This phenomenological study examined the experiences of students with learning disabilities (LD) in acquiring the metacognitive skills necessary for success in California community college. Within 8 years of high school graduation, over 67% of young adults with LD will enroll in post-secondary education, many choosing a community college. The rate of community college completion for adults with LD, however, is nearly 10% lower than the general population (National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2014). Metacognitive skills have been shown to contribute to the success of LD students in college. To identify college-level students who have acquired metacognitive ability, the researcher employed the Metacognition Awareness Inventory (MAI). Five students who scored at least 70% on this instrument were interviewed using a semi-structured interview protocol. Analysis of the interview data was conducted using the a priori codes that emerged from the review of literature. The study revealed that the research participant's used a variety of metacognitive skills and strategies to accomplish their individual and academic goals. The three major strategies that LD students used to learn metacognition were a) formal learning, b) informal learning, and c) adaptation over time. Given California's community college system being the largest system of postsecondary education in the world and the number of students with LD who are enrolled in the system, the results of this study could affect the way community colleges educated thousands of students with disabilities.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Learning technologies; Metacognition; Learning disabled -- Education (Higher) -- California; Community college students -- California

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Polin, Linda;