Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cognitivism in Practice

There are many strategies that can be used in the classroom that relate to cognitive learning theories, or support them. To begin with, concept mapping tools can replicate the network model of memory. Things move from short term to long term memory when a student can connect the new information to something that exists in their current memory. The more connections they make, the more pathways they have to retrieve that new memory. Using a concept map allows students to visually see connections between pieces of information. This helps learners visualize ideas and the connections between ideas. (Laureate Education 2009)

Another concept that is important in cognitive learning theory is the idea of dual coding. Dual coding says that people store images and remember them along with text. When the two are used together, they make a more powerful memory. (Laureate Education 2009). Therefore, when a concept map or any type of graphic organizer is being used, students can visualize information and read it. This helps imprint the information.

Using cues or questions helps students link information to their prior knowledge or background. This again provides a connection to help information enter long term memory (Pitler 2007). To begin a lesson, a teacher can ask an essential question. "Asking students to use background knowledge to answer essential questions aligns with research showing that higher-order questions produce deeper learning." (Pitler 2007).

Finally, teachers can use reciprocal teaching to help students understand information. By having students teach one another, it is easy to see what learning has taken place. It also forces a student to tap into higher levels of thinking to be able to thoroughly explain something to someone else.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Program five. Cognitive Learning Theories [Motion picture]. Bridging learning theory, instruction, and technology. Baltimore: Author.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD

1 comment:

  1. The use of concept maps to make connections is a way to bring about cognitiver learning. As the students are able to connect different information to what they already know and to the things they are learning, they will be able to move it to the long term memory.

    I also like the idea you mention at the end of using reciprocal teaching. Allowing the students to tap into their higher levels of thinking will also move the information into long term memory. The more connections they make about what they are learning, the easier the information will be for them to access in the future.