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Learning can be defined as the process by which any lasting change in behavior occurs as a result of practice and/or experience. Metacognition is important to learning as it allows people to take charge of their own learning. Learners usually show a growth in self-confidence when they build metacognitive skills because it entails the consciousness of how people learn, an assessment of their learning needs, creates strategies to meet those needs and then implements the strategies (Hacker, et al., 2009). For all people, metacognitive knowledge is key for competent independent learning because it adopts self-reflection and forethought.
To learn a new skill for a job in 6 months I would follow the basic structure of my learning procedure. Firstly, I will pledge gaining information about the specific skill that is required for the organization’s success a priority before the learning process. The nature and methods involved in learning are studied in various fields and may occur as a result of habituation, operant conditioning or as a result of more complex activities such as play.
Learning may occur consciously or unconsciously. Also, there are six interactive components of the learning process: attention, memory, language, processing and organizing, writing and higher order thinking (Thomas, 2010). These processes interact not only with each other, but also with emotions, behavior, classroom climate, social skills, teachers and family (Thomas, 2010). According to Kelly (2012), there are four stages of learning process; unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence and unconscious competence stage.Assuming I want to learn information management skill, the learning process will take place in a four stages and has to be conscious while paying rapt attention, with good memory, simple language, clear writing and critical thinking.
My learning of information management skill will start from the unconscious incompetence stage. At this stage I am simply ignorant or have little experience in what information management is all about. Learning could start with simple introduction to the basic concept of information i.e. the meaning of data, information and knowledge, their differences, similarities and storage medium. I must become conscious of my incompetence before learning can begin and new skill developed. As the process continues, the conscious incompetent stage sets in. I may begin to see how little I know or how deficient I am. The relevance of information management may be identified with little or no knowledge on how to acquire it. I may also discover I use the word data and information interchangeably without knowing the difference. My new interest may create an unrest that will create the zeal in me to know more. Knowing more comes by committing to read and practice the lessons thought. All these may happen in the conscious incompetence stage.As I practice more regularly, I become more knowledgeable and skilled to perform information gathering, information analytics, information security, documentation, etc., At this time my confidence increases with my ability, this is the conscious competence stage. It seems I have mastered it, but true mastery is attained until stage four. In the final stage the skill is so practiced that it enters the unconscious part of my brain and it becomes my second nature, like it’s a habit. At this point I can collect, analyze data, store data, use the information in a secured way to make strategic business decisions. This is the unconscious competence stage. In summary, my skill learning will involve discovering what is required in the task and certain specific components of the task. This is the cognitive stage. In the second stage called association stage’ the skill is achieved with precision and accuracy. Finally, I may not need to think about the various aspects of the task to perform it. At that instance mastery is attained and the skill becomes automatic.Besides, the learning process, the metacognitive concept of knowledge acknowledges that for effective learning to take place, learning tasks must be in place. According to Prabhu (1987), there are three main categories of task: information-gap, reasoning-gap, and opinion-gap. In learning information management skill, information-gap, and reasoning-gap can be very useful. While information-gap involves the transfer of a given information from one person to another (transfer of information through peer learning i.e. between instructor-to-student or student-to-student), reasoning gap involves deriving some new information from given information through processes of inference, deduction, practical reasoning, or a perception of relationships or patterns. An example is deciding what form of information storage medium I may think appropriate for my organization in a given project.Successful learners typically use metacognitive strategies whenever they learn, even if they may fail to use the best strategy in each type of learning condition (Malamed, n.d.). To use the best strategies for successful learning of information management skills, I can; Meaningfully identify the limits of my own memory for a particular task and create a means of external support like using a notepad, PC or a tape recorder. Self-monitor and evaluate my learning progress and strategy, such as the concept used, and then be willing to change the strategy if it is unproductive. Think Aloud and record my thoughts while performing a difficult task. Observe if I am able to comprehend what I read and then modify my approach if I don’t. Ask questions during formal courses and in post-training activities. Undertake personal reflection during and after learning experiences. Choose to skim titles showing unimportant information to get to the information I really need. Choose to solve problems with other members of the class or team. Accept the opportunities to make mistakes or commit errors. Repeatedly practice a skill in order to gain expertise. Intermittently perform self-tests or appraisals to see how well I understood the subject.In conclusion, metacognitive strategy equips learners to become aware of how they learn, assess and adjust the acquired skills to become ever more effective at learning.
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