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Metacognition, the awareness of one’s own learning, can be divided into five distinct steps (Ambrose et al., 2010). Moreover, metacognition can be measured through offline (retrospective self-report questionnaires) or online assessments (asking students to explain their decision making during a problem solving task, called “think-aloud”). The current study assessed the effectiveness of a think-aloud assessment using The Oregon Trail game to measure metacognition, in comparison to a self-report measure of metacognition, the Metacognition Five (MC5). The Oregon Trail, which is metacognitive in nature, is a videogame designed to teach students about the journey of the pioneers and the obstacles they faced during the era of Westward Expansion in the United States during the 19th century. The students play the game as the wagon leader that tries to successfully take his or her party from Independence, Missouri to Oregon. Of additional interest was whether there was a relationship between academic grades and performance on The Oregon Trail task. Participants played the game for twenty minutes as the researcher tallied their game play behavior and asked them to explain their reasoning behind key game play decisions. Both behavioral tallies and coded statements from the think-aloud procedure were positively correlated with academic performance and with scores on the MC5 measures. Due to the small sample size (n=15) these correlations were not statistically significant but were in the predicted direction. The study demonstrated the potential usefulness of online assessments of metacognition.


Community partner: Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy