Mcguire’s 10 metacognitive learning strategies are very resourceful and helpful for students to study. The two that I currently use include taking notes by hand in class, as well as doing homework without using solved examples as a guide. I feel that this is effective because students need to learn how to understand material without guidance of previous work they have done. If they use a guide that has problems that have already been solved, then they are just simply copying and not retaining any knowledge. Notes in class help too because when a student physically has to write notes, they learn more rather then giving them printed notes that they might never read. These strategies I use are both a study skill and a metacognitive skill because they enforce the student to learn as well as help obtain the knowledge they need in the course. To increase retention by 5-10% we can use at least five of these strategies. This way is one strategy is not effective then we have four other ones to use and see if it aids a student more.
Students can apply these principles right away. This does not have to be successful right away. If students simply breakdown study sessions into 1 hour sections with breaks every 15 minutes, they could experience less burnout. Furthermore, homeworks don’t have to be perfect the first time around. Mistakes are learning strategies, too.
Something I have started to experiment with is using some of these strategies in an organic manner in the classroom environment. This meant my teaching style had to be adjusted, but have found some success in making the process intuitive by breaking lectures into a series of micro lectures that are interlaced with short in-class exercises that build in complexity. The students are asked to work in teams allowing them to review the concepts right after they are introduced and teach each other.
1. I have used similar techniques to Strategy 6 “Go to class and take notes” and Strategy 10 “Homework and Quizes as clues”.
By using homework and quizes, the students get to focus on the main concepts of the subject through the written word and sketches, since CMCE 2457 – Construction Techniques in Civil Engineering focuses on the materials and methods used in the construction process. The students could use homework, tests and the text to refer to, so if it was not fully understood during the lecture they could find it in the text to clarify it. I also use Defined Key Terms of the subject matter to use as a reference. (e.g. Explain Deep Foundations – Shallow Foundations – Grade Beams etc.)
With respect to strategy 6, I have always encouraged students to take hand written notes and to keep them for future reference; however, a check once or twice during the semester doesn’t seem to be enough. I will try to make part of their grade. McGuire’s study (strategy #3) shows that students will have to paraphrase when they take notes. This may also lead the students to learn to paraphrase them that their computers are a tool not a crutch.
2. One example of the learning strategies that I may use in CMCE 2457 is to re-struture my lecture notes to provide basic information in my lecture notes, where students will have to go to the text or homework assignments more often to complete or supplement the information when studying for a test.
3. I intend to introduce them to the Metacognitive learning strategy in the first class by explaining that all class materials can be found in the lecture notes, text (which I always have as required reading), homework etc. I will stress, as always, that copying from a friend is not going to help them learn; however, I have found that students don’t try to help friends or teach them, they tend to copy from them (right or wrong) to get their work submitted on time.
4. In order to increase retention of materials in the fall, we can try to implement the minimum number of strategies, monitor the initial outcomes to see what works, and introduce other strategies in future semesters. We can present it to all students and focus on the few that are struggling, since the tracking of information may be a little too much to accomplish and complete the course syllabus.
Referencing the course you previously mapped in chapter 4 and reviewing McGuires metacognitive learning strategies, what are the top two that you are currently using or will consider using in the fall. Provide one example of the learning strategies customized for your course. When you introduce this strategy to your students, will you refer to it as a study skill or metacognitive strategy? Why? How can we use these learning strategies to meet our goal of increasing retention 5-10% starting in the fall?