Metacognition is the awareness and regulation of the thinking and learning process. It is an essential aspect of self-regulated learning . Gregory Schraw GS Gregory Schraw explains that “cognitive skills are necessary to perform a task, while metacognition is necessary to understand how the task was performed.” If someone reflects on their attempts to learn something new, evaluating the process and deciding what to do differently next time, they are thinking metacognitively.
Metacognition has two main components in most definitions:
I. Knowledge of cognition includes general knowledge about how cognition works and an understanding of what strategies can be used to optimize performance. It also encompasses knowledge about the individual skills and abilities of the learner. There are three types of knowledge within this component of metacognition:
- Declarative knowledge is an awareness of the factors that influence learning, including general knowledge about how cognition works and specific knowledge about one’s own skills and abilities.
- Procedural knowledge is knowing how to learn. It is knowledge about the procedures and learning strategies that can be used.
- Conditional knowledge is knowing why and when to use particular strategies so that one can choose the right strategy for the specific learning task.
II. Regulation of cognition is also called metacognitive regulation. It is how individuals control the learning process by making decisions about how to learn, managing the ongoing process, and evaluating overall performance. There are three parts to regulation:
- Planning takes place before learning and involves setting goals, selecting learning strategies, and allocating resources.
- Monitoring takes place during learning and refers to one’s awareness of comprehension and task performance, strategy use, and ability to control the learning process learning.
- Evaluation takes place after learning. It is an assessment of the learning process and may involve an appraisal of learning strategies used and the efficiency with which results were achieved.
Metacognition is what enables learners to improve by assessing their learning process and identifying strengths and weaknesses. Based on performance and feedback, learners can take corrective measures before engaging in future learning tasks.