SOLER Symposium announcement
Headshots of symposium presenters

2018 Science of Learning Symposium- Metacognition: From Research to Classroom

The Center for Teaching and Learning and the Science Of LEarning Research (SOLER) initiative welcome you to the inaugural Science of Learning Symposium on Thursday, October 11, 2018. This year’s Symposium brings together Columbia faculty, staff, graduate students, and experts in the science of learning to share the research on metacognition in learning, and to translate it into strategies that maximize student learning.

NOTE: The Morning Research Presentations are open to everyone. However, the Afternoon Workshops are open only for faculty, staff, and graduate students with instructional responsibilities at Columbia University (must have a valid UNI).


Program Details


Research Presentations

The day’s agenda kicks off in the Low Library Rotunda at 9:30 AM with presentations by leading researchers and experts in the fields of cognitive psychology and metacognition.

  • “Metacognition and Curiosity” by Janet Metcalfe (Columbia University)
  • “Why Don’t the Trials and Errors of Everyday Living and Learning Teach Us How to Learn?” by Robert A. Bjork (University of California, Los Angeles)
  • “Academic Performance under Stress” by Sian Beilock (Barnard College)

Discussion will follow, led by Elizabeth Bjork, Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles and Dylan Wiliam, Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at University College London.


Later in the day, the CTL will host two workshops in Butler Library for faculty, staff, and graduate students to explore evidence-based metacognitive strategies that can be implemented in the classroom.


Workshop 1 | Turning Tests into Desirable Difficulties: How to Assess Learning in Ways that Enhance Learning

From 1:00 PM – 2:45 PM, Professor Elizabeth Ligon Bjork (University of California, Los Angeles) will conduct a workshop on turning tests into Desirable Difficulties that enhance learning, with commentary by Professor Metcalfe and participation from faculty, staff, and students.


Workshop 2 | Activating students as owners of their own learning: Metacognition in the classroom

From 3:00 PM – 4:45 PM, Professor Dylan Wiliam will conduct a workshop on how to make students become more active in their own learning, with commentary and participation by interested faculty, staff, and students as well as by Professor Robert A. Bjork.


Morning Session

9:00 – 11:45 AM | Location: Low Library Rotunda

9:00 – 9:30 AM Light breakfast

9:30 – 9:45 AM Opening remarks

9:45 – 11:45 AM Research Presentations by Janet Metcalfe, Robert A. Bjork, and Sian Beilock.

Afternoon Session

1:00 – 2:45 PM | Location: 203 Butler Library

Workshop 1 facilitated by Elizabeth Ligon Bjork, commentary by Janet Metacalfe.

3:00 – 4:45 PM | Location: 203 Butler Library

Workshop 2 facilitated by Dylan Wiliam, commentary by Robert A. Bjork.

4:45 – 6 PM | Butler Library


For session descriptions, learn more about the program here. To receive announcements about the Science of Learning Symposium, please join the CTL email list.



This year’s speakers are Janet Metcalfe, Professor of Psychology at Columbia University; Robert A. Bjork, Distinguished Research Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles; and Sian Beilock, President of Barnard College.

Janet Metcalfe is Professor of Psychology and of Neurobiology and Behavior at Columbia University. Her current research focuses on understanding the consequences of metacognition for attention, memory, learning, and neural processing.

Robert A. Bjork is Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research focuses on human learning and memory and on the implications of the science of learning for instruction and training.

Sian Beilock is the 8th President of Barnard College. Her work as a cognitive scientist has revolved around performance anxiety, with a focus on success in math and science for women and girls.

Their talks will be commented by Elizabeth Ligon Bjork, Professor of Psychology at University of California, Los Angeles; and Dylan Wiliam, Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at University College London.

Elizabeth Ligon Bjork is Professor of Psychology and Past Senior Vice Chair in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Main themes of her research have been the role of inhibitory processes in creating an adaptive memory system and how principles of learning discovered in the laboratory can be applied to enhance instructional practices and self-directed learning.

Dylan Wiliam is Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at University College London. His academic work has focused on the use of assessment to support learning (sometimes called formative assessment).

Learn more about them here.



Should you have any questions regarding this event, please contact Suzanna Klaf at [email protected].

Please note that there will be photographers and videographers from the Center for Teaching and Learning at this event. Contact Elizabeth Hernandez at [email protected] if you do not wish to be photographed or recorded.

Columbia University makes every effort to accommodate individuals with disabilities. If you require disability accommodations to this event, please contact Elizabeth Hernandez at [email protected].