thing 19: Metacognition


Whereas the Standards only attended to the cognitive & behavioral dimensions of learning, the Framework takes a more holistic approach by also giving attention to the affective and metacognitive elements of learning. This “thing” is focused on the relationship between metacognition and information literacy and how we can incorporate metacognition into our teaching practice. Instead of offering a reading to get you started thinking about this, we’ve invited some librarians to record a short video sharing their thoughts & experiences about metacognition & teaching:

The videos were recorded using FlipGrid and respond to 2 questions:

  1. Why is metacognition important to information literacy?
  2. How have you incorporated metacognition into your teaching practice?

Watch the videos, which are all under 90 seconds, by clicking this link.  The grid password is: 23Frames  

To see videos with captions, follow the links below:

  1. Question 1 (videos with captions)
  2. Question 2 (videos with captions)


Record your own video (up to 90 seconds):

1. Responding to one of the of the questions above


2. In dialogue with one of the video responses already posted


3. Sharing your ideas/inspiration of how you plan to incorporate metacognition into your teaching practice

We’d love for your responses to be in video format, but if you’re feeling shy, feel free to respond in the comments below.

Questions about how to use FlipGrid? Contact Amy Mars, or check-out FlipGrid’s support site.

Thanks to our metacognition experts for getting us started by sharing their videos!

  • Susan Ariew, Academic Services Librarian for Education & Philosophy at University of South Florida / Tampa Library and co-author of new article, “Revisiting Metacognition and Metaliteracy in the ACRL Framework” published in Communications in Information Literacy.
  • Trudi Jacobson, Head of the Information Literacy Department at the University at Albany, State University of New York. Trudi has published widely on the subject of metacognition including co-authoring the book, Metaliteracy in Practice and the highly cited article, “Reframing Information Literacy as Metaliteracy” in College & Research Libraries.
  • Lindsay Matts-Benson, Instructional Designer at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities is a member of the curriculum design team for the upcoming ACRL Framework Workshops and has extensive experience incorporating metacognition into curriculum and lesson plans.
  • Amy Riegelman, Social Science Librarian & Kate Peterson, Undergraduate Services Librarian at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities have both presented widely on how they’ve incorporated metacognition into their teaching including through their “Strength Approach to Research.”



  1. I will be writing instead of using FlipGrid due to the fact that all our offices are open fishbowls and there is construction everywhere in the library.

    For the past four summers I have co-taught in a summer bridge program. The class is called “Foundations for College Success” with a very small research component. The very essence of the class is about giving rising freshman the opportunity to meet the following Learning Objectives:

    -Students will be able to employ multiple strategies in order to critically read and understand a range of texts.

    -Students will be able to analyze a wide range of texts in order to make thematic connections.

    -Students will be able to demonstrate their abilities in writing, academic research, and oral communication in order to prepare for the Fall Semester.

    This is an updated version of how we used to explain the objectives of the course in the syllabus. For this summer we want to be transparent with the students about what are expectations are for both us and them. We spend 5 weeks getting the students to be intentional about how they interact with different texts in order to read critically and make connections.

    I have not been able to do this explicitly in my information literacy classes, but have attempted to engage students by asking them to think about how they can use what they learn with me in other situations. If I could get them to express this somehow maybe that will be a step towards metacognition. Krista Jacobson, in a prior post, said it better than I had formulated this thought: “I find one of the biggest challenges related to knowledge-seeking is that people often don’t know what they don’t know.” If at the end of a brief library session the students understand the questions they need to be asking and where to ask these questions there is progress. Especially if we are able to get them early in their college years.


  2. I too will respond in print as I find recording leaves me with the inability to speak properly.

    I have incorporated metacognition in my instruction sessions; although I haven’t done it much as of late. I find one of the biggest challenges related to knowledge-seeking is that people often don’t know what they don’t know. This is especially true when it comes to finding information. People often overestimate their ability to find information. At the end of the library sessions, I often ask students to reflect on what they learned during the library session and if there are things they’d like to know more about. I’ve also appreciated when instructors incorporate a task for their students to explain their search process as part of their research assignments. It makes students think about what search terms they chose, why they chose them, where they looked for information, what results they got, the obstacles they came across, the filters they’ve applied, whether or not the results they got were appropriate to answer their research question…etc.

    Metacognition is useful in information literacy because information analysis is as much about understanding why an individual makes the information seeking choices they make which hopefully will lead them to acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses in the “answers” they find.


  3. I’m not going to do a video because I am indeed feeling shy. 🙂

    I think metacognition will be something that I can incorporate into my teaching practice. I tend to focus on more of the behavioural aspects, which perhaps comes from having only short information literacy classes during which to make sure students know what to do. However, I’m going to try instead to make sure students understand what to do and why they are doing it—giving them time to “reflect, rethink, and revise” will be valuable for this, even if it only takes the form of a two minute pause for them to jot down their thoughts. Even though it is intimidating to me as an instructor, it could help the research process seem less intimidating to students. If I share how my thought process goes when I am doing research, they could see that I need to stop to consider and problem-solve, and I don’t just immediately know how to do research because I’m a librarian.



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