Metacognitive Skill Development and Applied Systems Science: A Framework of Metacognitive Skills, Self-regulatory Functions and Real-World Applications

  • Michael J. Hogan
  • Christopher P. Dwyer
  • Owen M. Harney
  • Chris Noone
  • Ronan J. Conway
Part of the Intelligent Systems Reference Library book series (ISRL, volume 76)


Metacognition, or thinking about thinking [1], refers to the application and regulation of cognitive processes. According to Boekaerts and Simons [2], Brown [3] and Ku and Ho [4], individuals think metacognitively in two ways: first, individuals must be aware of their own cognitive processes (e.g., through self-monitoring or self-regulation); second, individuals must be able to apply available cognitive processes for purposes of learning or devising solutions to problems [e.g., using critical thinking or reflective judgment [5]. Though a topic of research interest for almost 40 years, debate continues as to how best to conceptualise metacognition and cultivate metacognitive ability. However, due to what can be considered an exponential increase in the creation of new information every year [6, 7], higher-order, metacognitive skills are needed more than ever in order to aid individuals and groups in becoming more adaptable, flexible and better able to cope in the context of a rapidly evolving information society. In order to help guide the facilitation of metacognitive understanding in educational and applied settings, this chapter draws upon recent research in the learning sciences to propose a new framework of metacognition. Specifically, we outline a model of metacognition that integrates processes associated with self-other representations, executive function, emotion regulation, mindfulness, motivation, thinking dispositions, critical thinking, reflective judgment and collaborative systems thinking skills, which can be fostered in the context of individual and team-based tool use. Two cases studies are presented, which provide evidence for the value of both argument mapping and collective intelligence tools in facilitating the development of higher-order critical, reflective and collaborative metacognitive thinking skills. The chapter concludes with a number of recommendations for future research on applied systems science and metacognitive skills development.


Critical thinking Reflective judgment Mindfulness Executive functioning Self-regulation Argument mapping Collective intelligence 



Argument mapping


Conversational argument coding scheme


Computer-supported collaborative learning


Critical thinking


Interactive management


Reflective judgment


Reflective judgment model


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Hogan
    • 1
  • Christopher P. Dwyer
    • 1
  • Owen M. Harney
    • 1
  • Chris Noone
    • 1
  • Ronan J. Conway
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyNational University of IrelandGalway County, GalwayRepublic of Ireland

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