Amy Overman presents on metacognition and science-based strategies for learning

The professor of psychology and assistant dean of Elon College, the College of Arts & Sciences, has been disseminating findings from a CAA-funded project.

Amy Overman, professor of psychology and assistant dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences

Amy Overman, professor in the Psychology Department and Neuroscience program and assistant dean of Elon College, presented “Learning to learn: A course in metacognition for first-year college students,” at the 60th annual Psychonomic Society meeting in Montreal, Canada on November 14, 2019.

The presentation shared initial findings from her project that is funded by an Innovate/Collaborate (IN/CO) grant from the Colonial Academic Alliance with Elon co-awardee Professor of Mathematics Todd Lee and collaborators from Hofstra University. The Psychonomic Society is the “preeminent society for the experimental study of cognition” and has a membership of more than 4,300 scientists.

Metacognition refers to the mental activities involved in the awareness and management of an individual’s own thought processes, including learning and memory, and has been shown to be critical to student success and achievement. Overman’s Psychonomic Society meeting presentation discussed the applications of scientific research on metacognition to teaching and learning based on initial data from a course she and her collaborators taught at Elon and at Hofstra for first-year students. The course focused on teaching students the scientific evidence about effective learning and helping them learn to implement strategies in order to improve their own learning.

Overman and colleagues were also slated to present a workshop on their findings and how to adapt them for the K-12 classroom at the ASCD Conference on Teaching Excellence in Denver, Colorado, on June 25–28, 2020. The workshop was titled, “How the Brain Learns: Implementing the Science of Learning to Maximize Metacognition, Growth Mindset, and Student Agency.” However, the conference was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overman’s metacognition work is part of her ongoing efforts supporting student success and inclusion, particularly for underrepresented students, by leveraging scientific research on teaching and learning. These efforts include Overman’s prior work on transparency in learning and teaching, metacognition, and belongingness that began during her term as an Associate Director of CATL (2015-2018) and have extended to her current role as Project Director for a Faculty Forums grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) that focuses on deepening the understanding of the intersection of faculty and student identities and how those contribute to students’ sense of belonging as well as increasing reflection on, dialogue about, and implementation of inclusive teaching practices in STEM.