COGNITIVE LEARNING THEORIESSyamsul Nor Azlan Mohamad
INTRODUCTION cognitive perspective defines learning as a change in potential behavior rather than necessary in actual performance cognitive psychologists assume that mental processes exist, can be studied scientifically, and humans are active participants in their own acts of cognition (Ashcraft, 2002) Cognitive theorists rejected the “stimulus-response” mechanism proposed by behavioral psychologists. To them, learning is not simply a “trial and error” process and results from reinforcement; but more to a cognitive process in constructing, interpreting and organizing things into meaningful ways.
GESTALT THEORY• Gestalt: configuration or organization• The Law of Pragnanz: there is a tendency for every psychological event to perceive as meaningful, complete and simple.• Visual perception:
Concept formation: 1 4 9 1 6 2 5 3 6 4 9 6 4 8 1 Learning based on an understanding of principles (e.g. the squares of the digits from 1 to 9), is retained almost perfectly for long periods of time In learning process, we experience the information only after it has been transformed by the brain in accordance with the Law of Pragnanz.
GESTALT PRINCIPLES OF LEARNING Learning is a special problem in perception. When an individual confronted with a problem, a state of cognitive disequilibrium is set up and continues until the problem is solved. According to the Law of Pragnanz, cognitive equilibrium is more satisfying than cognitive disequilibrium. Therefore, cognitive disequilibrium has motivational properties that cause individual to attempt to regain the balance in its mental system.
learning is also a cognitive phenomenon. The individual “comes to see” the solution after pondering a problem. The learner thinks about all of the ingredients necessary to solve a problem and puts them together (cognitively) in one way and then another until the problem is solved. theindividual gains an insight “a-ha” (now I see) into the solution of a problem.
Thorndike (a behavioral psychologist) believed that learning was continuous in that it increased systematically in small amounts as a function of reinforced trials while Gestaltists believed that the problem can exist in only two states: unsolved and solved. Learning was discontinuous
CLASSICAL EXPERIMENTS BY KOHLER Between 1913 and 1917, the most significant work on learning was done by a prominent Gestalt theorist, Wolfgang Kohler (1887-1967) at the University of Berlin Anthropoid Station on Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. He then summarized his findings in book: The Mentality of Apes (1925).Wolfgang Kohler (1887-1967)
Kohler used a number of creative experimental arrangements in which the animals can clearly see its goal but is unable to reach it directly. In order to reach the goal, the animal must put all the ingredients necessary needed to solve the problem in an appropriate manner. For example, a banana was placed just out of the reach of an ape so that it must either use a stick to reach it or put two sticks together to reach it
In another situation, an ape named Grande was exposed to its goal (a bunch of banana that hung at the middle of the room) and a few boxes scattered around. After it run through a number of “hypotheses” (a kind of cognitive trial and error in mind) concerning an effective way to solve the problem, Grande arranged the boxes in stack to stand on for reaching some bananas
Asa conclusion from the experiments, Kohler proposed that learning takes place through an act of insight. Forinsightful learning to occur, the individual must be exposed to all elements of the problem. If not, its behavior will seem to be blind and groping
THE MEMORY TRACE BY KOFFKA Koffka (1935, 1963) attempted to link the past with the present experience through his concept of Memory Trace, and highlighted the important influence of individual’s past experience to his present experience. He assumed that a present experience gives rise to what he called a memory process which is the activity in the brain caused by anKurt Koffka (1886-1941) environmental experience.
When a process is terminated, a trace of its effect (memory trace) remains in the brain which will influence all similar processes that occur in the future. The stronger the memory trace, the stronger will be its influence on the process; therefore, ones conscious experience will tend to be more in accordance with the trace than with the process.
In a problem-solving situation, the solution becomes “etched” in one’s mind. The next time one is in a similar problem-solving situation, a process that occurs will “communicate” with the memory trace from the previous problem- solving situation. The trace will influence the ongoing process in which making the problem easier to be solved. That is, one’s solves more problems that are similar, he will become a better problem solver.
IMPLICATIONS OFGESTALT THEORY IN EDUCATION Teacher can stress meaningfulness and understanding. Parts must always be related to a whole so that they have meaning to the student. Create problem-based learning nature Learning by understanding principles rather than rote memorization Providing students with similar problem-solving situation, which new learning experience will “communicate” with the previous solution traces: Practice makes perfect
PIAGET’S THEORY OFCOGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT During his employment at the Binet laboratory, Piaget found that “intelligence” could not be equated with the number of test items they answered correctly, but basically why some able to answer but others were not Piaget observed his three children as sources of information in the developmentJean Piaget (1896-1980) of his cognitive development theory
2 basic inherent tendencies Organization Adaptation- an ongoing process of arranging -the tendency to adapt to environmentinformation & experience into through 2 basic processes:mental systems or structures. Assimilation - the process by which- This psychological structure is an individual uses an existing structureknown as scheme, which helping or ability to deal with the environmentus to understand and interact withthe outside world. Accommodation occurs when an individual must change existing-E.g., “sucking scheme”, “grapping scheme to respond to a new situationscheme, “scheme of classification”
Piaget assumed that all organisms have an innate tendency to create a harmonious relationship between themselves and their environment in his concept of Equilibrium. To him, adaptation is a balance of assimilation and accommodation. If we apply a scheme to an event or situation and it works, then equilibrium exists. However, if the scheme does not produce a satisfying result, then the disequilibrium exists. This motivates us to keep searching for a solution through accommodation either by altering existing structures or producing new ones. Assimilation Accommodation Adaptation
STAGES OF COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENTa) Sensorimotor Stage (0-2 years) children deal directly with the environment by utilizing their innate reflexes through sensory and motor schemes. Infant has no internal representation of objects until 18 months. Therefore, it is relatively easy to take something away from them before the infant develops object permanence (“out of sight, out of mind”). A major accomplishment in the sensorimotor period to move from reflex actions to goal-directed activity.
b) Preoperational Stage (2-7 years) children begin rudimentary concept formation. They show the evidence of symbol use (words, images and drawing). the preoperational child looks at things entirely from his own perspective or his own frame of reference, known as egocentrism. the child only able to think operations through logically in one direction. They still haven’t develop the concept of conservation and captured by the appearance of change.
c) Concrete Operational Stage (7-11 years) children able to solve concrete (hands-on) problems in inductive logical fashion. They are able to seriate. With the understanding of A > B > C, the child know that B is smaller than A but larger than C. They are able to classify and systematically organize objects into hierarchies of classes and subclasses. Food fruits meat vegetables - apple - mutton - carrot - banana - beef - tomato ........ - papaya
They understand laws of conservation: they recognize that the length, numbers, mass, quantity, areas, weight and volume of objects remains the same even if the arrangement or appearance is changed, as long as nothing is added or taken away. they can engage in mental actions that are reversible. E. g., they can mentally reverse liquid from one container to another and understand that the volume is the same even though two containers are differ in height and width. 200ml 200ml
d) Formal Operational Stage (11 years onwards) Formal operational individuals able to solve abstract problems in deductive logical fashion. They can ponder completely hypothetical situations. E. g., teenager thinks about options and possibilities, going to university or college, marrying or not. The adolescent uses hypothetico-deductive reasoning. Many alternative hypotheses in dealing with a problem can be formulated, and data can be checked against each of the hypotheses to make an appropriate decision.
IMPLICATIONS OFPIAGET’S THEORY IN EDUCATION Students should be involved as active participants in the learning process Teacher must understand and build around student’s cognitive structure. Optimal learning involves mildly challenging experiences for the learner (create appropriate level of disequilibrium). The materials need to be partially known and partially unknown The part that is known will be assimilated, and the part that is unknown will motivate students to take in the challenge to accommodate it