This week’s readings were an interesting look at complex cognition—the readings also happened to be extremely beneficial to me as I am writing my literature review for this class on an aspect of metacognition! Great timing! For that reason and since I am interested in looking into this topic for additional research opportunities, it was great to read more about the theoretical framework and the seminal researchers in this field. Complex cognition requires a multifaceted approach and I like how Martinez divided chapter five into the significant cognitive areas of problem solving, critical thinking, inferential reasoning, and creative thinking with the underlying concept of metacognition related to all as well as tying each of the elements together.
Martinez broke down each of these facets of cognition, defining problem solving as pursing an uncertain path, critical thinking as evaluating ideas for quality, inferential reasoning as using available information to generate a conclusion, and creative thinking—as Martinez pointed out, a difficult one to define—as unstructured thinking processes. I liked the view of metacognition as linked but independent of these knowledge processes, an outside look at what we know and how we are learning.
All of these “habits of the mind” or “thinking dispositions” have important considerations when planning instructional design and I think Osman and Hannafin’s (1992) literature review did a good job providing an overview of these instructional design applications. It makes sense that trying to engage metacognition in the classroom itself can overload the working memory so that these principles are most useful for older, more experienced learners. In this article, the authors recommend using Embedded Content-Dependent Strategies, Embedded Content-Independent Strategies, Detached Content-Dependent Strategies, or Detached Content-Independent Strategies, with the instructional designer applying the strategies based on teaching method, content, and how far the material should transfer. I think it is important to engage these self-reflective thoughts when teaching—they are particularly relevant to me as I teach information literacy. My goal is always to instill self-control training where learners are self-sufficient and are able to independently employ, monitor, and evaluate their learning strategies.
My progress in class is moving along slowly. I have been feeling like there are significant numbers of articles that are essential for my literature review and it is a lot to read in addition to the weekly course readings. Even with the overlap in my review topic and the course readings for this week, it is still a lot. It even gave me more ideas of where to search and additional articles I should consider including. I am struggling with limiting these articles by identifying the trends and allowing the literature to naturally focus my topic. I definitely need to work on targeting the areas that will be featured in my literature review, but I get distracted by all the interesting side issues I discover! The data analysis worksheet is a helpful tool that I hope will allow me simplify and reduce my workload. I knew the literature review would be a lot of work, but I am only now beginning to understand what that actually means!