Metacognitive Knowledge in Relation to Inquiry Skills and Knowledge Acquisition Within a Computer-Supported Inquiry Learning Environment

Zrinka Ristić Dedić

Abstract


The study examines two components of metacognitive knowledge in the context of inquiry learning: metatask and metastrategic. Existing work on the topic has shown that adolescents often lacked metacognitive understanding necessary for optimal inquiry learning (Keselman & Kuhn, 2002; Kuhn, 2002a; Kuhn, Black, Keselman, & Kaplan, 2000), but demonstrated that engagement with inquiry tasks may improve it (Keselman, 2003; Kuhn & Pearsall, 1998).
The aim of the study is to investigate the gains in metacognitive knowledge that occur as a result of repeated engagement with an inquiry learning task, and to examine the relationship between metacognitive knowledge and performance on the task.
The participants were 34 eighth grade pupils, who participated in a self-directed experimentation task using the FILE programme (Hulshof, Wilhelm, Beishuizen, & van Rijn, 2005). The task required pupils to design and conduct experiments and to make inferences regarding the causal structure of a multivariable system. Pupils participated in four learning sessions over the course of one month. Metacognitive knowledge was assessed by the questionnaire before and after working in FILE.
The results indicate that pupils improved in metacognitive knowledge following engagement with the task. However, many pupils showed insufficient metacognitive knowledge in the post-test and failed to apply newly achieved knowledge to the transfer task. Pupils who attained a higher level of metacognitive knowledge were more successful on the task than pupils who did not improve on metacognitive knowledge. A particular level of metacognitive understanding is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for successful performance on the task.

Keywords


metacognitive knowledge; inquiry learning; inquiry skills; metacognitive skills; knowledge acquisition

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