Metacognitive Skills

by Patrick Liew on December 7, 2016

To prepare a 16-year old intern for the disruptive future, I told him that he needs to develop metacognitive skills.

I deliberately decided not to tell him the meaning of metacognitive skills.

How else to teach metacognitive skills?

On his own accord, he checked and the following was an edited version of his response to me.

“Metacognition according to Cambridge University refers to the highest level of thinking or thinking about thinking.

“So I was curious to find out what does thinking actually stands for in the first place.

“Thinking is frequently the process of memorizing and recounting a previously-heard information. I read up more regarding metacognition, and found out that it can be the complete opposite of thinking.

“Metacognition is the process of processing
what was heard or memorized, and then changing the information to make it completely new, something unheard of.

“What I actually got out of learning about metacognition was that it is the process of finding a solution to an existing solution, and making sure that the new solution is much better than the previous solution.

“Metacognition is finding a solution to an existing or future problem and continuing to improve the solution.

“I believe that metacognitive skill is not a skill many people possess because of their educational process. It is easier to simply score through repeating previously-taught knowledge instead of crafting new information, or using new knowledge to contribute and grow the current “knowledge bank.”

“That’s why when tested on metacognitive skills, many students from even top schools would fail the tests.

“Development and use of metacognitive skills is adopted by many top entrepreneurs. They have to use such skills to find solutions to problems, solutions that improve the people and the environment around them – now and in the future.”

The takeaway from this experience is that the path of excellence in the disruptive future is not algorithmic (following a set pattern) but heuristic (breaking away from a set pattern) to create radical breakthroughs.

Therefore, you need to continue to learn, improve, and achieve better results.

Continuous learning – and not just formal education – is the only inoculation to prevent businesses, careers and work from being disrupted, devalued and disintermediated.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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