Metacognitive knowledge is comprehension of how the mind works. In other words: a person knows about knowing, thinks about thinking. Metacognitive knowledge can be divided into three categories: persons (interpersonal relationships), tasks, and strategies.

Metacognitive Knowledge: Persons

Knowledge in this category includes knowing one self's thinking abilities, others', and the relationship between the two.

  • A person comprehends information processing limits of themselves and others
  • A person understands comparison of thought processing abilities between people
  • A person realizes the best conditions for thinking
Metacognitive Knowledge: Tasks

Knoweldge in this category includes knowing information loads, methods and abilities of explaining material, and limitations of abilities.

  • A person realizes under what conditions they can complete tasks easier
  • A person understands which and why some tasks are harder than others
  • A person comprehends their limitations to accomplish a task
Metacognitive Knowledge: Strategies

Knowledge in this category includes knowing many techniques for solving problems, the best strategies for specific problems, and strategies have different levels of aid.

  • A person realizes a certain strategy works well in many different situations
  • A person understands which strategies are needed for which tasks in order to be successful
  • A person comprehends that not every strategy works with every task nor is every strategy worth the effort for the accompanying task

Some psychologists and developmentalists theorize that not only is metacognitive knowledge nearly required for proper learning but that students who are not proficient in it can be taught to think in these terms. These thinking abilities are being imposed in some schools in reading comprehension, mathematics, and writing to aid in meeting needs for every student.

Resources include: Flavell, J.H., Miller, P.A., & Miller, S.A. (1993). Cognitive development (3rd edition). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.