Epistemic cognition: A promising and necessary construct for enriching large-scale online learning analysis
Epistemic cognition refers to the process of thinking about one’s forms of knowledge and ways of knowing. Epistemic cognition becomes especially critical when learners need to, assess the validity, certainty, reliability, source, and limits of their knowledge, as when working through ill-structured problems or evaluating contradictory knowledge claims. This psychological construct is relevant to Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs), for instance, in that researchers are modeling learner behavior and performance (i.e., how learners handle knowledge) based on inferred learner knowledge states. In this synthesis paper, I provide a brief account of epistemic cognition research, summarize the field’s key findings and theories, and outline the affordances that epistemic cognition offers to online learning researchers. I also show that, without knowing it, online learning researchers have already engaged with epistemic cognition concepts and provide recommendations for future, more theoretically and practically enriching work.