Meta-cognitive Skills


“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”


Meta-cognitive skills present a language tool which has proven successful for decades.  Simply stated, this enviable tool utilizes higher order cognitive skills to oversee the handling of other cognitive skills and encompasses goal setting, selecting appropriate learning strategies, as well as monitoring personal progress (Jiuhuan & Newbern, 2012).  In this post you’ll find resources to equip you in maximizing adult learning through the utilization of meta-cognitive skills.

Highlight Important Information

In one study (Jiuhuan & Newbern, 2012) examining two separate Basic Literacy III classes at an adult learning center, a meta-cognitive skill consisting of highlighting important information such as the what, who, what happened, where, and why within a text was utilized.  Adults also expressed favor in re-reading parts of a text to enhance understanding, reading around an unknown word in search of clues, as well as reading the title to gather main ideas.  From the study, five persons were interviewed from which a majority reported improved performance and confidence in the target activity (Jiuhuan & Newbern, 2012).

Reflect on Personal Thinking and Learning 

As adults pause to reflect, they are able to benefit from increased understanding into how learning takes place.  By looking inward and to one’s surroundings, adults may discover how they learn as an individual as well as how those around them are prone to learn.  In response, these adults are equipped with data which informs how to best adjust learning in order to learn in an efficient manner.  Here you’ll find twenty learning strategies to aid students in improving one’s learning experience.

First, encourage students to organize and plan their future learning.  During this stage adults may set goals, outline a content sequence, and determine how best to accomplish desired learning.  Next, have adults manage learning as they determine how to best learn while arranging present conditions to improve their learning experience.  Monitoring can then unfold as students check personal progress and evaluate individual comprehension and production of a target language.  Finally, learners should both evaluate how well they’ve accomplished the task and applied learning strategies, as well as critically analyze the effectiveness of strategies employed.

Set Goals and Monitor Personal Progress 

Here you’ll find an ideal toolkit for guiding your adult learners in selecting relevant and personal goals.  Instruments inside this toolkit will equip students to not only set goals, but also explore feelings, revisit goals, and celebrate goal achievement.

Or print these lesson plans to start your students this week setting goals for success!

Perhaps you’re wondering where to start, or when to begin setting future goals.  Ronna shares with us a concise six step outline which guides one from first incorporating goal setting into initial classroom lessons, through to creating follow-up activities which check student progress.

Know the Learner

Remember it’s adults we are working with.  Pedagogy is replaced with andragogy!  Here you’ll find an article from CoreNet Global which outlines how the adult learns as well as suggests presentation techniques to encourage maximum learning among adults.