Bowden & Purper

Students’ Perceptions of an Online Metacognitive Journal Assignment

A. Greg Bowden, California Baptist University
Cammy J. Purper, California Baptist University


Background: The growth of online higher education programs and the increasing numbers of students seeking remote learning experiences require educators to find new ways of meeting the changing learning needs of their students. One possible approach for facilitating success for online college students is fostering engagement in self-regulated learning (SRL). Objective: This paper discusses student perceptions of an online metacognitive journal assignment designed to promote SRL. Method: Following a brief review of the related literature, we present a study of the perceptions of 206 online students of a series of metacognitive prompts collected through a weekly online journaling assignment. We examined, coded, and reported on the data using descriptive statistics. We also conducted a thematic qualitative analysis of narrative responses to experiential questions. Results: The analysis revealed that the majority of students believed that engaging in the metacognitive exercise was valuable and contributed to success in their online courses. The students also reported that the assignment helped them feel more connected to their professors and contributed to their ability to apply course content to real-life situations. Findings: The students did perceive value in the assignment and provided positive narrative comments. Although the students perceived the assignment to be helpful, no causal relationships between engagement with the assignment and student achievement were demonstrated. Conclusion: Based on the results of this study, online instructors may find that using a metacognitive reflection journal is one way to support their students in online courses.

Keywords: online, metacognition, self-regulated learning, journal

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