Cognitive processes that are important in higher education and especially important in online learning are:
- Metacognition - students ability to teach themselves to learn. Students need to know about thinking processes and learning strategies.
- Strategic - a student's procedural knowledge with the added component of being able to judge the best way of doing something. For example, in a statistics class, a student needs to be able to select the most appropriate statistical method for the research question in order to analyze the data appropriately.
- Abstract thinking - this skill allows students to think beyond specific examples and situations. If students learn concepts and then can apply them to different situations, they have managed to think abstractly about the concept.
- Self-regulation - defined as goal-setting, self-monitoring, self-evaluation, use of learning strategies, and knowing where and when to seek help. This type of skill has been most often tested in self-assessments, portfolios, learner profiles, and reflective essays.