Desktop version

Home arrow Psychology

  • Increase font
  • Decrease font

<<   CONTENTS   >>


In the current article, we have dealt with questions on how adults differ in conceptual change and metacognition processes. We have learned that adults to some extent are similar to younger learners in that their prior knowledge is rich and often a mixture of scientific knowledge and everyday conceptions. Similar challenges can be seen in the metacognition of children and adults, although adults’ metacognition and learning strategies can work well. We suggest that also adult students experience many conceptual changes, for example, at the beginning of their studies, on the level of metacognition, theoretical conceptual knowledge, and framework theory. A fallacy in adult education is to presume that all adults are inherently competent learners.

Adult learners need time for systematic studying and also learning environments that support metacognition and conceptual elaboration. Thus, it is important to remember that conceptual change is not necessarily a quick process, rather it may be quite slow and gradual (see Gunstone & Mitchell, 2005; Sinatra & Mason,

2013). In this article, metacognition is seen as an important element in supporting conceptual change processes to occur, because metacognition enables learners to become aware of and to regulate incongruity within their existing knowledge systems, which is needed for the revision process (Inagaki & Hatano, 2013). As previous research has shown, metacognition (e.g., metacognitive regulation such as frequent use of metacognitive strategies) and metaconceptual awareness are in positive relation with each other (see Saykes & Trundle, 2017). Thus, a conceptual change process seems to require that a learner has metacognitive knowledge of strategies as well as metacognitive regulation when using these strategies in the learning process to gain metaconceptual awareness. Moreover, a revision process seems to demand that metacognition cannot be restricted to knowledge and regulation of strategies and cognition in general but needs to cover epistemological considerations such as a person’s awareness of his own epistemic system in relation with other viewpoints (e.g., conflicts between the two).

In this article, we have dealt with conceptual change and metacognition, focusing on cognitive aspects. However, we suggest that another important area for future research is that of motivational and emotional aspects. Conceptual change is a demanding process where a learner needs to give up accustomed conceptual models, including framework theories constructed over many years. The learners feel committed to these previous models and have tested them with everyday observations. In addition, these theories seem to work in practice. Hence, the revision process is not just (meta)cognitive but also, emotionally and motivationally challenging (see Sinatra & Mason, 2013). Conceptual changes can take place on the level of identity. Adult life is not static but requires flexibility. Global problems require the ability to take multiple perspectives and be aware of different perspectives at the same time. Ethical issues become very important and we think that this has something to do with wisdom (see Chapters 2 and 10). It is crucial to consider how to support this kind of identity-level conceptual change in formal and informal education.

Moreover, in this article we have dealt with the conceptual change process and metacognition from an individual point of view. However, adults also work in teams, so it would be interesting to approach conceptual change processes and metacognition from a collaborative point of view. For example, the concept of metacognition has been extended from the traditional individual construct to the construct of socially-shared metacognition, which refers to learners’ common goal-directed, consensual, egalitarian, and complementary knowledge and regulation of joint cognitive processes in the collaborative learning context (see liskala, 2015; liskala et al., 2004, 2011). Thus, we feel it is important to analyse the role of socially-shared metacognition, such as socially-shared metacognitive regulation, in relation to the group’s metaconceptual awareness and conceptual change process. Inspired by the socially-shared metacognition research, we raise the question of whether the conceptual change process could also be shared in collaborative learning (socially-shared conceptual change) and what is the role of conceptual change in a group’s learning? Also, epistemological beliefs can be socially shared (Mason, 2002) and thus mediate conceptual change in individual and collaborative settings — the simpler and more biased the beliefs are, the more difficult it is to revise them and reach conceptual change.

In the current world, the acquisition of theoretical understanding, metacognition, and strategies is time-consuming and emotionally challenging. This is often problematic from the perspective of an adult. The internet and global media make the situation even more demanding. How do we engage an adult student, who often has family duties and a job, to invest time in systematic deliberate studying? Should we start our teaching in adult education by revising the misconception that you can easily find valid information on the Internet i.e., just Google everything and easily find the right solution? So, as well as the traditional metacognitive strategy interventions, adult students need to revise their conceptions of knowledge and studying in academia, in which case metacognition should cover students’ conceptions of knowledge systems. Solving cognitive conflicts is not fun in the beginning but once you find the solution it can be like that. Adults need competent teachers just as younger students do. It is important to create a critical, debating academic learning culture in adult education.

<<   CONTENTS   >>