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Peer Review

Understanding Metacognition

by Greg Gay


Overall Numeric Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 3.75 stars
Effectiveness: 3.75 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Jan 27, 2008 by Psychology
Overview: This site provides the visitor with an example of problem solving and metacognition. In particular, users have the opportunity to engage in a "stencil stacking" task where a judgment call must be made. The site records the user's response and reaction time. Upon completion of the task, results are provided along with an explanation of metacognition and what response times indicate about one's approach to the task.
Type of Material: This material is problem solving and meta-cognition activity with accompanying explanation.
Recommended Uses: This site would probably be best used by students in a cognitive psychology class.
Technical Requirements: None.
Identify Major Learning Goals: This site is designed to provide the user with an understanding of metacognition by having the user engage in a task and then reflect on it. It provides an example of a person's self-talk while confronted with a series of related tasks.
Target Student Population: The target student population is college students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None, although some background information would make the site more useful. The site would best be used to demonstrate metacognition following coverage of the topic.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3.75 stars
Strengths: The site provides the user with personal feedback so as to entice them to be cognizant of their problem-solving approach. Such activities serve to make potentially dry topics more interesting and engaging.
Concerns: The initial 60-item task required time and patience; many visitors may not persist. The explanation of results might be aided by some briefer, bulleted information.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3.75 stars
Strengths: This site would serve well to force students who may not think about their thinking to actually do so. While potentially frustrating, there is a gamelike element that is intriguing. The challenging element may even enhance the effectiveness of the material.
Concerns: Students who do not complete the task will not get the full benefit of the site. While the site provides a shorter task, at the time of this review the 20-item task was not available. In addition, many undergraduates may find the accompanying explanation a bit too detailed.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The site is relatively easy to use and the instructions are offered a 2nd time, should they not be sufficient upon the first viewing.
Concerns: The task may simply be too complicated for some. A more clearly succinct explanation of the study and of metacognition might be nice.

Other Issues and Comments: The site is relatively easy to use and is interesting.