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mid-20th Century Was it possible to learn with no outward signs of changed behavior? The cognitivist goes inside the learners head to see what mental processes were activated and changed during learning An understanding of the organization of thinking Learning is not always indicated by behavior

Some learning processes are unique to humans Individuals are actively involved in the learning process Knowledge is viewed as symbolic mental constructs; learning involves how those constructs are committed to memory Behavior may change, but only as an indication to what is going on in the learner's head

Cognitive processes influence learning

As children grow, they become capable of increasingly more sophisticated thought New information is most easily acquired when people can associate it with the things they have already learned People control their own learning The more meaningful the information is, the easier it is learned and remembered

Learning is a process of relating new information to previously learned information (assimilation/accommodation)

Learning involves the formation of mental associations

Swiss biologist, psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980) Renowned for an influential model of child development Piaget attested childs structures grow more sophisticated with development and defines stages 2004

Concepts are formed socially, then individually Zone of Proximal Development Culture (family, social, environmental) is the prime determinant of individual development
Humans are the only species to have created culture, and every child develops within that culture 2004

How does learning occur?

Learning is measured by what learners know, not necessarily what they do The learner processes symbols and grasps the meaning of symbols There may or may not be an external behavioral change due to learning

Which factors influence learning?

Active participation Demonstrations Illustrative examples Corrective feedback

What is the role of memory?

As long as the learner has the ability to

organize, categorize and retrieve information, learning is accomplished

How does transfer occur?

Information is memorized in an organized manner Induction/deduction

Mnemonic Effect
Silly Songs (ABC)

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally Rhymes (e-i)

Meaningful Effect
Meaningful information is retained easier Fractionstoo abstract unless related to something that students are already familiar with (e.g. pizza or pie)


Serial Position Effect

Items at the beginning of a list or at the end are easier to remember Classroom directions Driving directions Unless

If item in the middle is distinctively different (e.g. blue, red, yellow, brown, cat, orange, purple, pink, green)

Practice Effect
Perfect practice makes perfect Spelling words are learned easier by writing, visualizing, and orally spelling rather than just one context

State Dependent Effect
Learning in one context is easier to remember in that context

Informative posters on the wall

Informative Bulletin Boards

Strengths of Cognitivism
The context of a learner - their history, culture, thoughts, beliefs and values - are influential in the learning process

Criticisms of Cognitivism
The learner knows a certain way to do things, but that way may not be the best, most efficient or safest way to do something in a different culture or environment


Zone of Proximal Development

Vygotsky (1978) maintained the child follows the adult's example and gradually develops the ability to do certain tasks without assistance. He called the difference between what a child can do with help and what he or she can do without guidance the "zone of proximal development" (ZPD).

What a teacher can teach.

Zone of Proximal Development

What a child can do without help.