Designing for Learning Growth: Encouraging Metacognitive Practice to Support Growth Mindsets in Students

2019-07-03T20:32:39Z (GMT) by Chen Ni
In college, students are often required to complete large, long-term projects and must do so somewhat independently (Ambrose et al., 2010). Those who have the skills to continually learn and adapt in the face of adversities are more likely to thrive not only in the demanding, academic environment, but also in a challenging workplace, and life in general. Based on research by Carol Dweck and her colleagues, adopting a growth mindset—the belief that one can get smarter and learn more through hard work and effective strategies—helps create a love of learning for students and cultivates their resilience to turn setbacks into opportunities to grow.

Despite the potential benefits of adopting a growth mindset, college students are not always equipped with a growth mindset. At the same time, many approaches aimed at aiding the development of a growth mindset are directed at learners at a low educational level, but few target college students. Also, for many of the interventions, students receive knowledge, but they do not learn how to apply it effectively.

It is often beneficial for students to monitor their learning processes using metacognitive skills to foster a growth mindset. By acquiring these skills, such as reflecting on their learning processes, students can develop a sense of control over their learning, which can lead to adopting a growth mindset. Even though monitoring one’s learning process holds enormous benefits, “students tend not to apply metacognitive skills as well or as often as they should” (Ambrose et. al, 2010, p. 202). This insight suggests opportunities to support students in applying these skills. This thesis investigates various forms of support, including prompts from educational tools and feedback from instructors and peers. It aims to encourage and scaffold students’ learning in an effort to develop a growth mindset by applying metacognitive skills to the monitoring of their learning processes.