the effects of task experience on strategy shifts in the allocation of study timeJ Exp Psychol Learn391697171110.1037/a0033091 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0033091
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v18i1.1212
2017-04-21
2017-12-14

Abstract:

Many first-year biology students begin college with high aspirations but limited skills in terms of those needed for their success. Teachers are increasingly focused on students’ lack of metacognitive awareness combined with students’ inability to self-regulate learning behaviors. To address this need, we have designed a series of out-of-class assignments to provide explicit instruction on memory and learning. Our metacognition modules consist of six video assignments with reflective journaling prompts, allowing students to explore the relationship between the learning cycle, neuroplasticity, memory function, expert and novice thinking, and effective study strategies. By setting lessons on improving study behavior within a biological context, we help students grasp the reason for changing their behavior based on an understanding of biological functions and their application to learning. Students who complete these scaffolded journaling assignments show a shift toward a growth mindset and a consistent ability to evaluate the efficacy of their own study behaviors. In this article, we discuss the modules and student assignments, as well as provide in depth support for faculty who wish to adopt the modules for their own courses.

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FIGURE 1

Proportion of students at each level of competence on all assessment rubric criteria. Some students’ journal assignments were read by both researchers to check interrater reliability (see Appendix 4 for reliability results). Analyses were completed using the average of both researchers’ scores for journals that were read twice. Criteria given a zero by both researchers were designated Unacceptable, criteria with averages of 0.5 or 1.0 were designated Needs Improvement, criteria with averages of 1.5 or 2.0 were designated Approaching Competence, and criteria with averages of 2.5 or 3.0 were designated Acceptable Competence. Assessment rubric criteria correspond directly to the individual module student learning objectives, except objectives 2.1 and 4.1, which are split into two criteria (see assessment rubric in Appendix 3 ).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. April 2017 vol. 18 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i1.1212
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