Using a place-based learning approach to help students learn how experts solve problems

Contributors: Z. Demet, Ji Sook, Sister Gertrude, Dexter Perkins, Jimm Meyers, Peter Lea, Linda David, Jeanette Sablock
Developed at the 2008 workshop, The Role of Metacognition in Teaching Geoscience.

Course level: introductory level

Description of the metacognitive tactic:
Demonstrate and model expert approaches and ways of thinking and give them an initial learning scaffold to get them started, then remove it. The technique has to be practiced in different contexts & at different difficulty levels to establish a pattern of problem solving. Create "wrappers" for the end of the case. The related report includes the standard pieces expected of a scientific paper and a conclusion sections which includes a reflection component.

Goals for using this tactic

  • Learning goals:
    Transition from novice to higher level of expertise (novice--apprentice--journeyman---master/expert).
  • Self-regulation goals:
    get students to engage in triadic cycle of self-regulated learning

How this tactic helps students meet that goal:
They would use expert behavior to solve the problem by:
using Karl Wirth's diagram to help them develop awareness of how experts approach a problem, model expert behavior, assess their problem-solving behavior. Students could revisit/evaluate their earlier efforts to recognize that they are developing some expertise.

Additional references or resources:
Clyde Herrid website - Buffalo. Center for case study Teaching & Science, Problem-based study - Delaware, experts to demonstrate behavior such as an exploration geologists describing how they would go about the search for a resource.

See more examples of strategies for teaching metacognition