Cognitive Learning Theory Learners are active. They are not simply empty vessels waiting to be filled. They are also not simply responding passively to changes in their environments.Cognitive Learning theories explain learning by focusing on changes in mentalprocesses and structures that occur as a result of people’s efforts to make sense of theworld. Behaviorism states that learning is a change in behavior. Cognitive theoriesfocus on thinking rather than just behavior.
Cognitive Learning Theory Learning KnowledgeUnderstanding depends on what learners know. New experiences areinterpreted in light of what is already known—so current knowledge is thefoundation for new knowledge.
Cognitive Learning TheoryLearners construct understanding—they don’t simply rememberwhat the teacher says. They relate what they are learning to whatthey already know and they try to make sense of it.
Two types of knowledge Domain-specific knowledge: information that is useful in a particular situation or that applies mainly to one specific topic. General knowledge: information that is useful in many different kinds of tasks; information that applies to many situations.
Cognitive Learning TheoryLearning is a change in the person’s mental structures that creates thecapacity to demonstrate different behaviors. Notice how this definition ismore complex than the definition of learning from the last chapter (change inbehavior).
A model (which is what this analogy is): a representation that allows learners to visualize what they can’t observe directly. This model will help you to visualize what is going on in your own brain and those of your students. An analogy: the computer Input (typing on keyboard) User Information processing: a theory of learning that explains howComputer: stimuli enter ourRAM memory systems,Hard disk are selected and organized for storage, and are retrieved from memory.
3 components of informationprocessing model Information stores: repositories that hold information, like a computer’s RAM and hard drive. Information stores in the information processing model are sensory memory (no real computer analogy), working memory (like RAM), and long term memory (like hard drive). Cognitive processes: intellectual actions that transform information and move it from one store to another. Includes attention, perception, rehearsal, encoding, and retrieval. Like software in computers. Metacognition: awareness of and control over one’s own cognitive processes.
Sensory MemoryThe information store that briefly holds stimuli from the environment until they canbe processed. Your brain receives stimuli (remember that is the Latin plural of “stimulus”) from the outside world and it becomes part of sensory memory. The stimuli are like input on a keyboard from the outside world. This memory in people is extremely brief and you only retain material you actually process even though your sensory memory is picking things up all the time. Actually, this is the least effective part of this computer analogy because a keyboard doesn’t remember what is typed on it but your brain does retain what you sense at least for a little while.
Perception The process of detecting and assigning meaning to that which is sensed.
PerceptionThere’s a good chance that you do not recognize the characters above (Chinese).These marks are likely meaningless to you, although I recognize the one on the topleft as “chong” (the first character in the word that designates “Chinese”).
Perception Gestalt: German for “pattern” or “whole.” Gestalt theorists hold that people organize their perceptions into coherent wholesThis is why you see this image as anelephant and not just a collection of x’s.
Prototype: a best example or best representativePerception of a category.Feature analysis(bottom-upprocessing): werecognize things basedon their individualcharacteristics. In thiscase, we see that thesefour pictures are of thesame subject becausethe features are identicaleven though the picturesare different.
Perception Top-down processing: perceiving based on the content and the patterns you expect to occur in that situation.You probably don’t have any sense of the patterns expected in Chinese writing(different types of strokes as well as the stylistic features of calligraphy—oneindividual’s handwriting) and therefore cannot process this image top-down, but aperson who can read Chinese fluently does and would use top-down processing.Every word in Chinese has a different sign (ideogram); to be minimally literate inChinese, you have to be able to differentiate between and read 1500 ideograms.A person who can read Chinese would use top-down processing to help therecognition of these ideograms.
Perception Attention: focus on a stimulus. If you don’t pay attention to something, you will not perceive it. This is why editing your own writing is so difficult—Gestalt theory says that you will see the whole even if the whole is not really there. You’ll miss the missing words and therefore not pay attention to what is really on the page.
Perception Automaticity: the ability to perform thoroughly learned tasks without much mental effort When you first start to play a violin, you have to pay attention to everything—how to hold the bow, how to move the bow, how to hold the left hand, how to move the fingers of the left hand, where the instrument is in relation to the shoulder, how to keep the instrument from sliding, etc. Eventually you develop automaticity with all those skills and can play without having to think about so much.
Working memory is the store that holds information as a person processes it. It is conscious and deliberate. Working Memory Computers have two types of memory: Random Access Memory (RAM) and the hard disk. RAM is the computer’s working memory—it determines how many programs you can have open at once and how fast your programs load and run. Your hard disk holds all your files for long term use and is much larger than your RAM. Your brain’s working memory is like RAM. It can hold a small amount of stuff and can be overloaded. As a teacher, you have to watch for signs of overload from your students. When their working memory is overloaded, they will not learn.Cognitive Load Theory: recognizes the limitations of working memory and emphasizesinstruction that can accommodate its capacity
Short-term memory Component of memory system that holds information for about 20 seconds. Part of working memory.
Working memory: three parts Central executive: the part of working memory that is responsible for monitoring and directing attention and other mental resources. Phonological loop: part of working memory. A memory rehearsal system for verbal and sound information of about 1.5-2 seconds. Visuospatial sketchpad: part of working memory. A holding system for visual and spatial information. The working memory holds about 20 seconds’ worth of material.
Working memory: retaininginformation Maintenance rehearsal: keeping information in working memory by repeating it to yourself. Elaborative rehearsal: keeping information in working memory by associating it with something else you already knew Chunking: grouping individual bits of information into meaningful larger units.
Maintenance rehearsal The number is 555-1212. The number is 555-1212. The number is…
Elaborative rehearsal The number is 555-1212. My nephew is 5 and my niece is 12.
Chunking The number is 555-1212. My nephew is 5 and my niece is 12. That’s one nephew and two nieces.Telephone numbers are 7 digits. By remembering 1 nephew and 2nieces, that reduces the load to 3 items instead of 7.
Forgetting We lose memory through interference (remembering other things) and through decay (the weakening and fading of memories with the passage of time).
Working memory in the classroom Tasks that are difficult require a lot of working memory, the way large programs on your computer use a lot of RAM. In school we often ask students to do two tasks at a time: to read AND to learn the material being read, to write AND to be able to represent knowledge through that writing. If a student is an able reader and writer, this is no problem. If a student struggles with any aspect of reading and writing, the other task (the learning or the representation of knowledge) will suffer because too much of the student’s working memory is being devoted to reading and writing. In this situation, if you want the student to learn, it is better to separate the tasks. Have the student listen to the text instead of reading or have the student dictate a text instead of writing.
Working memory: strategies for maximizing itChunking is the process of mentally combining separate items into larger, moremeaningful units.Chunking:When you send a file through the internet, you use a program that compressesthe information to a more manageable size. Your brain does this withinformation in working memory by “chunking” or putting several bits ofinformation together so that only one total thing has to be remembered. In orderto do this, look for patterns. For instance, if you hear E, G, B, your mind shouldchunk this into an e minor chord. If you hear seven digits, you can chunk theminto a group of three and a group of four, like a telephone number.
Working memory: strategies Automaticity: the use of mental operations that can be performed with little awareness or conscious effort. There are computer programs called “macros” which allow you to accomplish a task with fewer keystrokes. Your brain does this through practice: eventually a task takes little conscious effort. When you first drive a car, everything takes a huge amount of thinking. With practice, most driving procedures become automatic.
Working memory: strategies Dual processing: the way two parts, a visual and an auditory component, work together in working memory. Some computers can do two things at once. So can your brain. When information comes in two channels (e.g., your eyes, your ears, your fingers, etc.), your brain uses information from both sources to enhance working memory. This is why it is better to give students information in BOTH visual and auditory forms.
Long term working memory: holds the strategies for pullinginformation from long-term memory into working memory. Long term memoryOur permanent information store…Long term memory is like the hard drive on your computer. It holds both filesand programs. Likewise, there are three types of long term memory:declarative knowledge, which is knowledge of facts, rules, etc. and which islike the word processing files on your hard disk, procedural knowledge,which is how to accomplish something and which is like the programs youhave on your hard disk (word processor, games, etc.), and conditionalknowledge, which is knowledge about when and why to use declarative orprocedural knowledge..
In other words… Our long term memory has information on stuff, how to do stuff, and under which conditions we are going to use which type of knowledge. Isn’t this amazing????
This chart assumes that some aspects of Ed Psych are general knowledge… Long term memory & Ed Psych General knowledge Domain-specific knowledgeDeclarative Human beings have memories Long term memory contains 3 Human beings begin life as types of knowledge babies and mature into adults Piaget outlines cognitive development which explains a lot about how young children think.Procedural If I want someone to repeat an I need to avoid overloading action, I can praise that person students’ working memories when for that action. I am teaching.Conditional When to approach a person When to use behavioral who is having a problem and procedures when to let that person alone. When to use a psychosocial understanding of development vs. understanding moral development.
Knowledge that is both verbal and visual is easiest to learn, hence these power points. Long term memory: contents Words… and ImagesExplicit memory: long-term memories that involve deliberate or conscious recall.Implicit memory: knowledge that we are not conscious of recalling but influencesour behavior or thought without our awareness.
Long term memory Semantic memory: memory for meaning Episodic memory: long-term memory for information tied to a particular time and place, especially memory of the events in a person’s life. Flashbulb memory: clear vivid memories of emotionally important events in your life.
Long term memory: semantic memoryThings can make meaning in several ways: Propositions and propositional networks Images Schemas
Propositions This is the smallest unit of factual meaning— that can be judged as true or false. Propositional network: set of interconnected concepts and relationships in which long-term knowledge is held.
Images Representations based on the physical attributes—the appearance—of information.
Schema Organized networks of information.On the computer, you organize your data in files. You might have a folder foreach class you are taking with word processing documents for those classesinside. Your brain organizes declarative knowledge by schema. You haveschema for everything you do, from driving a car to reading for college, fromplaying a musical instrument to eating with a fork vs. eating with chopsticks.The material in Piaget in Chapter Two mentions “schemes” which areunderstandings of the world. They are altered when the child encounterssomething that doesn’t fit within the schemes (accommodation andassimilation). Story grammar: schema representations for texts and stories. Scripts: schema representations for events.
Schema A schema is how you understand a concept. Prior to Galileo, astronomers thought that the sun circled the earth. They interpreted the stars’ movements in relation to their schema, their understanding. With the invention of the telescope, Galileo and others found that the earth actually circles the sun, so the basic schema changed. This illustrates that when students have a schema that is false, they misunderstand other information that depends on that basic concept.
How Schema schemas influence learningProvide scaffoldingthat enable us to Facilitateassimilate summarizingknowledge Schemata helpThis is the organize our learning.Piagetian idea of When it is organized,maintaining we can summarize itequilibrium. well. Influence attention allocation When we have a schema Stimulate about something, we can Schemata tell us which inference make good guesses part of the information making about it. is important
How Schemas schemas influence learning Provide scaffolding that enable us to Facilitate assimilate summarizing knowledge Our driving a car schema helps us to teach another You can use what you person how to drive—what is know from driving important, what is not automatic shift and important, etc. apply to standard (e.g., how much acceleration between gears) Influence attention allocation When you are on the highwayFor example: Stimulate and all the cars slow down inDriving a car It’s important to pay attention inference front of you, you can infer that to what you see on the road. making there is either a problem ahead It’s less important to pay or a police officer. attention to the radio.
Schemas Not only do you need to know what your students’ schemas are, but you also need to show how the new concept you are teaching fits into knowledge (schemas) students already have. Behaviorism taught us to teach in parts and later put them into wholes. But students need to have a sense of the whole (schema) so they can make sense of the part that you are teaching.
Episodic memory Long-term memory of information tied to a particular time and place, especially memory of the events in a person’s life.
Flashbulb memory Most of us have vivid memories of where we were on September 11, 2001.Every generation has some kind of flashbulb memory: people over fiftyremember the assassination of John F. Kennedy. People in their thirties andforties remember the Challenger accident. Now, we have 9-11.
This is stuff in long-term memory that you may not be aware of. Implicit memories Classical conditioning—the association of a strong feeling with something because of experience. Part of long term memory. Procedural memory—long term memory for how to do things. Productions—the contents of procedural memory; rules about what actions to take, given certain conditions. Priming effects—activating a concept in memory or the spread of activation from one concept to another.
Storing and retrieving information inlong-term memory Elaboration Organization Context
Elaboration Adding and extending meaning by connecting new information to existing knowledge. How easy would it be to memorize the following concepts without some kind of elaboration? (and yet, how often do we ask students to learn something with no connection to what they already know?) Synecdoche is a type of metaphor in which the part stands for the whole, the whole for a part, the genus for the species, the species for the genus, the material for the thing made, or in short, any portion, section, or main quality for the whole or the thing itself (or vice versa). Eponym substitutes for a particular attribute the name of a famous person recognized for that attribute. Anaphora is the repetition of the same word or words at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or sentences, commonly in conjunction with climax and with parallelismhttp://www.virtualsalt.com/rhetoric.htm
OrganizationOrdered and logical network of relations.In other words, it’s a lot easier to learn something that is presented in anorderly, logical way than to try and learn something where facts seem to bepresented completely randomly.
ContextThe physical or emotional backdrop associated with an event.Years from now, as you remember Educational Psychology concepts, youmay find yourself remembering the room you were studying in or thisclassroom.
Levels of Processing The more deeply processed This is related something is, the better it stays to in long-term memory. elaboration. Memorizing a learning theory is shallow processing. Figuring out how to apply a learning theory in your classroom represents deeper processing.Levels of processing: a view of learning suggesting that the more deeplyinformation is processed, the more meaningful it becomes.
Retrieving information Have you ever used the search function on your computer to try to find a file you know is SOMEWHERE? Retrieving information from your long term memory involves a similar search… Retrieval: process of searching for and finding information in long-term memory.
Spreading activation Retrieval of pieces of information based on their relatedness to one another. Remembering one bit of information activates (stimulates) recall of associated information. If you have ever figured out a second exam question from having answered a first exam question, then you have experienced this— working on one thing leads you to remember related information.
Reconstruction Recreating information by using memories, expectations, logic, and existing knowledge. Sometimes reconstructed memories are not accurate, as studies have shown. (However, this is also a good strategy for test- taking—seeing if you can reconstruct information you have forgotten, based on what you know and logic).
Forgetting ??????? The loss of, or inability to retrieve, information from memory.
Forgetting as InterferenceThe loss of information because something learned before or after detracts fromunderstanding—something interferes with remembering.
Retrieval—pulling information from long-term memory into working memory for further processing. Forgetting as Retrieval FailureWhen your computer won’t retrieve a file or a program that you KNOW should be on your hard drive(or CD), that is like what happens to your brain. The information is there but you can’t get to it. Itwon’t go from long term memory to working memory. If you have had the feeling that a word wason the tip of your tongue but you can’t remember it, then you know how this feels.With computers, we back up the information on CD’s and other disk drives so it is available. In ourbrains, we try to make the information as meaningful as possible (with lots of connections to otherthings we know) so that we can retrieve it.
Developing procedural knowledge Declarative stage: students have knowledge ABOUT the procedure—they know what they are supposed to do but they don’t have experience. Associative stage: students can perform the task, but only with a lot of thinking about it. Automatic stage: students can perform the process without thinking about it.
Can you think of an example of your own learning in relation to this idea? Developing Procedural Knowledge Three Stages: •Declarative stage. The banjo has five strings,To get from you use finger picks on the right hand to make ahere to here sound. The sequence of fingers on the right handtakes creates the banjo roll, e.g., index then middle thenPRACTICE!!!! thumb is a forward roll. I know all this but it takes aLots of it!!! great effort for me to play.This is true of •Associative stage. I can play Cripple Creek verymath and slowly with the printed music in front of me. As Ianything move through this stage, I start learning the musicelse!!! by heart and I pick up speed. Any outside interruption will mess me up (e.g., someone playing guitar or trying to talk with me). •Automatic stage. I can play Cripple Creek without thinking about it. I can play a forward roll without thinking about it. I can play with a guitar player and I can play the song even if someone tries to distract me.
Implications You need to be aware of where your students are in the process of developing procedural knowledge. For example, in using the keyboard on a computer, you will have students in all three stages. For students in the declarative or associative stages, the keyboard takes a lot of thought to use, so they will not be as fluent in their writing. You can imagine that when a student is “hunting and pecking,” they are more likely to choose short words and sentences because the process of typing is so difficult. Students in the automatic stage will be able to use the keyboard with ease and it will not get in the way of them expressing themselves.
Implications Further, when you are teaching procedural knowledge, you need to create opportunities for students to practice their skills regularly. This might be time in class on a regular basis or it might be homework.
Cognitive Processes Attention Perception Rehearsal Encoding RetrievalWhat do you think these processes might be? In other words, I’m asking you toactivate your schema about thinking prior to reading this part of the book.
Attention The process of consciously focusing on a stimulus.As a teacher, you will want your students to focus on what you are doing. If you areboring, they won’t. The younger they are, the more annoying to you will be theirchoice of activity when they are not focusing on you. Older students might doze orwhisper to each other. Younger students might get up and move around the room.
How to get their attention Demonstrations Discrepant events (surprises) Charts Pictures Problems Thought-provoking questions Emphasis Using their namesIn your experience, what techniques have teachers used to get student attention?
Perception The process used to attach meaning to stimuli.The meaning making process is where things can fall apart. Students with nobackground in a subject will not be able to attach meaning to something. If I give you agraduate school text in a subject that you have not studied, you will probably attach verylittle meaning to the words in the text.
Rehearsal A process of repeating information over and over, either aloud or mentally, without altering its form. For example, when you want to dial a number you just looked up, you might repeat it in your mind several times as you reach for the phone. But, the number is only in your working memory—it may or may not transfer to your longterm memory.
Encoding The process of representing information in long-term memory (back to the computer analogy—saving your work to your hard drive).
Encoding: MeaningfulnessMeaningfulness describes the number of connections or links between anidea and other ideas. Three things contribute to meaningfulness: •Organization—the process of clustering related items of content into categories or patterns that illustrate relationships. •Elaboration—the process of increasing the meaningfulness of information by forming additional links in existing knowledge or adding new knowledge. •Activity—having students get involved in what they are doing (hands on).
Dual-coding theory suggests that long-term memory contains two distinct memory systems: one for verbal information and one that stores images. Dual-Coding Theory Our brains have one system for processing WORDS and another for IMAGES. There are interconnections between these systems. Some information works better if it has an image aspect to it such as a chart. WordOne idea behind these reading guides is to convert some of the words in your text intoimages so you can remember it better. Imagery: the process of forming mental pictures.
Elaboration Provide examples Form analogies (relationships that are similar in some but not all respects) Use mnemonic devices which link knowledge to be learned to familiar information.
Mnemonics: techniques for remembering; also the art of memoryMnemonics Loci-method: technique of associating items with specific places. Peg-type mnemonics: systems of associating items with cue words. Acronym: technique for remembering names, phrases, or steps by using the first letter of each word to form a new, memorable word. Chain mnemonics: memory strategies that associate one element in a series with the next element. Keyword method: system of associating new words or concepts with similar-sounding cue words and images.
Examples of mnemonics Big Elephants Always Die Gracefully Crawling Forward (BEADGCF, order of the flats) Don’t Play Lousy Music At Inter-Lochen (Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Ionian, Lochrian, the modes) George Eats Old Grey Rats And Paints Houses Yellow (GEOGRAPHY) Mother Always Takes Her Enemies Mush And Turnips In Cole Slaw (MATHEMATICS) My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles (the planets)The only problem is: how can you remember how to spell “mnemonic”?
Rote memorization Remembering information by repetition without necessarily understanding the meaning of the information. Serial-position effect: the tendency to remember the beginning and the end but not the middle of a list. Part learning: breaking a list of rote learning items into shorter lists.
Rote memorization To a person who struggles with learning, a large “thing” to memorize, whether a poem or the times tables, is overwhelming. Help students break the task down into manageable parts. Do a lot of follow through so that students learn an important lesson: large things are accomplished by doing a small part each day.
Practice Distributed practice: practice in brief periods with rest intervals. Massed practice: practice for a single extended period. Massed practice is essentially cramming. Distributed practice is more likely to result in success, however, it takes some maturity to be able to do a little bit each day. Help your students to learn this important lesson.
Activity The more active you are in learning, the more material you will encode in your long term memory. Just scanning through a text while watching television is not being active. Doing worksheets is probably not being very active in learning. Think about how you can be active in your learning and how you can help students to be active in their learning.
Awareness and control over one’s own cognitive processes. Metacognition This means thinking about thinking. If you know about how your own thinking works, then you can make good choices about how you learn. We teach metacognitive strategies in the classroom so that students can become independent, effective, lifelong learners.
Meta-attentionThese are the strategies you use to help you to pay attention. Although youmay not have been formally taught these strategies, you might find that teachingattention strategies to your students will help them to be better learners.
Knowledge and control over our memory strategies. Meta-memory These are the strategies you use in order remember information. Students need to be taught ways to remember things. It’s a good idea to give students several different ways to remember things (visual strategies and organizations of information as well as linguistic strategies and organizations).
Developing metacognition Use strategies—plans for accomplishing specific learning goals Meta-attention strategies—help children to LEARN to pay attention. Directly teach these skills. Metamemory strategies—don’t just ask students to memorize something. Find out what they know about HOW to memorize and help them add to their strategic choices.
Diversity Each person’s cognition is different because people bring different experiences to learning. You need to make sure that everyone ends up “on the same page” even if they didn’t start there.
Schema Production You help students to Integration integrate the new with the old and to put the material into longterm memory. Information Comprehension Aquisition MonitoringYou teach a lesson. Make You check on how studentssure it’s not so long that it understand what you haveoverwhelms students’ taught—you assess theirworking memory. schema development.
Advance Organizer Input (typing on keyboard) User Computer: RAM Hard diskThis slide was an advance organizer. It’s purpose was to help you to organize theinformation you were going to receive about how the brain learns. Advanceorganizers help students to develop workable schemata.
Understanding & Automaticity: Acquiring Procedural KnowledgeIntroduce and review Develop understanding PracticeGet kids to pay attention. They need to connect With teacher helpCheck their schemas. procedural knowledge with during associative declarative knowledge. stage, and then by themselves to achieve automaticity. Automated basic skills: skills that are applied without conscious thought. Domain-specific strategies: consciously applied skills to reach goals in a particular subject or problem area.
Homework and Practicing •Extension of class work •High level of success •Expected part of class •Students are accountable •Doing a little each night is better than a lot once a week •Helps to develop automaticityClassroom teachers know that homework can help studentslearn. Musicians and athletes know that regular practice canlead to big gains. Classroom teachers may want to quizmusicians and athletes on practice techniques and music andphysical education teachers may want to consider some of theabove advantages and considerations to encouraging practiceat home.
Assessment We use assessment to figure out if how we are teaching is working with our students. Be sure there is instructional alignment: the match between goals, learning activities, and assessment. Otherwise, you don’t know if what you are doing is working.
Diversity Development: people develop at different times, so some students’ ability to use working memory will be more mature than that of other students the same age. Individual differences: people are different in terms of their working memory spans. People’s background knowledge makes a large difference in their learning. If they have a lot of background knowledge related to school subjects, they will learn those school subjects more easily. If they don’t, then you as a teacher may need to provide opportunities for students to develop that background knowledge.
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