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  • Metacognitive Concept&Theory

Before applying on the study process, the definition and knowledge of metacognition should be grasped first through the literature review in order to assist further practical steps. The expression of “metacognition” is developed more by the American psychologist, John Flavell. According to Flavell (1979), “metacognition” refers to “thinking about thinking”. To explain further of this concept, metacognition is usually broadly defined as knowledge that related to cognitive process and result, or any cognitive activities of cognitive process adjustment; because of its core of “thinking of thinking”, it is called “metacognition”. (Flavell, 1985) In the initial concepts that raised by Flavell, metacognition is divided into two aspects, which are “metacognition knowledge” and “metacognition experience/regulation”. 

Referring to Flavell (1979), “metacognition knowledge consists primarily of knowledge or beliefs about what factors or variables act and interact in what ways to affect the course and outcome of cognitive enterprises (p.907).” This aspect can be separated into three variables which are person, task and strategy. Knowledge of person variables means common knowledge related to how people study and process information, and also the individual knowledge of an individual’s learning procedure, while knowledge of task variables encompass understanding about the nature of the task and the sort of processing demands that it will place upon the individual. The final variables, strategy, refers to knowledge related to both cognitive and metacognitive strategies, and the conditional knowledge about when and where it is suitable to use the strategies. (Livingston, 2003) As for the second aspect, metacognitive experiences can be explained as conscious reflections about the cognitive process. (Moritz & Lysaker, 2018) According to Alias and Sulaiman (2017), the concepts and elements of “metacognition” are organized into a chart in Figure 1 which can show the structure of metacognition clearly.

After Flavell raised the “metacognition” term in 1979, there are more studies and explanation with adjustments related to this knowledge from various scholar. Brown raised another explanation of metacognition in 1980s, which divided this concept into “knowledge about cognition” and “regulation of cognition”. (Louca, 2003) Knowledge about cognition refers general cognitive knowledge, individual cognitive situation and understanding on individual and surrounded environment’s interaction of a learner. Regulation of cognition is the executive control of a learner, which includes planning, monitoring and checking. (Pang & Lee, 2008). In addition, Cross and Paris (1988) defined metacognition as “the knowledge and control children have over their own thinking and learning activities, including reading” (p. 131). They then divided this concept into two mental activities, which are “self-appraised knowledge about cognition” and “self-management of one’s thinking”. (Cross & Paris, 1988)

  • Metacognition vs. Cognition

Although the concepts of metacognition and cognition seems two individual terms, their relationship is inseparable. Alias and Sulaiman (2017) mention that metacognition is a sort of cognition and therefore metacognition is always with cognition. This shows the close linkage between these two concepts. According to Livingston (2003), she mentioned that Flavell admits that there may not have difference between metacognitive knowledge and cognitive knowledge, and it all depends on the way of the information used. In order to analyze their relationship, the comparison on the definition of these two terms can be done. Cognition refers to the utilization of conscious mental procedures, which includes memory, coding, information processing, creative thinking, critical thinking and decision making, etc. (Cambridge Dictionary; Pang & Lee, 2008) The relationship of cognition and metacognition may be progressive, as cognition is the basic conscious while the metacognition is the higher level conscious happening after the cognition, as well as the monitoring of it. Referring to Alias and Sulaiman (2017), they indicate “metacognition uses HOTS (high order thinking skills) to monitor both LOTS (low order thinking skills) and HOTS cognitive processes and the monitoring can only be efficient and effective with adequate understanding of metacognition. (p. 24)” This proves the progressive relationship between the two terms that metacognition is a higher-level ability to organize and monitor cognition of a person.

  • Metacognitive Strategies

Metacognition Strategies is the important element in metacognition concept, which has linkage with the metacognition knowledge and experience on improving one’s metacognition ability. Referring to Trigueros, Aguilar-Parra, Lopez-Liria, Cangas, González and Álvarez (2020), “metacognition strategies are those that allow students to observe their own learning process using various resources that serve to plan, monitor, and evaluate their own progress. (p. 2)” According to Brown’s structure of metacognition, the regulation of cognition, which is the executive control, includes the planning, monitoring and checking (evaluating) elements. (Pang & Lee, 2008) These three elements divide the metacognition strategies to various direction on assisting the metacognition application in different fields. Therefore, different specific strategies will be discussed at the following according to these three perspectives. The usage of each strategy will be analyzed on students’ study, especially in design field.

       a. Planning Strategy (e.g. planning; time management )

The usage of planning will make people to clarify the purpose of solving a problem, which is also a kind of metacognitive activity. (Alias & Sulaiman, 2017) Therefore, planning before learning or designing may help students’ on grasping more about their objectives or aims on their action, which can contribute to a learning progess with strong sense of goal achieving. According to Brown, Chanpione and Day (1981), there are four points to be considered while designing a learning plan that are available strategies (general and specific) for learning activities, characteristics of the learner, nature of the materials and the aim and purpose of the learning activity. To be more detailed, Hargrove (2007) points out some specific steps on planning in the metacognition regulation:

  1. Stating a goal

  2. Selecting operations to perform

  3. Sequencing operations

  4. Identifying potential obstacles/errors

  5. Identifying ways to recover from obstacles/errors Predicting results desired and/or anticipated (p.63)

These methods can be also applied into every design learning and practices, especially before a design project is going to start as it can become an all-rounded preparation to ensure design process goes smoothly.

       b. Monitoring Strategy (e.g. observing; judging; enquiring; communicating)

Metacognitive monitoring is a monitoring to cognitive process, which includes self-evaluation, self-correction, change of strategies and planning again, etc. (Pang & Lee, 2008) Besides, monitoring includes the ability to perceive, acknowledge and measure process toward a person’s objectives. (Hargrove, 2012) While adopting this concept to design, it has vital effect on the design achievements. Referring to Hargrove (2012), students can be able to ensure themselves on track to achieve their project aims with the monitoring on usage of creative strategies. During the monitoring process, students can ask question such as “How do I make sure that I do not make mistakes?” (Alias & Sulaiman, 2017) At the following, different strategies on monitoring will be discussed.

       c. Evaluating Strategy (e.g. theorizing)

Metacognition evaluating is the evaluation to cognitive activities, which aims to achieve cognitive mission effectively. (Pang & Lee, 2008) To be more detailed, evaluating means the assessment on learners’ recent knowledge status, encompassing tracking of their attention as they study, and self-testing and enquiring, and this occurs continuously (before, within and after a task). (Lawanto, 2010) Choi (2006) indicates that “the purpose of metacognition evaluation is to encourage students to think about such problems (e.g. poor performance) by reflecting upon themselves through self-evaluation. (p.277)” According to Hargrove (2007), the operation of evaluation includes the fellow elements:

  1. Evaluating goal achievement

  2. Judging accuracy and adequately of the results 

  3. Evaluating appropriateness of procedures used 

  4. Assessing handling of obstacles/errors

  5. Judging efficiency of the plan and its execution (p. 63)

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