Expounding a bit on Saundra’s excellent and accurate point regarding the link between metacognition and motivation: 

The research — researchers have linked metacognition to locus of control (LOC), which is the degree to which students perceive they control their “academic” circumstances. Many students enter college with an external LOC, which means they tend to blame external factors such as the professor, the test questions, etc., for their lack of success. Metacognition, or students’  ability to regulate their learning directly impacts students locus of control. It has the capacity to shift students to an internal LOC, which is when they began to take more responsibility for their learning. (Additional note: Metacognition is also linked to self-efficacy, critical thinking, self-regulation, among other key markers of academic success.)

The reality — While serving as a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC evaluator and QEP consultant) with two different schools who are implementing a metacognitive Quality Enhancement Plan, I’ve witnessed the construct shift faculty and students to an internal LOC. Throughout the trainings, the faculty realized that they were much more responsible for and capable of impacting students’ learning and performance. By adjusting their role in the teaching and learning equation, and incorporating metacognitive strategies in their instructional routine, students’ began to improve their metacognitive abilities. This produced a symbiotic relationship in which the students were  able to go better marshal and manage their cognitive skills as they worked to meet the course outcomes. 

Students began shifting their focus from “making grades” to learning the material; and as this shift occurred, the students’  grades improved. Funny how that works!  This is another example of metacognition impacting motivation/LOC.  As the students switched from focusing on grades (something they couldn’t immediately control) to managing and measuring their interactions with the academic content (something they can control) they were became empowered learners. 

In research terms: operating from an internal locus of control enhanced their motivation, improved their self-efficacy and helped developed them as independent, self-directed learners. As they deepened their interaction with content, their capacity to mentally represent information, particularly at deep levels, improved.  This significant enhancement of their mental representation skills enabled them to perform better in rigorous courses.  

As Saundra is known for saying, “Metacognition is Key!” It is a threshold construct that triggers and aligns many critical learning components. 
Leonard Geddes Business Owner, The LearnWell Projects
Tel: 1-866-337-3030 <tel:>
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On 3/2/16, 10:52 AM, "Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals on behalf of Saundra Y McGuire" <[log in to unmask] on behalf of [log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hello Listers,

I've been following with great interest the thread on motivation, and I want to second what Nic wrote.  Many of our students are not "unmotivated" (they're very motivated to play video games, text their friends, hang out on Facebook, etc.), but they're just not motivated to do what we want them to do (take a study skills course or invest lots of time in their learning activities).  Nic alludes to some of the reasons this might be the case.  (I LOVE the term "motivated inaction"; I'd never heard this before.)

Now this is where Barbara's email becomes so important.  I've found over the years that students (and tutors and faculty) respond extremely positively to information about metacognitive learning strategies.  I've seen students who appeared to be VERY unmotivated to study become very motivated when they learn the specific metacognitive strategies that will lead to success.  And no one gives a clearer message about this than Leonard Geddes.  I too highly recommend his website ( Faculty like the information because it gives them a perspective they have not seen before, and students like it because it helps them understand how to regulate their own learn, with a high probability for success.

I've found that students don't respond well to "study skills", so we changed our language to call it learning strategies.  Believe it or not, it made a difference in student interest.  And if you tell them that you're going to teach them Metacognitive learning strategies" they really perk up.  And I find it works extremely well with underprepared students because it gives them hope and a way forward.  I also highly recommend Kathleen Gabriel's book on Teaching Unprepared Students.  

So I would encourage all of us to consider changing our language -- what we teach is not just "study skills", it's a way of approaching learning that will lead to student success.  Students, tutors and faculty find this approach refreshing and engaging, and it motivates them to change behavior.

Happy Hump Day!

Saundra McGuire, Ph.D. 
Author, Teach Students How to Learn (Info at 
(Ret) Assistant Vice Chancellor  & Professor of Chemistry
Director Emerita, Center for Academic Success
Louisiana State University

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Barbara Weisfeld
Sent: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 7:19 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Student Centered Success

Hello Colleagues:

I am happy to share a huge learning opportunity for students!  Leonard Geddes from the Learnwell Projects, recently made his third trip to Canada to share his knowledge and experience of using metacognitive strategies in both the classroom and tutoring environments. 
I first met Leonard at the 2013 CRLA Conference in Boston.  In May, 2015, the Learning Specialist Association of Canada brought him as a keynote to our conference at the University of Guelph.  In October 2015, Leonard returned to Toronto where both Humber College and Centennial College shared his time and expertise over three days.  During that visit, Leonard presented to a small group of faculty and peer and professional tutors and then spent the afternoon training our tutors.  Following that visit Leonard returned to Centennial College on February 16 on an invitation from the Dean and Chairs of the School of Advancement to address 150+ faculty, learning strategists, staff and tutors as they recognized the value this would bring to our English and Liberal Arts classroom experience. 
The feedback received was overwhelmingly positive.  Leonard engaged the room in discussion and provided insight from the student perspective while delivering immediate strategies that could be introduced in the classroom and tutoring setting.
Since the visit last week, I understand that some of our faculty have been in touch with Leonard to carry on the conversation, our Learning Strategists have reported successful use of the strategies with students and our tutors are excited about using the materials in their sessions. 
Highly recommended!
Barbara Weisfeld

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