metacogs, usability, and the inner game

I was so psyched about watching Char’s presentation from Topic 2 and getting caught up just in time for Topic 3 tomorrow–only to realize that it was actually this morning. I missed it.

I’m bummed out since it’s so late now, but I guess I know now what it means now to really try to commit to a MOOC.

This post isn’t going to be a recap of the presentation, but here are some highlights followed:

  • People start becoming ‘metacognitive’ around age 4
  • It’s a misconception that metacognition is about the self; it’s actually fairly social and is also about how one interprets the thoughts and actions of others
  • Simple strategies for regulation include planning, monitoring, and evaluating yourself while you’re doing something
  • Someone asked about metacognition and the “fight or flight” response; Char made a tentative conclusion that metacognition can help you know what’s appropriate (knowing when to think and knowing when to act), but isn’t committed to that and will look into it
  • Implications for pedagogy (from Schraw & Moshman, 1995)
    • Share rationale for importance
    • Give examples of metacognitive theories
    • Promote (individual/peer) strategies for constructing metacognitive theories
  • And then last but not least (but for the sake of time and space), my favorite chat message:

12:46 PM
metacognition would be difficult, and probably important for someone say, on the autism spectrum to achieve. I keep thinking of it in terms of people with Asperger’s, a need for, and difficulty accomplishing metacognition as well as a lower EQ/EI


Someone made this connection explicit when I presented at ACRL earlier in the year, but usability interviews and UX focus groups are very targeted metacognitive exercises. I’ve conducted or participated in a few, and it must have influenced my course design as I was trying to tackle the metacognitive dimension of learning a year and a half ago. In my credit courses, some of the assignments resemble usability questions, and their purpose is to make students describe and thus become aware of how they interact with different discovery systems.

Oh, and the assignments are coupled with articles that discuss user and information behavior studies in regards to online research behavior. This approach seem to be fairly effective at reducing their initial self-efficacy and then later renewing their confidence when we have them revisit those similar assignments with their new-found awareness. They’re still (perhaps always) a work-in-progress though.

The Inner Game

I really liked that someone brought up the whole “fight or flight” issue. The specific question is whether the “reptilian part of the brain can override the metacognitive.” I’m reminded of previous personal post in which I wrote about The Inner Game:

“…a classic sports psychology book, Timothy Gallwey describes the problem as a conflict between an individual’s Self 1 (what he calls the “ego-mind” or one’s inner coach) and Self 2 (the body or the part of the person executing the action). The goal is to quiet that inner voice, focus on the essential tasks, and calmly let things happen–what most athletes would call “being in the zone.”

Char speculates that metacognition can help people “know” whether to act or think, and I don’t disagree. But I feel like only a person inclined or already accustomed to high stress scenarios would be effective regulators; for the majority of people, it would depend on the context (i.e. training in a specific sport). Otherwise, I’m not quite sure how flexible that metacognitive process is. Thoughts, anyone?

Alright, that’s it for now! My goal is to be caught up in time for Topic 3.2, which is in a week (October is a bit crammed).

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