4 Metacognition, Learning, and Instruction

Educational Psychology

  1. Christine B. McCormick PhD,
  2. Carey Dimmitt PhD,
  3. Florence R. Sullivan PhD

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop207004

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

McCormick, C. B., Dimmitt, C. and Sullivan, F. R. 2012. Metacognition, Learning, and Instruction. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 7:4.

Author Information

  1. University of Massachusetts Amherst, School of Education, Amherst, MA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


In this chapter, we provide a comprehensive review of research on metacognition, learning and instruction in primarily older, more experienced students (middle school, high school, and college students). We trace the evolution of the definition of metacognition, particularly examining the relationship between metacognition and the related theoretical constructs of self-regulation and executive function. We also examine the ways in which researchers originating from different research traditions and theoretical orientations measure metacognition, including questionnaires, calibration techniques, and verbal report methods. A discussion of the extent to which metacognition is a general or domain-specific skill is followed by reviews of research on metacognition in various academic domains, including reading, writing, and problem solving in mathematics and science. Instructional interventions designed to promote the development of metacognitive knowledge and skills in middle school, high school and college students are described. Finally, the characteristics of teacher-led and computer-based learning environments that have been found to foster metacognition are examined.


  • metacognition;
  • self-regulation;
  • executive function;
  • metacomprehension;
  • think-aloud;
  • verbal reports;
  • computer-based learning environment