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Post-print of Phelps, R 2007, 'The metacognitive approach to computer education: making explicit the learning journey', AACE Journal(International Forum on Information Technology in Education), vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 3-21.

Copyright by AACE. Reprinted from the AACE Journal with permission of AACE (

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This paper presents a theoretical and practical exploration of a metacognitive approach to computer education, developed through a three-year action research project. It is argued that the approach contrasts significantly with often-employed directive and competency-based approaches to computer education and is more appropriate in addressing the longer-term learning needs of professionals such as teachers. The metacognitive approach focuses on beliefs, attitudes and learning strategies and assists learners to come to terms with the nature of technological change and their own ability to confront this change by embracing life-long computer learning. In this paper, the metacognitive approach is presented through a three-dimensional diagram. An exploration is also provided as to how the approach was developed and refined, through the research, into a print-based, self-paced learning resource which forms one component of a flexibly-delivered computer education course. It is argued that the metaphor of ‘journey’ might profitably be employed to support teachers to understand the unique and individual interplay of metacognitive factors on their approach to using computers.

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