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LearningTheories

CognitivistPerspective

Cognitive Learning TheoryPrinciples and Proponents


Wolfgang Kohler
Jean Piaget
R.M. Gagne
J.S. Bruner
David P. Ausubel

Cognitive approach for learning emphasizes the importance of cognitive for human development and behaviour.
The word cognition was derived from the Latin, meaning to know or to think.

According to the dictionary A World of Ideas, cognition refers to the


process by which the mind acquires, represents, and apply
knowledge, encompassing sensation, perception, reasoning, learning
language and production, problem-solving, and memory
In brief, it is the act or experience of knowing, including awareness of
stimuli and judgement about them.

COGNITIVE THEORIES
The cognitivist paradigm essentially argues that
the black box of the mind should be opened
and understood. The learner is viewed as an
information processor.
Mental processes such as thinking, memory,
knowing, and problem-solving need to be
explored. Knowledge can be seen as schema or
symbolic mental constructions. Learning is
defined as change in a learners schemata.
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COGNITIVE THEORIES

A response to behaviorism, people are not


programmed animals that merely respond
to environmental stimuli;
People are rational beings that require
active participation in order to learn and
whose actions are a consequence of
thinking.
Changes in behavior are observed, but only
as an indication of what is occurring in the
learners head.
Cognitivism uses the metaphor of the mind
as computer: information comes in, is being
processed, and leads to certain outcomes.

Kohlers Learning Theory

Wolfgang Kohler (1887-1967) and his

colleague Kurt Koffka (1886-1941), used the


cognitive approach to study how a
chimpanzee managed to obtain a banana
which was hung on a roof of his cage.
In the beginning, the chimpanzee tried
with several attempts to jump up, but failed
to reach the banana.
Without any previous experience, it
suddenly perceived the relationship
between the arrangement of boxes and the
way to get the banana.

Conclusion:
Kohlers

Learning Theory

Animals, like chimpanzee, used cognitive


process to learn.
The chimpanzee that used arrangement
of boxes to solve problem is obviously not
a reckless action but a rational action
based on its perception of the relationship
between the stimuli, like those boxes and
banana around the place where the
problem occurred.
Kohler named the perception of this
relationship which is used to solve the
problem, i.e. to get the banana which was
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hung under the roof, as insight.

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Implications of Kohlers
Learning
Theory
Teacher needs
to encourage pupils
to use their insight to
solve learning problems.
Guide pupils to use their perception (i.e. understanding
something through senses) to relate elements in
the surroundings.
Present teaching activities step by step and follow a
suitable sequence.
Use specific related examples to guide pupils so that they
can make use of their insight to derive conclusion or
generalization.
The teaching of new experience must be based on pupils
ability and existing experience.
Provide sufficient learning materials so that pupils can 14
apply these materials to solve problems.

Jean Piagets Cognitive Learning Theory


-Knowledge is proactive, and tended to focus
mainly in mental adaptations
-Self-adaption is important for individual
cognitive development
-Learning occurs when individuals interact
with other people, things or objects in the
environment
-Piagets Cognitive Learning Theory (1970)
consisted of five basic ideas:
schema, adaptation, equilibration,
assimilation and accommodation
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PIAGETS STAGE THEORY OF COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT

Piaget (1972), the ability of concept

learning is closely related with the


childrens age level.
Piaget found that childrens cognitive
development normally undergoes four
different stages:
i) sensory-motor stage (0-2 years)
ii) pre-operational stage (2-7 years)
iii) concrete operational stage (7-12 years)
iv) formal operational stage (after 12
years)
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PIAGETS STAGE THEORY OF


COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT
1)The Pre-Operational Stage (2-7 years)
Children are able to:
use language & symbols to explain a certain
concept (similar with Jerome Bruners iconic (2-4
years) & symbolic (5-7 years) stages)
Children are unable to:
make comparison between objects
comprehend the relationship between objects;
classify objects according to their size, colour and so
on
perceive inverse operation
master the conservation of quantity
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PIAGETS STAGE THEORY OF COGNITIVE


DEVELOPMENT
2) The Concrete Operational Stage (7-12
years)
Children are able to:
understand the simple concept of inverse
operation in abstract terms
learn more than one thing at one time and able to
master the principle of conservation
possess the ability to classify, arrange and
differentiate objects
understand basic arithmetic, mass, length,
reversibility and simple mathematical operations
But their effectiveness in learning still dependent
on concrete objects and direct experiences to
relate with abstract concepts.
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PIAGETS STAGE THEORY OF COGNITIVE


DEVELOPMENT
3) Formal Operational Period (after 12 years)
The cognitive development usually reaches its peak
at the age of 16.
Adolescents are able to:
think in abstract terms and solve complex problems
apply mental operation through abstractions
reason and use deductive and inductive approaches
to prove theorems, mathematical laws, as well as to
derive formulae or generalizations from
mathematical operations
use mathematical symbols to represent abstract
concepts, to relate one concept with another, as well
as to make use of logic to solve mathematical
problems (their logical and systematic thinking is
quite well developed)
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Implications of Piagets theory in teaching-learning

1. Learning content ought to be arranged according to the


childrens level of cognitive development,
i.e:- from concrete to abstract
- from nearby to distant situation
- from existing experience to new experiences
- from elementary to complex
2. Learning is a change in behaviour. New and complex
learning ought to utilize accommodation process to
change the individuals cognitive structure so as to adapt
to the need of the new and complex learning situation. As
the accommodation process depends on the individuals
intrinsic motivation (to reach equilibration), teachers
ought to encourage pupils to involve themselves actively
in the learning activities.
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Teaching children in the preoperational level ( 27 years)

1. Use concrete teaching aids.


2. The instructions given should be short and
accompanied by examples.
3. Explain about values & advice from the
childs point of view.
4. Give the child 'hands-on' activities to acquire
a skill. It enhances understanding & selfconfidence.
5. Help children to be independent.
6. Provide a variety of learning experiences
(visitation, outings, etc.)

Teaching children in the concrete operational


level
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( 7 12 years)
1. Continue to use concrete materials, especially to
learn new skills. The materials must have features
that attract children's attention.
2. Give children the opportunity to manipulate and
test objects being taught. Guide the children to think
creatively and critically. Let them try out the skills
taught.
3. Keep reading and presentation simple and
organized. Provide opportunities for children to
express ideas.
4. Use examples that are appropriate and relevant to
the childrens experiences to teach things that are
more complex.
5. Introduce questions that require problem solving,

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Teaching children in the formal


operational level ( 11 years and
above )
1. Use concrete materials to illustrate more
complex concepts .
- 3D materials, models, charts, diagrams,
childrens own experiences
2. Give children the opportunity to explore
alternative solutions and make hypotheses.
Guide the students to make assumptions
and explore solutions. Encourage critical &
creative thinking.

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3. Give students the opportunity


to solve the problem and give
the reason for suggesting the
solution.
4. Provide a broad concept and
is not bound by the facts. Thank
views of students and guide
them to learn to accept other
people's opinions.

ROBERT M. GAGNE

Robert M. Gagne in his book


Essentials of Learning for
Instruction (1975),
forwarded a theory
concerning how people
obtain information during
learning process.

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Level of Complexity

GAGN'S HIERARCHY OF LEARNING


In 1956, the American educational psychologist
Robert M. Gagn proposed a system of classifying
different types of learning in terms of the degree
of complexity of the mental processes involved.
He identified eight basic types.
The higher orders of learning in this hierarchy
build upon the lower levels, requiring
progressively greater amounts of previous
learning for their success.
The lowest four orders tend to focus on the more
behavioural aspects of learning, while the highest
four focus on the more cognitive aspects.

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1. Signal Learning
This is the simplest form of learning, and consists
essentially of theclassical conditioningfirst
described by the behavioural psychologist Pavlov.
The subject is 'conditioned' to emit a desired
response as a result of a stimulus that would not
normally produce that response. This is done by first
exposing the subject to the chosen stimulus (known
as theconditioned stimulus) along with another
stimulus (known as the unconditioned stimulus)
which produces the desired response naturally; after
a certain number of repetitions of the double
stimulus, it is found that the subject emits the
desired response when exposed to the conditioned
stimulus on its own.

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2. Stimulus-response learning
o This somewhat more sophisticated form of learning,
which is also known asoperant conditioning, was
originally developed by Skinner.
o It involves developing desired stimulus-response
bonds in the subject through a carefully-planned
reinforcement schedule based on the use of 'rewards'
and 'punishments'. Operant conditioning differs from
classical conditioning in that the reinforcing agent
(the 'reward' or 'punishment') is presentedafterthe
response.

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3. Chaining
This is a more advanced form of learning in which
the subject develops the ability to connect two or
more previously-learned stimulus-response bonds
into a linked sequence.
It is the process whereby most complex psychomotor
skills (eg. riding a bicycle, dribbling a ball or playing
the piano) are learned.
4. Verbal association
This is a form of chaining in which the links between
the items being connected are verbal in nature.
Verbal association is one of the key processes in the
development of language skills.

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5. Discrimination learning
This involves developing the ability to make
appropriate (different) responses to a series
of similar stimuli that differ in a systematic
way.
6. Concept learning
This involves developing the ability to make a
consistent response to different stimuli that
form a common class or category of some
sort. It forms the basis of the ability to
generalise, classify etc.

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7. Rule learning
This is a very-high-level cognitive process that
involves being able to learn relationships between
concepts and apply these relationships in
different situations, including situations not
previously encountered. It forms the basis of the
learning of general rules, procedures, etc.
8. Problem solving
This is the highest level of cognitive process
according to Gagn. It involves developing the
ability to invent a complex rule, algorithm or
procedure for the purpose of solving one
particular problem, and then using the method to
solve other problems of a similar nature.

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BRUNERS CONCEPT FORMATION

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Bruners Concept Formation

THE 3 STAGES OF COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT BY


JEROME BRUNER:

Bruner, the stages of cognitive development which normal


children have to go through are not 4 (Piaget) but 3, namely:
1. Enactive Representation Stage
This stage is similar to the sensory motor stage explained
by Piaget. Many activities perceived and performed by
children are based on their physical movements.
2. Iconic Representation Stage
During this stage, childrens movements are not limited to
their physical aspects only, but they can now use their
brains to think and figure out certain images in their mind.
3. Symbolic Representation Stage
During this stage, children begin to think and use language
to express ideas. As their age increases, the use of language
to express concept begins to develop.

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The

main function of this concept is to

arrange information according to the


general characteristics of a certain
group of objects or idea.
Aim

to simplify the management of

various types of information and


attributes into more concise form, so
that they are easier to understand, learn
and remember.

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For example, animals can classify according to


their specific characteristics such as animals with
backbones (i.e. fish, mammal, reptile, amphibian
and bird), and animals without backbones (i.e.
shell, cuttlefish, insect, spider and millipede).

This method of categorization will provide us an


easier way to identify, understand, learn or
remember various types of information.
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According

to Bruner, language is an important

representation in human cognitive development.


In

his opinion, people first use verbal responses as an

effort to understand the environment, and when verbal


responses are not sufficient, then they may change to
use pictures or symbols to represent verbal responses,
whereby the symbols evolved later to become language.
People

use symbols and language so as to help them to

think and solve problems by means of conceptualization


and derivation of generalizations.
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AUSUBELS LEARNING THEORY

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Ausubels
Meaningful
Learning
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According to Ausubel, to learn meaningfully,


individuals must relate new knowledge to relevant
concepts they already know. New knowledge must
interact with the learners knowledge structure.
Meaningful learning can be contrasted with rote
learning. The latter can also incorporate new
information into the pre-existing knowledge
structure but without interaction. Rote memory is
used to recall sequences of objects, such as phone
numbers. However, it is of no use to the learner in
understanding the relationships between the
objects.
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Because

meaningful learning involves a


recognition of the links between concepts,
it has the privilege of being transferred to
long-term memory. The most crucial
element in meaningful learning is how the
new information is integrated into the old
knowledge structure.

Accordingly,

Ausubel believes that


knowledge is hierarchically organized;
that new information is meaningful to the
extent that it can be related (attached,
anchored) to what is already known.

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Advance Organizer
Ausubel

advocates the use of advance organizers


as a mechanism to help to link new learning
material with existing related ideas. Ausubels
theory of advance organizers fall into two
categories: comparative and expository.
According to Ausubel, the advance organizer
can be used as a technique to present
information in the form of language or learning
materials to the pupils.
The aim is to activate pupils existing cognitive
structures so that assimilation will be
effectively activated during learning process. 52

Expository

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DAVID P. AUSUBEL
Subordinate Learning
Deductive learning.
A concept which is mastered earlier, then applied
to certain specific examples, or developed to
become a more complex principle, law or
theorem.
Superordinate Learning
Inductive learning.
Learning begins with using specific but related
examples, then by using an inductive approach to
derive a certain new concept, principle or law.
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AUSUBELS COGNITIVE LEARNING


THEORY
Acquired
information
Advance
organizer

Reception
learning
Meaningful
learning

Rote learning

Derivative
subsumption

Discovery
learning
Meaningful
learning

Rote learning

Correlative
subsumption

Subordinate learning (Deductive approach)


Superordinate learning (Inductive
approach)
Integrated learning (Eclectic approach)
Through assimilation/accommodation process
Changes and development in the cognitive
structures

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Thank You

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