Learning to Learn

The inability of first year college students to activate Self-regulated Learning Behaviours (SLB) while solving mathematics problems significantly impacted their performance. More specifically, these deficits in the learning process resulted in students’ disengagement and poor academic performance in the discipline. A review of scholarly literature suggested that meta-cognitive training may help to reduce these deficits. The purpose of this study was to describe the effects of meta-cognitive training on students’ SLB and academic performance in mathematics. I conducted an Action Research over twelve weeks. Data collection methods included: survey, meta-cognitive analysis framework developed from literature, students’ journals, teacher’s observation, and formative tests. This study focused on students’ adaptation and execution of four SLB: planning, monitoring, controlling and evaluation, embedded in Polya’s (1954) three stage approach to problem solving. Findings indicated that students who were equipped with meta-cognitive skill sets were better able to diagnose their learning and remedy their deficits in knowledge. It is concluded that meta-cognitive training increases the frequency at which students exercise SLB in solving mathematics problems and improve mathematics performance. It is recommended that first year college students who are pursuing advanced mathematics be introduced to meta-cognitive training.

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