Lessons Learned from the Workshop and Recommendations for the Community

Jump down to recommendations or next steps.

Lessons Learned

  • Mixture of Ed Psych, Cognitive Psych and Geoscience Faculty was very fruitful
  • Self-regulation and metacognition are not the same but related in overlapping ways
  • Metacognition can be and should be taught – an investment at the beginning leads to rewards throughout
  • Knowing about metacognition colors everything you do with respect to teaching
  • Other geology educators at all levels do use this and it is a powerful tool – activity collection is/will be powerful and worth an investment
  • Confidence in formalized understanding of metacognition
  • Metacognition needs to be front and center as you design the course to integrate effectively
  • Metacognition is a whole dimension of teaching that is often taught subconsciously, making it explicit provides a whole new tool for teaching.
  • Critical and practical link between cognitive and affective domains that can be used to help students.
  • Tools for improving metacognition are very valuable in planning and assessing instruction
  • Examples demonstrate how we can teach metacognition in large classes.
  • Significant numbers of science faculty are very invested in helping students learn
  • There are metacognitive skills that are better suited or likely to be especially valuable in geoscience (e.g. retrodiction (present is key to past); spatial; temporal; multi-dimensional skills; scale range of space and time; incomplete ambiguous data; unrepeatable experiments). Many instructors teach to these skills – metacognition gives a framework in which we can understand their success.
  • Expert modeling is an especially valuable tool for teaching metacognition
  • Being explicit and intentional in exposing our thinking and teaching geoscience thinking.
  • Technology provides new and valuable tools for teaching and assessing metacognition (e.g. Moodle, LectureTools)
  • Power of changing attribution – we can help students understand that they can learn difficult skills – their ability to do math or science can change with practice
  • The role of students in learning – understanding that students have substantial control changes frame for thinking about teaching.
  • Changing metacognition (or thinking) takes time (ours and theirs).
  • Metacognition has fuzzy edges – we have struggled hard to understand boundaries between cognition and metacognition. Continuing to work with these ideas will help us better understand the distinctions.


  • Additional work (opportunities to work collectively, individually) on understanding, teaching and assessing metacognition –particularly assessing.
  • Additional examples of activities for teaching metacognition in geoscience are needed and will be part of the pathway to development of assessments
  • Design research that uses pre-post measures that allow comparision of learning gains in classes that emphasize metacognition and those that don't in collaboration with Ed Psych
  • More use of teams of geoscience faculty with ed psych/education researchers
  • Discuss metacognition and their experience with instruction in this area with students.
  • Teaching metacognition explicitly is one way faculty can teach students to focus on learning, not on grades.

Next Steps

  • Working group to continue to elucidate metacognitive strategies of geosciences – Helen and Mimi
  • Theme session at AGU – Dexter to write session description
  • Develop elevator talk (why teaching metacognition is important; how it supports the learning of geoscience)
  • Add metacognition field to activities – or seek
  • Dialog re how metacognition activities work
  • Submit a metacognition activity – everyone
  • AERA/APA/NARST session – Erin and Jenefer in charge
  • Submit your best resources – all
  • Set up reviewing and observational protocols so that all can find and use them with the metacognition activities – Cathy / Carol
  • Develop a special issue for JCST
  • Develop a special issue for XX with focus on geology
  • Send annotated references to the email list – all