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Assessing Metacognitive Awareness during Problem-Solving in a Kinetics and Homogeneous Reactor Design Course

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Perspectives and Approaches to Teaching Simulation and Design-Based Courses

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.213.1 - 23.213.14



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Paper Authors


Nelly Ramirez-Corona Universidad de las Americas Puebla

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Dr. Nelly Ramírez-Corona is currently a full-time professor of Chemical Engineering at Chemical, Enviromental and Food Engineering Department, Universidad de las Américas at Puebla, México. Her teaching experience is in the area of Process Dynamics and Control, Kinetics, Catalysis and Reactor Design. She did her undergraduate studies in Chemical Engineering at the Universidad Autónoma de Tlaxcala, México, and his Master and Doctoral studies at the Instituto Tecnológico de Celaya, México. Her research interests are in the field of Process Systems Engineering, and include the analysis and design of thermally coupled and alternative distillation configurations, the design of nonideal distillation systems and the synthesis, optimization and control of chemical process with recycles streams.

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Ramirez Apud Lopez Zaira Universidad de las Americas Puebla

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Zaira Ramírez is Science, Engineering, and Technology Education Ph.D. Student at Universidad de las Americas Puebla in Mexico. She teaches ethics and development complex thinking skills related courses. Her research interests include faculty development, outcomes assessment, and creating effective learning environments.

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Aurelio Lopez-Malo Universidad de las Americas Puebla


Enrique Palou Universidad de las Americas Puebla

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Professor Dr. Palou is director of the Center for Science, Engineering, and Technology Education in the Department of Chemical, Food, and Environmental Engineering at Universidad de las Americas Puebla in Mexico. He teaches engineering, food science, and education related courses. His research interests include emerging technologies for food processing, creating effective learning environments, using tablet PCs and associated technologies to enhance the development of 21st century expertise in engineering students, and building rigorous research capacity in science, engineering and technology education.

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Assessing Metacognitive Awareness during Problem-Solving in a Kinetics and Homogeneous Reactor Design CourseSince practicing engineers are hired, retained, and rewarded for solving problems, engineeringstudents should learn how to solve workplace problems1. However, it is well known that in mostcases, workplace engineering problems are substantively different from the kinds of problemsthat engineering students most often solve in classrooms; therefore, learning to solve classroomproblems does not necessarily prepare engineering students to face the activity they will bepracticing as professionals1, 2. Therefore, we designed and implemented several problem-solvinglearning environments (PSLEs) for the junior course entitled Kinetics and Homogeneous ReactorDesign at University ABC3. Metacognition has been shown to be important for the solution ofmore open-ended and well-structured problems2. Flavell4, 5 distinguished two characteristics ofmetacognition: knowledge of cognition (KC) and regulation of cognition (RC). KC includesknowledge of task, strategy, and personal variables. That is, metacognitive knowledge includesknowledge of the skills required by different tasks, strategic knowledge (knowledge ofalternative learning strategies and when to use them) and self-knowledge (knowledge of one’sabilities and the abilities of others). RC includes the ability to monitor one’s comprehension andto control one’s learning activities. The self-regulation factor of metacognition describesactivities that regulate and oversee learning such as planning (predicting outcomes, schedulingstrategies) and problem-monitoring activities (monitoring, testing, revising and reschedulingduring learning). Self-regulation also involves evaluation.In order to support student metacognitive processing while learning to solve kinetics andhomogeneous reactor design problems, the instructor created a supportive social environment inthe course and inserted a series of question prompts during PSLEs, as a form of coaching wherethe problem to be solved was represented as a case, and cases were used in various ways (workedexamples, case studies, structural analogues, prior experiences, alternative perspectives, andsimulations) as instructional supports. The Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI) designedby Schraw and Dennison6 was utilized as a pre- (first day of classes) post- (last day of classes)test. MAI is a 52-item inventory to measure adults’ metacognitive awareness. Items are classifiedinto eight subcomponents subsumed under two broader categories, KC and RC. Furthermore, inorder to assess metacognitive awareness during problem-solving activities, students had toanswer the corresponding problem as well as 2-3 embedded problem-solving prompts2 and 4-6embedded metacognitive prompts (from MAI).Results for the pre-post MAI show a significant (p0.05) in MAI. Promoting metacognitiveawareness and skills could be a valuable method for improving learning and student performanceduring kinetics and homogeneous reactor design problem-solving, as has been previouslyreported for professional educators7 and dental hygiene students8.[1] Jonassen, D. H., Strobel, J., and Lee, C. B. 2006. Everyday problem solving in engineering: Lessons for engineering educators. Journal of Engineering Education, 95(2): 1–14.[2] Jonassen, D. H. 2011. Learning to Solve Problems: A Handbook for Designing Problem- Solving Learning Environments. Routledge: New York.[3] XXX [For blind review purposes]. 2012. Proceedings of the 2012 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, San Antonio, TX, June 10 – 13.[4] Flavell, J. 1976. Metacognitive aspects of problem-solving. In L. B. Resnick (Ed.), The nature of intelligence (pp. 231–236). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.[5] Flavell, J. 1979. Metacognition and cognitive monitoring: A new area of cognitive- developmental inquiry. American Psychologist, 34(10): 906–911.[6] Schraw, G., and Dennison, R. S. 1994. Assessing metacognitive awareness. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 19: 460-475.[7] Stewart, P. W., Cooper. S. S., and Moulding, L. R. 2007. Metacognitive development in professional educators. The Researcher, 21(1): 32-40.[8] Gassner, L. 2009. Developing metacognitive awareness: a modified model of a PBL-tutorial. Thesis for the Bachelor of Odontology in Oral Health. Malmö University. Sweden.

Ramirez-Corona, N., & Zaira, R. A. L., & Lopez-Malo, A., & Palou, E. (2013, June), Assessing Metacognitive Awareness during Problem-Solving in a Kinetics and Homogeneous Reactor Design Course Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19227

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