Metacognition in Professional Life: Exploring Fluency and Disfluency for Solving Complex Problem

Audrey Murphy
Audrey M. Murphy is an innovator in the adult learning experience within the context of professional life. She has over 22+ combined years of experience in the aerospace and technology industry at NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). In her role as an information systems practitioner at JPL and Caltech, Audrey championed the paradigm shift of more


Emerging challenges for global organizations involved in multidisciplinary, competitive and technology-driven decisions continue to present new demands and expectations for 21st century thinking skills. Demands for higher-order thinking skills in particular have been cited by scholars, practitioners, and thought leaders around the world as a research and practice perspective of “soaring importance.” In this respect, novel ways of addressing this critical issue validates a new maturity to conceptualize and reconsider metacognition (thinking about thinking) as a timely topic for discussion. Various tools and techniques have proven to be successful in defining problems, raising valid questions and developing new approaches to solve complex problems. At the same time, these paradigms seemingly imply thinking about thinking as opposed to the explicit interpretation of fundamental principles in the thinking process. Grounded in a scholar-practitioner model, this presentation augments current tools and techniques for solving complex problems by exploring thinking along a continuum of fluency and disfluency through the lens of metacognition. Fluency refers to information that is familiar, which requires the least amount of effort to process. Disfluency refers to information that is fuzzy, unfamiliar, and difficult, which requires greater effort to process. The importance of fluency and disfluency suggest a deliberate and abstract approach to thinking. Understanding thinking along a continuum is presented to enrich and encourage possibilities for deep and flexible thinking skills essential to solving complex problems in professional life.

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