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Metacognition refers to a level of thinking that involves active control over the process of thinking that is used in learning situations. Planning the way to approach a learning task, monitoring comprehension, and evaluating the progress towards the completion of a task are skills that are metacognitive in their nature. Similarly, maintaining motivation to see a task to completion is also a metacognitive skill.

The ability to become aware of distracting stimuli, both internal and external, and sustain effort over time also involves metacognitive functions. The theory that metacognition has a critical role to play in successful learning means it is important that it be demonstrated by both students and teachers.

Metacognition helps people to perform many cognitive tasks more effectively. Strategies for promoting metacognition include self-questioning, thinking aloud while performing a task, and making graphic representations such as concept maps and flow charts of one’s thoughts and knowledge.

Metacognologists believe that the ability to consciously think about thinking is unique to sapient species. The metacognitive processes are ubiquitous, especially when it comes to the discussion of self-regulated learning. Being engaged in metacognition is a salient feature of good self-regulated learners. Groups reinforcing collective discussion of metacognition is a salient feature of self-critical and self-regulating social groups.

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