Meta-Learning

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about meta-learning.

The idea of meta-learning came from Donald B. Maudsley (1979) in the field of social psychology. Maudsley described meta-learning as “the process by which learners become aware of and increasingly in control of habits of perception, inquiry, learning, and growth that they have internalized”.  Later on, Jon Biggs (1985) simplified it by saying it as a state of “being aware of and taking control of one’s own learning.” More recently, Jay Cross has an entire site dedicating to meta-learning at the Meta-Learning Lab.

When it comes to e-learning, it is even more important to focus on the process of learning – how to improve it, self-correct it, and benchmark against best practices. Often times, in self-paced, individualized e-learning environment, with the absence of a tutor, learners are required to self-direct and self-regulate one’s own learning. This is where honing in meta-learning skills will come in handy.

Here are some ideas and the corresponding tools/technologies that would help with applying meta-learning online:

Setting learning goals Use Remember the Milk to set your goals and check them off. You can break it down into micro-level: e.g. goal today is to watch two YouTube videos relating to your learning topic and read 30 pages on a particular book.
Reflect on what you learned Blog about your learning experiences in Blogger and invite others to comment. Access discussion forums.
Monitor your own progress Digital flash cards can help you review and benchmark how well you are learning a certain concept. Try StudyBlue, they are fairly easy to use and quick to set up.
Keep track of your learning Take copious notes using Evernote,bookmark and annotate sites you visited with Delicious.
Collaborate with others/seek out peer reviews and supports Use an online collaboration tool such as Google Docs
Sharing what you’ve learned with your peers Share your ideas on Slideshare, or on a wiki tool like Wikispaces.
Learn in a holistic way Follow subject matter experts and thought-leaders in your field in Twitter, subscribe to Google Reader on topics that are relevant to your learning.
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