#beyondreflection: 3 Web Tools for Encouraging Metacognition

Concurrent Session 1
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Brief Abstract

This session will explore the need for metacognition in online and hybrid environments and provide participants with a hands-on exploration of three different web 2.0 tools that can be used to engage students in metacognitive practices.  Metacognitive question starters and examples and ideas connected to practice will be shared.


Dr. Kelly Keane is the program director for the Educational Technology at Loyola University Maryland. She teaches graduate level educational technology courses to practicing teachers and her teaching style is based in active and collaborative learning. She is a QM certified peer reviewer and passionate about Universal Design for Learning in the online classroom. Prior to joining the faculty at Loyola, Dr. Keane was a lecturer at Towson University for the Department of Educational Technology and Literacy. While at Towson University, she also worked as the assistant manager for the Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers to Use Technology (PT3) Grant. She began her career as a classroom teacher and has taught in award winning elementary schools in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Extended Abstract


Since the early 1980’s, metacognition, or thinking about one’s thinking, has been used to improve learning processes (Baker & Brown, 1984; Flavell, 1985).  Identified as one of the key findings by the National Academy of Sciences’ (2000) amalgamation of research about how people learn, metacognition has been proven to be an effective way to approach instruction.  The American Institutes for Research (2010) define metacognition as “one’s ability to use prior knowledge to plan a strategy for approaching a learning task, take necessary steps to problem solve, reflect on and evaluate results, and modify one’s approach as needed” (p.1).  Metacognition aides in helping learners gain an awareness beyond the subject matter, develops an awareness of one’s own strengths and limitations, and helps individuals monitor their own learning strategies and resources (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000).  Additionally, metacognition assists learners with the process of understanding what is required to complete specific learning tasks, helps them identify and correct errors along the way, and prepares them for future accomplishments and learning.  Fogarty (1994) identifies the following three reasons to teach metacognitive strategies:  to develop in students a deeper understanding of the content and its context, to promote students’ thinking to a higher level, and to point students into adulthood, whereby they are able to transfer their metacognitive capacities into their personal lives.  

Metacognition in the Online/Hybrid Environment

As a result of the autonomy and self-regulation needed to learn and succeed in online and hybrid learning environments, it is essential for learners to understand how they learn best and which practices and strategies and most useful for them.  They then must apply this knowledge to their own learning.  Developing such a metacognitive awareness is fundamental to online learning and will be the focus of this session.  The power of metacognition is enhanced by the unique composition of the online and hybrid learning environments where learners must possess a high level of self-determination and a greater awareness of their own abilities, strengths and weaknesses, thought processes, and learning strategies.  Metacognitive instruction should therefore be embedded into the learning environment.  Harnessing the power of various Web 2.0 tools that engage learners in active audio, visual, and participatory styles while posing metacognitive tasks and questions is one such way to enable this effort.  

Session Description & Outcomes

This participatory express workshop will describe the need for metacognition in online and hybrid environments as grounded in current research, and will provide participants with a hands-on exploration of three different free Web 2.0 tools that can be used to engage students in metacognitive practices.  The Web 2.0 tools include (1) Vocaroo, an audio recording program, (2) Movenote, an interactive slide-based program that allows users to record audio and video, and (3) Letsrecap, a video response and reflection app and website.  Metacognitive question starters and examples and ideas connected to practice will be shared, along with a tour of each of the Web 2.0 tools.  The content presented will be general enough to be applied across disciplines and will address all ages within the K-12 spectrum.  Participants will also be encouraged to complete a brief metacognitive exercise using one of the presented Web 2.0 tools so they can experience it from the student perspective.  Specific outcomes are as follows:  

  • Participants of the session will be able to identify how metacognitive practices enhance student understanding, particularly in the hybrid or online environment.

  • Participants of the session will be exposed to 3 different technology tools that can be used in a metacognitive capacity.

  • Participants will gain an understanding of how to use each of these technology tools in a metacognitive capacity from the student as well as instructor perspective.

  • Participants will be able to consider what a metacognitive approach to their discipline might include based in the online/hybrid environment.


American Institutes for Research & TEAL Center Staff.  (2010).  Metacognitive processes.  Retrieved from https://teal.ed.gov/sites/default/files/Fact-Sheets/4_TEAL_Metacognitive...   

Baker, L., & Brown, A.  (1984).  Metacognitive skills and reading.  In Paul David Pearson, Michael L. Kamil, Rebecca Barr, & Peter Mosenthal (Eds.), Handbook of research in reading: Volume III (pp. 353–395).  New York: Longman.

Bransford, J., Brown, A., & Cocking, R.  (2000).  How people learn:  Brain, mind, experience, and school.  Washington, DC:  National Academy Press.

Flavell,  John H. (1985). Cognitive development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Fogarty, R. (1994).  How to teach for metacognition.  Palatine, IL: IRI/Skylight Publishing.