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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.

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Lead
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Transformation
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Fitness
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References & Citations

1. Adey P, Shayer M 1993 An exploration of long-term far-transfer effects following an extended intervention program in the high school science curriculum Cogn Instruct 11 1 29 10.1207/s1532690xci1101_1 http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/s1532690xci1101_1
2. Dunlosky J, Rawson KA, Marsh EJ, Nathan MJ, Willingham DT 2013 Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques: promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology Psychol Sci Public Int 14 4 58 10.1177/1529100612453266 http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1529100612453266
3. Susser JA, McCabe J 2013 From the lab to the dorm room: metacognitive awareness and use of spaced study Instr Sci 41 345 363 10.1007/s11251-012-9231-8 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11251-012-9231-8
4. Bartoszewski BL, Gurung RAR 2015 Comparing the relationship of learning techniques and exam score Scholarsh Teach Learn Psychol 1 219 228 10.1037/stl0000036 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/stl0000036
5. Tanner KD 2012 Promoting student metacognition CBE Life Sci Educ 11 113 120 10.1187/cbe.12-03-0033 22665584 3366894 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.12-03-0033
6. Bannert M, Hildebrand M, Mengelkamp C 2009 Effects of a metacognitive support device in learning environments Comput Hum Behav 25 829 835 10.1016/j.chb.2008.07.002 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2008.07.002
7. Dunlosky J, Rawson KA 2015 Practice tests, spaced practice, and successive relearning: tips for classroom use and for guiding students’ learning Scholarsh Teach Learn Psychol 1 72 78 10.1037/stl0000024 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/stl0000024
8. Kistner S, Rakoczy K, Otto B, Dignath-van Ewijk C, Büttner G, Klieme E 2010 Promotion of self-regulated learning in classrooms: investigating frequency, quality, and consequences for student performance Metacogn Learn 5 157 171 10.1007/s11409-010-9055-3 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11409-010-9055-3
9. Stanton JD, Neider XN, Gallegos IJ, Clark NC 2015 Differences in metacognitive regulation in introductory biology students: when prompts are not enough CBE Life Sci Educ 14 ar15,1 8 10.1187/cbe.14-08-0135 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.14-08-0135
10. Georghiades P 2000 Beyond conceptual change learning in science education: focusing on transfer, durability and metacognition Educ Res 42 119 139 10.1080/001318800363773 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/001318800363773
11. Leutwyler B 2009 Metacognitive learning strategies: differential development patterns in high school Metacog Learn 4 111 123 10.1007/s11409-009-9037-5 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11409-009-9037-5
12. Ariel R 2013 Learning what to learn: the effects of task experience on strategy shifts in the allocation of study time J Exp Psychol Learn 39 1697 1711 10.1037/a0033091 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0033091
13. American Association for the Advancement of Science 2011 Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action: a summary of recommendations made at a national conference organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, July 15–17, 2009 Washington, DC

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2017-04-21
2019-08-19

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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