Meta learning is a concept in social psychology, and education, originally described by Donald B. Maudsley (1979). Based on this concept Marcial Losada developed the Meta Learning model, now widely used by business organizations, universities and schools round the world.
Metalearning is originally described by Donald B. Maudsley (1979) as "the process by which learners become aware of and increasingly in control of habits of perception, inquiry, learning, and growth that they have internalized". Maudsely sets the conceptual basis of his theory as synthesized under headings of assumptions, structures, change process, and facilitation. Five principles were enunciated to facilitate meta-learning. Learners must:
- (a) have a theory, however primitive;
- (b) work in a safe supportive social and physical environment;
- (c) discover their rules and assumptions;
- (d) reconnect with reality-information from the environment; and
- (e) reorganize themselves by changing their rules/assumptions.
The idea of metalearning was later used by John Biggs (1985) to describe the state of "being aware of and taking control of one’s own learning". You can define metalearning as an awareness and understanding of the phenomenon of learning itself as opposed to subject knowledge. Implicit in this definition is the learner’s perception of the learning context, which includes knowing what the expectations of the discipline are and, more narrowly, the demands of a given learning task.
Within this context, metalearning depends on the learner’s conceptions of learning, epistemological beliefs, learning processes and academic skills, summarized here as a learning approach. A student who has a high level of metalearning awareness is able to assess the effectiveness of her/his learning approach and regulate it according to the demands of the learning task. Conversely, a student who is low in metalearning awareness will not be able to reflect on her/his learning approach or the nature of the learning task set. In consequence, s/he will be unable to adapt successfully when studying becomes more difficult and demanding.
Meta learning model for teams and relationships
Meta learning is the dynamic process whereby a system (relationship, team or organization) manages to dissolve limiting dynamics such as point attractors and limit cycles that impede effective action and evolve liberating and creative dynamics represented by complex attractors whose trajectories in phase space, by never repeating themselves, can portray creative and innovative processes (see complexor). These trajectories have a fractal nature, hence their complex order in which highly creative processes are possible. High performance teams are able to "meta learn" and this differentiates them from the inability of low performance teams to transcend their limiting behaviors that impede innovation and creativity.
The meta learning model was derived from thousands of time series data generated at two human interaction laboratories in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. These time series portrayed the interaction dynamics of business teams doing typical business tasks such as strategic planning. These teams were classified into three performing categories: high, medium and low. Performance was evaluated by the profitability of the teams, the level of satisfaction of their clients, and 360-degree evaluations.
The meta learning model comprises three state variables and one control parameter. The control parameter is connectivity and reflects the level of attunement and responsiveness that team members have to one another. The three state variables are inquiry-advocacy, positivity-negativity, and other-self (external-internal focus). The state variables are linked by a set of nonlinear differential equations.
When connectiviy is low, there is preponderance of advocacy and self orientation (internal focus) and more negativity than positivity. When connectivity is high there is a dynamical equilibrium between inquiry and advocacy as well as internal and external focus and the ratio of positivity-to-negativity is at least 2.9. This ratio is known as the Losada line, because it separates high from low performance teams as well as flourishing from languisning in individuals and relationships 
- Maudsley, D.B. (1979). A Theory of Meta-Learning and Principles of Facilitation: An Organismic Perspective. University of Toronto, 1979. (40, 8,4354-4355-A)
- Biggs, J. B. (1985). The role of meta-learning in study process. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 55, 185-212.
- (Norton et al. 2004)
- (Losada, 1999; Losada & Heaphy, 2004; Fredrickson & Losada, 2005)
- (Losada, 1999; Fredrickson & Losada, 2005; for a graphical representation of the meta learning model see Losada & Heaphy, 2004)
- (Fredrickson & Losada, 2005; Waugh & Fredrickson, 2006; Fredrickson, 2009).
- Norton, L. & Walters, D (2005). Encouraging meta-learning through personal development planning: first year students’ perceptions of what makes a really good student. PRIME (Pedagogical Research In Maximising Education), in-house journal, Liverpool Hope University, 1 (1) 109-124.
- Meyer, J.H.F. & Shanahan, M.P. (2004). Developing metalearning capacity in students — Actionable theory and practical lessons learned in first-year economics. Innovations in Education and Teaching International (Special issue: Metalearning in Higher Education), 41 (4) 443-458
- Losada, M. (1999). The complex dynamics of high performance teams. Mathematical and Computer Modelling, 30 (9-10), pp. 179–192.
- Losada, M. & Heaphy, E. (2004). The role of positivity and connectivity in the performance of business teams: A nonlinear dynamics model. American Behavioral Scientist, 47 (6), pp. 740–765.
- Fredrickson, B. L. & Losada, M. (2005). Positive affect and the complex dynamics of human flourishing. American Psychologist, 60 (7) 678-686.
- Waugh, C. E. & Fredrickson, B. L. (2006). Nice to know you: Positive emotions, self-other overlap, and complex understanding in the formation of a new relationship. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 1 (2), 93-106.
- Fredrickson, B. L. (2009). Positivity. Crown Publishers, New York.