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Education Psychology

Explain the memory processes of knowledge building, based on encoding, storage and retrieval. How is metacognition critical to all these stages? Explain with clear examples. Knowledge is gained by building memories. Learning, then, comes from the process of memory or the storage of information into the brain. In order to achieve that, one must go through three processes, namely, encoding, storage, and retrieval. Encoding is the process of putting data into memory. This data that needs to be stored is transformed into a data that is more meaningful for the person.

Storage is the process of maintaining that data from memory. Retrieval is the process of recovering the same data from memory. Example: A person named Mr. Jason Crabbe was introduced to you and you want to remember his name for later use. Encoding is when you use your imagination of relating his name to a picture of a crab with a nametag Jason on one of its legs. You store this image and when you meet the person again, the picture of a crab with a nametag Jason on it lets you remember Mr. Jason Crabbe. The structure of memory is usually seen as made up of three memory systems that use all three processes.

These memory systems are: the short term sensory store, the short term memory, and the long term memory. The short term sensory store is said to have a maximum duration of only a second and then the memory fades but the capacity to store data is limitless. The short term memory or the working memory has a longer duration than that of the short term sensory store but still limited in capacity (only 7 + 2 items at a time) and is still considered to be used for temporary storage of recently presented data or retrieved data from long term memory.

Processing for transfer to long term memory or integration of newly acquired information with retrieved informed from the long term memory occurs here. This makes the short term memory very important; what the short term sensory store gets in unlimited capacity, the short term memory must, in its limited capacity, try its best to process in order that it can be retained. It is when items that need to be retained or remembered are rehearsed so that they can then be transferred to long term storage in the long term memory, where they can be held more permanently and protected from loss.

A good example is when you want to memorize someone’s phone number and that the first time it is given to you, you immediately forget, but when you keep repeating it, you easily remember the phone number when someone asks it of you. Acquiring of new memories, then, is an important building block of learning. It is with the knowledge of how memory is acquired, processed, and stored that shows how a person acquires knowledge builds on it. As an example, if I were an avid fan of Formula One car racing, my knowledge of the drivers for each team in 2008 will be enriched as I start watching the teams for 2009.

Moving on, metacognition is defined as the awareness of the process of learning. It is considered to be important for learning to be successful. Metacognition is basically made up of two processes that occurs simultaneously—the monitoring of one’s learning as it progresses and the making of any changes if the present strategies are not working as well as one hopes (Winn,& Snyder, D. , 1998). Metacognition is important in learning because it helps learners become confident and independent since metacognition, once it is practiced by a learner, is an actual taking over and controlling of one’s learning.

Not only that, it teaches one to be aware of what he or she is learning. It includes the planning and selection of which strategies would be best, the monitoring of learning, the analyzing of strategies being used, and the changing of strategies when needed. The best example of how metacognition works is when one takes an exam. The strategies in metacognition including awareness, planning, monitoring and reflection are used to achieve success in the exam. In metacognition, one consciously identifies what one knows concerning the topic and then what one need to complete his or her knowledge.

Once a person is aware of his or her knowledge concerning the topic, then he or she can plan how to study for the exam and then once the studying is ongoing, he or she can monitor and reflect on whether his or her plans are working. If not, then the studying strategies can be changed. Winn, W. & Snyder D. (1996). Cognitive perspectives in pyschology. In D. H. Jonassen, ed. Handbook of research for educational communications and technology, 112-142. New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan

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