Knowing Yourself: Metacognition and Student Success

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Metacognition is thinking about ways to improve your own thinking and learning processes. And for students, the act of knowing themselves and seeking to improve their learning process can positively impact their success in college. Importantly, for students it’s an internal guide that recognizes their own strengths and weaknesses, that helps them plan to achieve their goals, and enables them to monitor if they are doing what it takes to be successful. Realizing that you might not be on the right path to achieving your goals and correcting your course of action?  That’s metacognition in action.

Students want to excel in college. In fact, 48% strive to get an A in all their courses, according to a study in Spring of 2022 of more than 1,400 undergraduate students by Student Monitor. Some of the more common activities they participate in outside the classroom to get a better grade are participating in a study group, or meeting a professor, and watching online videos.

Metacognitive and self-regulating behaviors help learners conceptualize their academic goals and then  identify the  tools and processes necessary to be successful. The act of regulating oneself as a learner is a critical area of focus in the company's recent grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. More broadly, the research will focus on how digital courseware can help to close equity gaps in course completion, retention, and performance rates for historically and presently underserved students.

In this brief blog series about metacognition, we’ll explore how students' metacognition impacts their behavior and attitudes in the classroom and, more broadly, in college. It’s part of Macmillan Learning’s commitment to sharing knowledge about what we learn throughout our research. Next month we’ll explore how metacognition impacts behaviors (goal setting, study habits, asking for help) and attitudes (self-efficacy/confidence, grit/productive struggle, intrinsic motivation.)

Learn more about Macmillan Learning’s partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.