What kind of learning technique is the SWOT analysis?
There are many ways to evaluate your leaning of a lesson and its contents. This learning technique is indeed used to evaluate a lesson, but from a very specific point of view. Students are stimulated to analyse their learning strategies and habits with the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) method. This technique can be used to revise, to anticipate, or in preparation for specific tests or end of year exams. It has a clear link to metacognition because it encourages learners to be aware of their way of thinking and learning, and use this awareness to improve their academic performance. At its core, it's about students knowing themselves and trying to avoid habits that could potentially hinder their progress.
How do you implement it?
To implement this learning technique you can apply 2 or 4 open questions. The aim of your questions is to facilitate individual assessment and self-improvement, by helping your students reflect and build rich and insightful answers. A useful opening question is: 'What are the strengths/qualities that will help you?', followed by: 'Think about a risk/danger related to your strengths/qualities.' 🤔 In a second moment ask your students to answer a question about their weaknesses/limitations, followed by the following challenge: 'Think of possible solutions.'
How does it work in the class?
Students can answer and discuss the open-ended questions in a group setting, but it is probably safer to share these questions with your students individually—specially the first time round. It might be wise to keep their answer anonymous both digitally and in person. If you decide to discuss some answers openly, make sure you don't mention student names unless they are the ones initiating it. In a second moment, and only if you and all learners are comfortable with it, you could try this learning technique during a group work activity: divide your students in pairs, and ask them to question/help each other.
How do students react to analysing how their mind works?
You probably already know that children and young people are much better at it that adults! It is nice to see how learners can be so very honest about their weaknesses and strengths. We definitely have a lot to learn from them. Some learners have no problem admitting that they completely understand a subject or topic, but they are at risk of not revising enough at home, and forgetting all about it right until the day before an important exam. Others admit to not paying enough attention during lessons, or getting easily distracted and sidetracked.
Interested in 10 proven learning techniques to improve learners' metacognitive skills?