Webinar 14th April 1-2pm – The use of learning design within the virtual learning environment to promote students’ metacognitive skills

Our next webinar is on Wednesday 14th April 2021 1.00pm – 2.00pm. Use this link to book your place.

Title: The use of learning design within the virtual learning environment to promote students’ metacognitive skills

Speakers: Drs James Matthews, Crystal Fulton and Emma O’Neill, are UCD Fellows in Teaching and Academic Design and came together to work on their Fellowship project, “Designing for learning within the VLE” in January 2019.

Coming from diverse backgrounds across UCD, including Sports Psychology, Information & Communication Studies and Veterinary Medicine the fellows bring a broad mix of teaching and learning experience to their project.

Each has a strong interest in education and is keen to work with students in order to help them realise their full potential.


‘To thrive in a rapidly changing digital society, students from all disciplines will require a broad set of core transversal skills and a propensity for lifelong learning.  In order to achieve this, education strategies need to emphasise critical appraisal and the application of knowledge, rather than purely the assimilation of facts.  Metacognition, the awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes and learning, is widely accepted as one of these core transversal skills and is vital for effective learning and critical thinking.

UCD recently transitioned to Brightspace, affording an opportunity to redesign learning via the VLE from a pedagogical perspective. In line with this, a UCD Fellowship Programme in Teaching and Academic Development project was undertaken with the overall aim of investigating how the LMS can be leveraged to support the development of metacognitive skills in students.  Four University appointed Teaching Fellows from disciplines covering the social sciences, veterinary medicine, sports science and pharmacology developed learning strategies to promote active learning and develop metacognitive skills in Brightspace. The aim was to utilise interventions within the VLE aimed at changing the perception of this environment from one of a “download-upload” platform to an engaging educational experience maximising meaningful learning.

A Metacognition Design Framework was designed building on learning design sequences first developed by Oliver (1999) to map student-centred learning on-line.  The core elements of this framework were informed by publications from the Education Endowment Foundation (UK) which has developed a series of actionable recommendations for translating evidence about teaching metacognition into educational practice within secondary education.  The Metacognitive Design Framework was trialled in three separate case studies across UCD campus (Veterinary Medicine, Sports Science and Social Science).  In each case, a context-specific intervention was developed and delivered within Brightspace guided by a metacognitive design sequence adapted from the overall design framework.  In each case the interventions in the metacognitive design sequences were mapped to specific tools within Brightspace (e.g., intelligent agents, rubrics, check lists, and release conditions) to allow their execution.

We will present quantitative and qualitative data from these case studies in our presentation outlining the impact of these learning interventions on student metacognition.’

Look forward to seeing you there.

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