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Do Metacognitive Instruction and Repeated Reflection Improve Outcomes?

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Renee Clark University of Pittsburgh

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Renee Clark is Research Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering and Director of Assessment for the Engineering Education Research Center (EERC) in the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. She conducts education research that focuses on active learning and engineering professional development. Renee's current research includes the use of adaptive learning and systematic reflection in the mechanical engineering flipped classroom to drive pre-class preparation and metacognitive development, respectively. She received the Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and the MS in Mechanical Engineering from Case Western. She has 30 years of experience as an engineer, IT analyst, and researcher in industry and academia. She completed her post-doctoral studies in engineering education at the University of Pittsburgh.

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Autar Kaw University of South Florida

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Autar Kaw is a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of South Florida. He is a recipient of the 2012 U.S. Professor of the Year Award (doctoral and research universities) from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching. His primary scholarly interests are in engineering education research, adaptive, blended, and flipped learning, open courseware development, composite materials mechanics, and higher education's state and future. His work in these areas has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Florida Department of Transportation, and Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Funded by National Science Foundation, under his leadership, he and his colleagues from around the nation have developed, implemented, refined, and assessed online resources for open courseware in Numerical Methods ( This courseware annually receives 1,000,000+ page views, 2,000,000+ views of the YouTube lectures, and 90,000+ visitors to the "numerical methods guy" blog. This body of work has also been used to measure the impact of the flipped, blended, and adaptive settings on how well engineering students learn content, develop group-work skills and perceive their learning environment. He has written more than 150 refereed technical papers, and his opinion editorials have appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, the Tampa Tribune, and the Chronicle Vitae.

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Rasim Guldiken University of South Florida

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When students repeatedly reflect on their learning, academic practices, and performance, it can enhance their metacognitive abilities, which include the self-regulatory skills of planning, monitoring, and evaluating their learning for lifelong purposes. Metacognition can be described as “knowing about one’s knowing” or “thinking about one’s thinking.” In a Fluid Mechanics course for undergraduates at a large southeastern university, in-class problem-solving in a flipped classroom was coupled with intentional metacognitive skills instruction and repeated reflection to enhance student metacognition. As part of this NSF IUSE study, intentional, step-by-step instruction in planning, monitoring, and evaluation was provided in conjunction with weekly problems to support metacognitive skills development and problem-solving skills. Each week, students intentionally planned, monitored, and evaluated their problem-solving and were asked to reflect in writing about these self-regulatory skills used during their problem-solving efforts. For example, the following planning reflection was posed during week 4: How can I do a better job on this week’s in-class problem-solving based on my work on the in-class problems during weeks 1-3? The following evaluation question was later asked during week 8: What have I learned from working on the in-class exercises in Fluids since the start of the semester? Each week, the reflective responses were coded by two analysts using a structured content analysis to identify the recurring themes and patterns in the themes over time. Results obtained from a subset of the reflections covering planning, monitoring, and evaluation are presented and discussed to illustrate the serious nature of the students’ reflections, the recurring themes, and evidence of the development and/or reinforcement of self-regulating behaviors for academic management. To enable assessment of the impacts of the systematic reflection, a flipped classroom was also implemented (during a different semester) for this course, but without the metacognitive instruction and repeated reflection (i.e., metacognitive support). The two cohorts completed similar final exams. Statistical analysis was done to compare the two cohorts in terms of final exam scores. A separate analysis was completed for the multiple-choice versus the free-response questions on the final exam. A statistically and practically-significant difference between the two cohorts was found with the free-response scores in favor of the cohort that had received the metacognitive support (p < 0.0005; d = 0.97). Preliminary results are discussed in this paper along with lessons learned, including lessons related to asking reflection questions related to planning, monitoring, and evaluation.

Clark, R., & Kaw, A., & Guldiken, R. (2022, August), Do Metacognitive Instruction and Repeated Reflection Improve Outcomes? Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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