Using PenzuTM for academic online diaries to enhance metacognitive skills in Higher Education
Metacognition can be considered as knowledge about one's own cognitive activities and their regulation during learning processes (Flavell, 1979). Students are, then, involved in metacognitive mental activities when they think about what they have learned, how they have learned it, or how they can relate it to their personal experiences, among other things. Based on this, students who develop these skills should show more appropriate strategies to know what they need to find out or do while learning. Therefore, understanding and controlling these cognitive processes may be one of the most essential skills that teachers should encourage at all academic levels (Anderson, 2002)
The Guided Learning Diary (GLD, Bort-Mir, 2016) was developed as a learning diary with several aims: (i) defining the general and specific objectives of the content to be taught, (ii) developing the students’ metacognitive skills through strategic questions, and (iii) promoting the development of important competences such as self-criticism, autonomous learning, self-evaluation and capacity for improvement. The GLD also allows a self-evaluation process for teachers, thus facilitating the supervision and improvement both of the contents of the course and the didactic methodology. This tool was developed and applied within the Theatre in English subject at Universitat Jaume I, embedded in the third course from the English Studies Degree, and the students’ results were significantly higher than those of previous years (Bort-Mir & Silvestre-López, 2017).
The present research proposes a technological turn in the application of the GLD with the use of the open-source tool PenzuTM. The creation of academic online diaries with this tool may improve students’ motivation while promoting meaningful and self-regulated learning in Higher Education environments, thus helpìng students reach their so desired academic success. PenzuTM allows this investigation to widen the scope of the GLD to the general public.
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