Key Points Emerges as a reaction to Behaviorism’s theory in the 1960s rejecting the idea that people only respond to environmental stimuli, like “programmed animals”. States that human beings are rational, and learning is a complex mechanism that encompasses certain mental processes similar to a computer: Information goes in. It is processed. There is an outcome. People’s actions are a consequence of thinking, and the changes observed in their behavior are the product of what goes on inside their heads (Shelley et al., 2012, p. 261)
Famous CognitivistsAllan Paivio: He developed the Dual Coding Theory that assumes that people process information in two different ways: Processing of images Processing of language. There are three sub-processes: Representational: verbal and non-verbal representations are influenced directly. Referential: verbal system is activated by non-verbal communication and vice versa. Associative: both, text based systems and graphic representations can trigger mental association. Became the basis of subsequent educational theories (Shelley etal., 2012, p.p. 261-62).
Famous CognitivistsRobert Cagne: He created cognitive learning hierarchies which involve development of skills based on a building-block principle. Categories of Learning Outcomes: Verbal information. Intellectual skills. Cognitive strategies. Motor skills. Attitudes. Nine Events of Instruction: Gain attention of learners. Inform learners of the objective. Stimulate recall of prior learning. Present lesson. Provide instruction, Elicit Performance Provide feedback. Assess performance. Enhance retention and transfer. Courtesy of Chris Carey. Pics4Learning.com(Shelley et al., 2012, p. 262-63)
Famous CognitivistsHoward Gardner: Harvard Professor who developed the Multiple Intelligences Theory which recognizes 8 different types: Logical-Mathematical. Linguistic. Bodily-Kinesthetic. Musical. Spatial. Interpersonal. Intrapersonal. Naturalist. He re-defined the term intelligence as “ the capacity to solve problemsor to fashion products that are valued in one or more cultural settings”. This theory has caused to many educators to redesign the curricula inorder to fit the different students’ intelligences. (Miller &Zitterman, 2009, p.p. 38-9)
Famous CognitivistsBenjamin Bloom: Educational psychologist who classified learning into 3 different domains: Cognitive: what the student knows and how organizes ideas and thoughts. Affective: student’s emotions, attitudes, interests, attention, and awareness. Psychomotor: student’s motor skills and physical abilities. The six levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy: Evaluation. Synthesis. Analysis. Application. Comprehension. Knowledge (Shelley et al., 2012, p.p. 265-66)
Classroom Implications Many teachers are very aware of the importance of making an assessment of their students’ learning styles so they can identify their strengths and preferences when it comes to acquiring knowledge. Lesson plans and class activities should be the product of careful planning where the instructor tries to implement different tools to engage as many students as possible based on their leaning styles. Whether the lessons include the use of technology such as smart board, power point presentations, use of different educational software in classroom computers or media center, or no technology tools are available, the teacher can use different activities outdoors, drawing, songs, pictures, maps, etc., in order to engage students.
Classroom Implications Teachers should try to incorporate Cagne’s Nine Events of Instruction into their lesson plans in order to make the internal process of learning become optimal for the student, especially if there is access to technology that can capture their attention. At the same time the teacher needs to create a physical environment conducive to an educational atmosphere that fosters or encourages the knowledge acquisition process. By using Scaffolding and considering what the students already know and what they should learn, teachers create lesson plans that use Bloom’s Taxonomy levels in order to make them develop problem solving and critical thinking skills, and not only regurgitate information.
What students do Students’ educational process does not end at the level of knowledge and comprehension. Thanks to the use of Bloom’s Taxonomy when designing lesson plans, they are able to take the learning process even further. They are taught to analyze, synthesize and evaluate information. In other words, they learn to use Critical Thinking, which enables them to apply the knowledge acquired in any situation. Students feel engaged and interested, whether technology is available or not, because of the multiple intelligences approach that is given to the lesson plan, making sure everybody is participating in the process. Technology helps to take the process much more easily to the Analysis level and entices students to stay interested and involved.
What I Think Traditional approaches to education do not seem to be engaging enough for our technology driven kids. Some teachers do not realize the fact that some lesson plans only cover the first 2 level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. As educators it is our responsibility to keep up the pace with new learning theories and technology available out there in order to make sure our kids develop the skills needed to compete in a highly competitive and technology driven world. By using the Cognitivist approach in education we are making sure our kids grow up to be creative, critical thinkers and problem solvers.