The Impact of Metacognitive Judgments on Restudy Decisions and Learning Outcomes


College students often experience stress when faced with the challenge of developing efficient and successful study habits. An important component of self-regulated learning (i.e. the ability to monitor and guide one’s learning decisions) is deciding what items to restudy and which to drop from learning. It has been found in past research that learners who make Retrospective Confidence Judgments (RCJs, judgments about past retrieval success) are more likely to drop items that they have correctly retrieved compared to learners who make Judgements of Learning (JOLs, judgements about future retrieval success). Other studies have shown that there are learning disadvantages to dropping items from study. This may occur because learners are overconfident in their retrieval ability or under-value the benefits of overlearning items. While previous studies have shown differences in restudy decisions between learners using RCJs and JOLs, most do not actually offer the restudy period for the participants, so it is currently unclear how these different restudy decisions may influence overall learning. The goal of the present study was to determine whether learners who make RCJs and JOLs show differences in final test performance, when given the opportunity to restudy the selected items. In this study, participants first completed an initial learning phase, followed by prejudgment cued-recall, a metacognitive judgement, and a restudy decision. Participants then restudied the items they selected. In order to observe the impact on long-term memory, participants completed a final test after 24-48 hours.


An important component of self-regulated learning is deciding what items to restudy. Prior work has shown participants who study using predictions of future performance success choose to restudy more items than those who make restudy decisions based off of past retrieval success. In this study we tested whether those different decisions translated into differences in learning outcomes.