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Learning Outcomes:

1) Students will able to identify ways that they
     learn best   

2) Students will be able to use feedback to
    guide and improve their learning  

3) Students will be able to assess themselves,  
    and use that assessment to further their

4) Students will recognize that they are
    responsible for their own learning.   




                Metacognition can be defined as “thinking about thinking.”  In other words, it refers to a student’s awareness about their learning and their abilities to assess themselves to improve their learning.  Students are often unaware of how to monitor their learning in order to develop more effective study habits as well as learning gains.  Additionally, many students feel overwhelmed by the amount and level of detail of the material of the course and feel unsure as to how to approach studying.  These issues can result in students getting “lost in the woods” with regards to detail and failing to see the connection between important concepts.  Furthermore, students may not be able to use feedback from graded work to improve how well they are learning or may feel discouraged after earning a poor grade.  Therefore, it is useful for instructors and students to engage in activities to increase the student’s metacognition.  The activities listed below can be utilized either during the student’s personal time or during class time to promote discussion.  Many instructors do not have the same struggles as their students with coursework, so it may be difficult to guide them in how to study best or monitor their learning as the course progresses.  These resources can act as a starting point for instructors to guide their students in how they learn.  The instructor also may need to emphasize that it is the student’s responsibility to learn the material.  As the semester progresses, students tend to feel more discouraged if they are not doing well and may blame the instructor for their poor performance.  Consequently, the instructor also may need to emphasize that although they can provide guidance and help with the course material, it is the student’s responsibility to learn the material.    Instructors can also use the information they gain from their students with these resources to understand how their students think and how to improve their students’ motivation in the course.  If the instructor recognizes why students are continually missing important content, then activities can be designed specifically to target those areas.




1)  College Study Tips (

Description:  This web site contains college tips for studying, time management, stress management, note taking, and test taking. The site also contain links for guidelines for writing research papers as well as MLA and APA guidelines. This resource also contains helpful tips for job searches, networking, and interviews.

How to Implement this Resource:  This resource could be utilized to facilitate a discussion within the first couple weeks of the semester or after an exam.Students are often unsure of how to study effectively for a course, so a discussion can help them realize what methods may work best for them.The instructor can also mention the other type of resources on this web site for the students to browse during his or her personal time.



2)  8 Tips for Studying Smarter (

Description:  This article provides several tips for students to have more effective studying. Students often express that they are not sure how to study for exams, so this article could be utilized to form a discussion on study habits.

How to Implement this Resource:  This resource would pair well with any of the other metacognition resources such as The Exam Wrapper or College Study Tips website to further your classroom discussion.


3)  PeerWise Online Student-Generated Multiple Choice Question Repository (

Description:  PeerWise is an online learning tool that affords students the opportunity to create and manage question banks for a given course. Questions are authored, answered, and evaluated by the students. Effective use of PeerWise can result in the creation (by the students) of a valuable study tool (for the students). Courses begin with an empty question bank, and as the term progresses, more and more questions are entered. Each student has the opportunity to author an unlimited number of questions, and can use other student submissions to test their knowledge. Students also are given the opportunity to evaluate, rate, and comment on questions posed by their peers. All submissions appear as anonymous, however, all activity is known to the instructor. (Information modified from Essentially, PeerWise provides a unique opportunity for students to generate their own study materials, requires students to investigate concepts to the degree that they can construct valid questions, and takes no more than a few minutes to set up for any course.

How to Implement this Resource:  In addition to helping create a community within a classroom, PeerWise can be utilized as a way for students to assess themselves throughout the semester.  This exercise is useful in helping students identify what types of questions they are missing to guide their preparation (i.e. Are they missing comprehension/knowledge or application-based questions?  Are they not studying enough for a particular section?).  Student can also provide comments and rate the instructor’s questions so that the instructor is receiving feedback regarding the quality of the questions.



4)  Exam Wrapper (

Description:  This activity is designed to have students reflect on their preparation for an exam. Students answer questions about how much they studied and what they did to study (i.e. read over notes, practice problems, etc.) They are also asked how they could improve their next exam grade. After filling out the worksheet, the class can have a discussion about exam preparation. It is best to do the activity when they already have their results and a copy of the exam. Although this exam wrapper is designed for after the first exam in Bio1113, it can be modified to fit any exam or course.

How to Implement this Resource:  This activity works best when students have access to a physical copy of the exam as well as their answers.  As stated above, this activity is meant to guide a discussion among the class.  Students often will feel discouraged if they have not done well, so they might not be motivated to participate fully in the activity.  Therefore, it is important for the instructor to be encouraging during the discussion as well.



5) Tanner, K.D. 2012. Promoting Student Metacognition. CBE - Life Sciences Education, 11: 113-120

Description: This primary research article provides an excellent overview of the concept of metacognition, and also provides some specific student exercises/self-questioning strategies that can be taught or used by students in order develop metacognitive skill and take a more metacognitive approach to learning, both in and out of the classroom.

For an overview of some great strategies for practicing metacognition, See Tanner, 2012 Table 1 (Click HERE)

...or access the entire resource using the following url: