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Title: The individual and social complexities of metacognition in education-based learning
Author: Kelly, Danielle
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 2702
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2018
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Metacognition, the knowledge and regulation of our cognitions, is an essential part of our learning. Metacognition has been linked to academic performance at all levels of education. Metacognitive skills, however, are likely to differ depending on that level. The current thesis aims to address four key questions. Firstly, how do metacognitive skills differ between undergraduate and postgraduate education? The metacognitive experiences and skills of 20 doctoral students were examined through semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis indicated that, whilst doctoral students score above average on metacognitive skills questionnaires, doctoral students’ metacognitive development is influenced by peer interaction and environment. Considering the findings presented at postgraduate level, the second question addressed was what role does social context play in metacognition at undergraduate level? The relationship was measured using both experimental and self-report measures in a first-year undergraduate population. The findings suggested that first year students are not capable of working effectively with others. The lack of capability stems, in part, from normative beliefs suggesting that the participants’ peers think in a similar way to them. These relationships could also be due to individual differences, for example personality. The third question addressed, therefore, was do individual differences play a part in these relationships? Self-report measures of metacognition and personality were administered to undergraduates in all years of study. Correlational and moderation analyses indicated that conscientiousness plays a role in the implementation of metacognition in the later years of study. First-year performance, in comparison, was strongly related to extraversion, suggesting that the previous relationships found between social context and metacognition could potentially be impacted by a person’s personality. Finally, can we implement the information achieved here into an intervention to improve the metacognitive skills of secondary school students? An intervention designed to promote metacognitive skills in group contexts was implemented in a secondary school classroom of 20. The intervention lasted for 6 weeks. By the end of the intervention, analysis of Think Aloud Protocols indicated a marked difference in student’s problem-solving ability and their communication skills. Overall, the findings support the idea that metacognitive skills differ between levels and years of study. Yet, the role of social context and individual differences in metacognition could be key to improving academic performance at all levels of education.
Supervisor: Donaldson, David ; Watt, Roger Sponsor: Higher Education Academy
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Metacognition ; Social Metacognition ; Individual Differences ; Academic Performance ; Higher Education ; Postgraduate Learning ; Metacognition--Study and teaching ; Education, Higher ; Graduate students--Study skills