Development of Task Understanding and Monitoring in Information Retrieval Environments: Demystifying Metacognitive and Self-Regulatory Mechanisms in Graduate Learners Using Topic Maps Indexing Technologies to Improve Essay-Writing Skills

  • Vivek Venkatesh
  • Kamran Shaikh
  • Amna Zuberi
  • Kathryn Urbaniak
  • Timothy Gallant
  • Arun Lakhana
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 28)


The empirical research reported in this chapter explores learner metacognition and self-regulation in information retrieval environments equipped with a powerful indexing technology called Topic Maps. The theoretical foundation for our work lies in the nexus of theories of self-regulation and those of cognitive information retrieval. Through a series of mixed-method studies conducted at the Topic Maps laboratory at Concordia University, we describe academic self-regulatory processes associated with graduate learners’ understandings of ill-structured academic writing tasks and attempt to relate them to learners’ metacognitive ability to judge their own performance on iterations of these writing tasks. The thirty-eight participants in the studies described in this chapter used the Topic Maps ­technology throughout a semester to navigate a repository of instructor-annotated essays. The repository was designed not only to help learners complete their own writing assignments, but also to improve their task understanding and better calibrate their performance from one instantiation of the writing assignment to the next. Results are discussed in light of the novel intra-sample statistical analyses used to uncover relationships between academic performance, metacognition and task understanding.


Information Retrieval Academic Task Online Learning Environment Metacognitive Monitoring Indexing Technology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The work reported herein is made possible through grants received by the government of Québec’s fonds québecois de recherché sur la société et la culture as well as from faculty of Arts and Sciences at Concordia University. The authors would like to thank Stef Rucco, Technical Manager of the Department of Education at Concordia University, for his help in setting up, upgrading and securing the Ontopia Knowledge Suite on the department servers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vivek Venkatesh
    • 1
  • Kamran Shaikh
    • 1
  • Amna Zuberi
    • 1
  • Kathryn Urbaniak
    • 1
  • Timothy Gallant
    • 1
  • Arun Lakhana
    • 1
  1. 1.Topic Maps Laboratory—Learning for Life Centre, Department of EducationConcordia UniversityMontréalCanada

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