Metacognition: Inviting Deeper Learning

Decorative: "Deeper Learning"


"Deep Learning vs. Surface Learning: Getting Students to Understand the Difference" (online article) ties test formats, study strategies, and surface/deep learning directly together: "Until teachers stop relying on questions that can be answered with details plucked from short-term memory, there isn’t much chance that students will opt for the deep learning approaches."

  • Referencing an article by Kathrin Stanger-Hall, the article provides lists of statements by which students can assess their own "cognitively passive learning behaviors (surface learning approaches)" and "cognitively active learning behaviors (deep learning strategies)."
  • "Lists that are this behaviorally focused do oversimplify complex processes like deep learning, but they are still enormously helpful at making clear what deep learning might look like when you try to do it."
  • "When you can show students that certain approaches to studying improve exam scores, you’ve given them a compelling reason to try them out."

Statement lists to help your students engage in metacognition & deep(er) learning:

1. Statements Pertaining to Cognitively Passive Learning Behaviors (Surface Learning)

  • "I previewed the reading before class." 
  • "I came to class." 
  • "I read the assigned text." 
  • "I reviewed my class notes." 
  • "I rewrote my notes." 
  • "I made index cards." 
  • "I highlighted the text." 
  • "I looked up information." 
  • "I asked a classmate or tutor to explain the material to me."

2. Statements Pertaining to Cognitively Active Learning Behaviors (Deep Learning)

  • "I asked myself: 'How does it work?' and 'Why does it work this way?'"
  • "I drew my own flowcharts or diagrams."
  • "I broke down complex processes step-by-step."
  • "I wrote my own study questions."
  • "I reorganized the class information."
  • "I compared and contrasted."
  • "I fit all the facts into a bigger picture."
  • "I tried to figure out the answer before looking it up."
  • "I closed my notes and tested how much I remembered."
  • "I asked myself: 'How are individual steps connected?' and 'Why are they connected?'"
  • "I drew and labeled diagrams from memory and figured out missing pieces."
  • "I asked myself: 'How does this impact my life?' and 'What does it tell me about my body?'"
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