Metacognition- thinking about our own thinking
Learning requires understanding how to process information and apply it to real world situations. I have heard the brain called a ‘sponge’. Great metaphor for imagining knowledge being soaked up… But what do you do with a sponge after it has absorbed as much as it can? You squeeze it out.
The same happens with memorizing facts and data. When we study to get an A on a test we push in information by memorizing it for in the short term. This squeezes out other information that has been processed that way. I mean, a sponge can only hold so much! We don’t want this to happen after all that hard studying. We want to retain our learning.
That is where metacognition comes in. We actually want to ‘soak up’ knowledge and retain. In order to do so it is important to understand how best to learn and then use those learning strategies. Tools like reflective writing, questioning, discussion, quizzes or application real scenarios helps take facts to deeper level. Organize, set goals, practice while you learn, ask questions as you learn. Build on prior knowledge and discard prior assumptions that don’t fit.
Active learning is about understanding how you think and utilizing the best process for you as a learner.
After all aren’t most sponges for cleaning!