Metacognition and Empiricism

Learning strategies have been neglected in teaching, according to Bonner. This statement is a point that still stands out after reading this article a week ago.  Outlining what is read is a learning strategy.  Schemata or “how knowledge is represented in memory” and as we learn, our schemata changes or shifts.

Metacognition is a new term and is a way to self-monitor when problem solving or re-reading and re-checking to ensure understanding.  I am very familiar with this process. Understanding learning is one goal of instruction designers, and this seems difficult to achieve.  Cognitive psychologists and instructional designers use different frameworks.  The comparison table provided by Bonner is effective for understanding why there is a conflict.

Empiricism vs. rationalism: how do people come to know or gain knowledge? When reading materials on this topic, I tend to side with the empiricist side. The example provided in the Etmer & Newby on the complex idea of a tree provides perspective on the two positions.  The rationalist view of knowledge about the tree is gained through reflecting on the idea or instance of the tree.  The empiricist view of this same idea is less complex ideas (branches of the tree) building upon one another (wood/fiber to odors and colors).  “From this perspective, critical instructional design issues focus on how to manipulate the environment in order to improve and ensure the occurrence of proper associations” (Etmer & Newby, 1993, p. 54). The way I gain knowledge seems to fall in line with the views of empiricism.  A simple idea is learned, and to build upon this knowledge, I seek supporting ideas.  Each idea builds upon the next, or the idea of sensory impressions connecting to form more complex ideas.  At this point, I don’t have a strong opinion on which I prefer to read. 

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