Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 17

Accepted Abstracts

Improving Learning through a Metacognitive Intervention for Tertiary Thai EFL Learners: Evidence from a Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial

Meechai Wongdaeng, Durham University (United Kingdom)


To promote thinking skills which has been highly valued in higher education’s policy and practice globally, the notion of metacognitive development has been widely adapted in various disciplines including English language education. A myriad of studies has reported positive effects of promoting metacognition on improving learning outcomes and developing self-regulated learners. However, the evidence of such effectiveness in tertiary English as a Foreign Language (EFL) settings is still equivocal because such evidence is mostly drawn from studies with trivially small sample size or lacking comparators. To provide a clearer evidence, a cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT) was conducted to implement a model of metacognitive intervention to tertiary EFL learners in the southernmost areas of Thailand. More than 400 EFL students took part as either intervention or control participants. The intervention which supports reflective and strategic thinking spanned over a semester and multiple data collection methods were used for both impact and process evaluations. The results reveal the intervention group has clearly higher improvement in English language outcomes than their non-intervention peers with effect sizes of 0.68 in listening and 0.77 in overall English score. The results provide a secure evidence of the effectiveness of metacognitive promotion for improving second language learning. The key advantages and some challenges of the intervention and implications for further research and practices are discussed.

Keywords: metacognition and self-regulation, English as a foreign language, evidence-based education, impact evaluation.

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